KILLINGHALL, Francis (1517/19-87), of Middleton St. George, co. Dur.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. 1517/19, s. of William Killinghall of Middleton St. George by Eleanor, sis. of Sir Henry Thwaites of Lund, Yorks. m. by 1540, Catherine, da. of William Wren of Sherburn, co. Dur., at least 1da. suc. fa. 11 Dec. 1526.1

Offices Held


After the death of William Killinghall the wardship of his eight year-old son Francis was granted by Wolsey as bishop of Durham to Thomas Alvard, Thomas Cromwell and John Gostwick. Under such tutelage Killinghall might have been expected to enter the royal service, but no trace has been found of his doing so; he was, however, to marry within the court circle, his wife being a niece of Geoffrey Wren, chaplain to Henry VII and Henry VIII.2

In view of his northern domicile and his later military record it would be surprising if Killinghall had not fought against Scotland or France in the 1540s. He had perhaps already joined the garrison of Berwick when the 13th Lord Grey of Wilton became governor there in 1547, and as Grey was to command the cavalry at Pinkie he probably served with the light horse there; it may have been again under Grey that he went to France in 1557, when he was to witness the will of William Courtenay II, and as a member of the Berwick garrison in 1560 he evidently enjoyed Grey’s confidence, being despatched in May to the Queen and Privy Council to present Grey’s version of the failure to storm Leith. It must also have been to Grey, a Wiltshire landowner and brother-in-law to Sir John Brydges, 1st Lord Chandos, that Killinghall owed his return for Old Sarum to Mary’s third Parliament, although the nomination could have come either from the crown or from the 1st Earl of Pembroke. If the crown played a part he justified its confidence by not quitting the Parliament without leave before the dissolution. Nothing is known of Killinghall’s religion, although he had Catholic cousins at Middleton St. George.3

Killinghall served in Scotland under the 3rd Earl of Sussex in 1570 and was still in receipt of four pensions at Berwick in the year of his death. His avocation may have led him to neglect his estate, for in 1569 he sold Middleton St. George, and the licence granted three years before that to him and John Goldwell to buy firewood in Kent and Sussex and sell it throughout the kingdom could have represented an effort to stave off this necessity. Killinghall was buried at Berwick on 7 Dec. 1587. No will has been found.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Elizabeth McIntyre


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., Durham 3/174/12. Surtees, Durham, iii. 222; Test. Ebor. v (Surtees Soc. lxxix), 115; N. Country Wills, i (ibid. cxvi), 169; Vis. of the North, iv (ibid. cxlvi), 16; Arch. Ael. n.s. ii. 78-81; The Gen. n.s. i. 262-6.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, i, ii; The Gen. n.s. i. 262.
  • 3. Prob. 10/34; CSP Scot. i. 400-2, 409, 439; CSP For. 1560-1, pp. 26, 31-34; C. G. Cruickshank, Elizabeth’s Army, 233-4; Surtees, iii. 221, 223; Cath. Rec. Soc. liii. 50; CPR, 1569-72, p. 101.
  • 4. HMC Foljambe, 9; Cal. Border Pprs. i. 274; Surtees, iii. 221-2; CPR, 1563-6, p. 516.