KNIGHTLEY, John (d.1415/16), of Chesterton, Warws.
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Family and Education
yr. s. of John Knightley† of Gnosall, Staffs. by Elizabeth, da. of Adam Burgh and gdda. and h. of William Burgh of Burgh Hall in Gnosall; uncle of Richard*. m. between Mar. 1407 and Oct. 1408, Joan (d. 10 Oct. 1418), da. of Sir John Thornbury* of Little Munden, Herts., wid. of William Peyto of Chesterton, 1s. 1da.
Escheator, Warws. and Leics. 29 Nov.-10 Dec. 1411, 12 Nov. 1414-14 Dec. 1415.
Commr. to bring the goods of Henry, Lord Scrope of Masham, from Pontefract castle to London Nov. 1415.
In October 1408, as John Knightley ‘the younger’, the future MP obtained at the Exchequer wardship of the extensive estates of the late William Peyto (his wife’s former husband), during the minority of his heir, William*, along with the latter’s marriage. His father, John ‘the elder’, an accomplished lawyer who had served as deputy justiciar of Chester and North Wales from 1398 until 1404 or later, provided securities on his behalf. It was Knightley’s tenure of the Peyto estates which was to qualify him for election to Parliament for Warwickshire, where the Peytos’ seat, Chesterton, was situated.1
Knightly attended the Warwickshire elections of 1411 and later that year (but for no more than a few days) he held office as escheator. His father died in 1413 or 1414, having made his will (of which John junior was an executor) on 23 Apr. 1413. John’s mother, Elizabeth, was still living; and the heir to the family estates was apparently his elder brother Richard, although he himself already had possession of the family manor of Shushions in Church Eaton (Staffordshire)—perhaps settled on him at the time of his marriage. By purchase, he added to his landed holdings the Warwickshire manor of Weston-under-Wetherley, although it proved necessary to bring a lawsuit to obtain two pyxes containing deeds relating to the property. A few days before the assembly of Knightley’s only known Parliament in November 1414 he was again appointed escheator of Warwickshire and Leicestershire, and during his term of office, which this time lasted the full year, he was commissioned to organize the removal from Pontefract castle of certain goods forfeited by Henry, Lord Scrope, following his execution for participation in the Southampton plot of July 1415.2
Knightley is not recorded alive after December 1415, and he certainly died before October 1416, when trustees conveyed Weston-under-Wetherley to his widow and children. The widow then married (as her third husband) the wealthy Sir Robert Corbet* of Kings Bromley. She retained for life from the Knightley lands (by permission of John’s mother and brother) property at Wilbrighton in Gnosall. Knightley left issue, George (on whom his grandmother entailed certain lands in Staffordshire) and Elizabeth, but both children died within two years of their mother’s death in 1418.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
He has been distinguished from John Knightley† (d.1391/2) of Knightley and Wyrley, Staffs., s. of Sir Robert Knightley (d.c.1365), who sat for Staffs. in 1373, 1376, 1379 and 1382 (Oct.); and from his own father, John, s. of Robert Knightley (d.1383) of Gnosall by his w. Juliana (d.1395), who sat for Staffs. in 1383 (Feb.) and 1384 (Apr.). Both men served on numerous royal commissions (notably those of the peace) in Staffs. and elsewhere, and the latter acted as steward of the earl of Stafford’s estates from bef. Mich. 1399-aft. Mich. 1406 (C. Rawcliffe, Staffords, 216; Staffs. RO, D641/1/2/40A, 48). The three Johns are confused in Staffs. Parl. Hist. i. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.), 115, 136, but are more clearly distinguished in VCH Staffs. iv. 119, and VCH Northants. Fams. 169-70, 175-6, 177-9, 206-7.