KNIGHT, John I (by 1513-50), of Newbury, Berks. and the Middle Temple, London.

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



Family and Education

b. by 1513, yr. s. of William Knight of Reading, Berks. educ. ?Oxf., BA 1529, MA 1533; M. Temple. m. disp. 14 July 1540, Elizabeth, da. of William Jackman of Wing, Bucks., 2s.1

Offices Held

?Subsidy collector, Berks. 1534-5; under steward, Sandford preceptory, Oxon. 1546; j.p. Berks. 1547; escheator, Oxon. and Berks. 1548-9.2


John Knight’s parentage was not recorded in any visitation, but the references in his will to a brother Robert and a half-brother, William Knight of Reading, make it virtually certain that his father was the William Knight of Reading whose will, proved in 1536, mentions three sons, William, Robert and ‘John the younger’, and whose bequests of two broadlooms and three kerseys show him to have been a clothier. Several families of the name lived in the vicinity of Reading and Newbury, and the elder William Knight had a ‘godson’ named John Knight at Thatcham.3

Knight may have graduated at Oxford before entering the Middle Temple, where a gap in the records conceals his date of admission but where he was a member in 1545. At the inn he continued the association with Richard Brydges which had its origin in their native county and which was reflected in his witnessing of the will of Brydges’s father Henry in 1538. It was with Richard Brydges that Knight was to make his principal purchases of land. In 1543 they paid £305 for ex-monastic properties in Berkshire and Wiltshire, of which Knight’s share included the manor of Templeton in Kintbury; Templeton had belonged to the Sandford preceptory of the Knights of St. John, of whose lands Knight was to be appointed under steward in 1546. In March 1545 he partnered Brydges in a similar purchase, which included Stratton St. Margaret, Wiltshire, although this grant was made to Brydges alone; 11 months later they paid £515 for lands in Berkshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, as well as the manor of Crosby, Cumberland, which they quickly sold. Knight’s other partner was Robert Weare alias Browne*, with whom in April 1549 he bought for £613 more Berkshire and Wiltshire land, some of which he and Brydges already had on lease. His own purchase in 1544 of Berkshire lands formerly of the Duke of Suffolk, included three fulling mills at Newbury; in the previous year he had bought the tithes of two rectories in Thatcham then leased by John Winchcombe* alias Smallwood. Knight himself acquired various leases, among them one of Kingsclere, Hampshire, assigned to him by his fellow Middle Templar John Pollard, and another of part of Enborne; on these two manors he had 500 sheep as well as other stock, while in Newbury he owned a brewhouse.4

Apart from his (probable) subsidy collectorship of 1534 Knight’s return for Ludgershall to the Parliament of 1545 is his first known intervention in public affairs. Both he and his fellow-Member Thomas Hawes clearly owed their seats to Richard Brydges, who had the nomination there. Either or both could have taken one of them in 1539 or 1542, when the names are lost, and one or other might have been re-elected in 1547 but for the intervention of the Duke of Somerset, who then claimed both seats for dependants more favourable to reform than any nominee of the conservative Brydges is likely to have been. As it was, Knight was put on the commission of the peace and served a year as escheator before dying on 13 Jan. 1550. By the will which he had made on 2 July 1549 he set aside for 16 years the income from much of his landed property, to an estimated value of £27 a year, for the payment of debts and annuities, and assigned one-third of his lands to the crown for the wardship of his two young sons. He gave his wife for her dower property in and near Newbury, including the three fulling mills, as well as the profits of his lands in Enborne and the brewhouse in Newbury until the heir Richard came of age. Richard himself was to have the lease of Bishopstone and the younger son John those of Kingsclere and Merton. Knight appointed his wife and sons executors and John Pollard, John Winchcombe and two others as his overseers. His widow proved the will on 18 May 1550. A week earlier she had been granted the wardship of Richard, who in 1583 was confirmed in his father’s grant of arms; in 1557 his inheritance was valued at £47 a year. Elizabeth Knight’s second husband, Robert Paris, was probably the man who died in October 1550 from wounds inflicted by John Cheyne II and others, and perhaps also the New Romney man of the same name who had sat in the Parliament of 1523.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: S. R. Johnson


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from probable first appointment. PCC 1 Crumwell, 13 Coode; Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxf. 1501-40, p. 331; LP Hen. VIII, xx; Fac. Off. Reg. 1534-49, ed. Chambers, 222.
  • 2. LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xxi; CPR, 1547-8, p. 81; 1553, p. 327.
  • 3. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvii), 166; PCC 1 Crumwell, 23 Spert, 13 Coode, 1, 72, 77 Noodes, 3 Fetiplace; Berks. Wills (Brit. Rec. Soc. viii), 105.
  • 4. Emden, 331; LP Hen. VIII, xviii-xxi; CPR, 1548-9, pp. 425-6; 1555-7, pp. 197-8; PCC 24 Dyngeley, 13 Coode; C1/1136/49.
  • 5. E150/817/6; PCC 13 Coode; NRA 10734, p. 102; CPR, 1557-8, p. 96; 1563-6, p. 525; Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 147.