KEILWAY, Francis (d.1602), of Rockbourne, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

s. of Sir William Keilway of Rockbourne by Anne, da. of William Hawlwaye of Winchester. m. (1) c.1548, Anne, da. of Sir Francis Weston (exec. 1536) of Sutton in Woking, Surr., 1s. 2da.; (2) by Jan. 1602, Frances, s.p. suc. fa. 1569.1

Offices Held

With the Earl of Essex in Ireland 1572.

J.p.q. Hants c.1583, rem. by 1594, sheriff 1586-7.


Keilway, who owned the adjoining manor of Buckland, probably sat for Lymington by virtue of his local residence. There was, besides, a connexion with the Wallop family: Keilway’s aunt Elizabeth married Robert Martin of Athelhampton, Dorset, and their daughter was mother of William Wallop. In a letter to Sir Robert Cecil in 1601, Keilway described Burghley as ‘my singular good lord from the time of our first acquaintance in the Protector’s house’.2

Keilway’s family had lands in Hampshire, Wiltshire, Devon and Somerset, some of which were settled on Keilway himself on his marriage. Until about October 1553 he lived in the house of his mother-in-law, formerly Lady Weston and now Dame Anne Knyvet (mother of Sir Henry Weston and Thomas Knyvet I). When she was widowed for the second time, Keilway and an accomplice robbed her of £500 worth of silver, for which Keilway was outlawed, search being made for him in Ireland, Flanders and Calais. In the following March he received a royal pardon. Two months later he robbed a house in Congresbury, Somerset, for which he was also eventually pardoned. He ruined his son through a 20-year dispute over the family estates, and had to be ordered by the Privy Council to maintain him. Having agreed to this in August 1598, he failed to pay the allowance, in spite of two letters from the Council. A third letter, in November 1600, might have done the trick:

We did little expect that you or any other man of your place would have had that slender regard of so many letters as have been written unto you in the behalf of your son, whose estate is so pitiful as it hath moved Her Majesty to great compassion ...,

but Keilway married again, forcing his son to agree to an allowance of only £3 a week while his stepmother enjoyed what little remained of the estates, most of which had been sold in 1597 to a creditor, Anthony Ashley, for £50. Keilway died 22 Jan. 1602, leaving £100 to a daughter, and furniture in two rooms at Rockbourne to his son. The residue went to his wife, and Rockbourne was sold six years later.3

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 27; C2 Eliz./K4/70; APC, xxi. 215; Wards 7/87/309; St. Ch. 5/K1/31.
  • 2. HMC Hatfield, xi. 129; Vis. Dorset (Harl. Soc. xx), 66; Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 327.
  • 3. St. Ch. 3/1/83; APC, passim; CPR, 1553-4, p. 229; 1555-7, p. 165; 1557-8, p. 265; 1558-60, p. 192; Lansd. 59, f. 110; Wards 7/87/309; Req. 2/36/93, 55/92, 88/7, 112/10, 125/3; C3/106/84; St. Ch. 5/K1/31, 39, K2/3, 7, K3/17, K4/30, K5/14, 39, K6/7, K8/23, 25, K10/4, 27, K13/8; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 101; HMC Hatfield, vi. 559-60; x. 236, 340; PCC 83 Montague; VCH Hants, iv. 583.