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Francis (Knowles) Knollys (1553 - 1648)

Admiral Francis Knollys formerly Knowles
Born [location unknown]
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 21 Dec 1588 in London All Hallows London Wall, Middlesex, Englandmap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 94 in Reading, Berkshire, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 8 Jul 2011
This page has been accessed 3,496 times.



Francis, son of Francis Knollys and Catherine Carey was born on Monday 14 August 1553. [1] He was their 6th son. [2] He attended Magdalen College, Oxford and then was a student of Gray's Inn in 1565. [3]

From the age of about 22 Sir Francis was MP for Oxford and he served in the Parliament for about 60 years. [4]

During his youth, he sought to raise his fortunes by piracy and adventure. He was part of an early expedition to colonise North America. [5] Eight years later, in 1586, he served as a Rear-Admiral under Sir Francis Drake on an "official" privateering campaign.[6] His next adventure was to serve with his brother in law Robert Dudley, Lord Leicester in the Netherlands. He was knighted by Leicester at Flushing in Dec 1587. [7]During the Armada invasion he served the Crown as as commissioner for musters and colonel of the militia for Hertfordshire.

On 21 Dec 1588 he married Lettice Barrett of Hanham. Their marriage took place, by license, at All Hallows London Wall. [8] It appears that during their married life they lived in a number of properties in Berkshire. From Burkes: "He inherited under his father's will the manor of Battle, and other estates in the vicinity of Reading, and was styled of Reading Abbey."[9]

Sir Francis had his will drawn up on 6 Dec 1646. [10] He made bequests to:

  • daughter Lady Vachell
  • daughter Lady Knollys, wife of my late son Sir Francis Knollys
  • daughter Temple
  • grandchild Lettice Woodward
  • grandchild Richard Knollys
  • grandchild Elizabeth Knollys, daughter of the Lady Eleanor Knollys.
  • daughter Elizabeth Hammond
  • her son Robert Hammond.

Sir Francis requested burial in the church of St Lawrence, Reading, Berkshire. This took place on 17 Mar 1648. [11] The register recorded him as Sir Francis Knollys, jun.


  1. Varlow, Sally Sir Francis Knollys's Latin dictionary: new evidence for Katherine Carey Historical Research, Volume 80, Issue 209, August 2007, Pages 315–323,Oxford Academic
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Francis Knollys (admiral)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed March 28, 2020).
  3. "Kandruth-Kyte," in Alumni Oxonienses 1500-1714, ed. Joseph Foster (Oxford: University of Oxford, 1891), 837-867. British History Online, accessed March 28, 2020,
  5. Dawson, Ian Who's who in British History: A-H Taylor & Francis, 1998 pg. 515 Google Books
  6. Sir Francis Drake Sir Francis Drake's West Indian Voyage, 1585-86 Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 1 Jan 1981 pg. 283 Google Books
  7. Sharpe, James The Bewitching of Anne Gunter: A Horrible and True Story of Deception, Witchcraft, Murder, and the King of England Routledge, 12 Nov 2012 pg. 114 Google Books
  8. "England Marriages, 1538–1973 ", database, FamilySearch ( : 12 March 2020), Frauncis Knowlles, 1588.
  9. A genealogical and heraldic history of the extinct and dormant baronetcies of England, John Burke and John Bernard Burke. Published 1838.
  10. England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013. The National Archives; Kew, England; Prerogative Court of Canterbury and Related Probate Jurisdictions: Will Registers; Class: PROB 11; Piece: 204 Ancestry Record 5111 #812548
  11. Coates, Charles The History and Antiquities of Reading 1802 pg. 230 Google Books

See Also

Biography of Sir Francis Knollys Junior at Royal Berkshire History


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Knowles-188 and Knowles-1190 do not represent the same person because: One is the son of the other
posted by Robin Wood