KINGSMILL, John (c.1536-?90), ?of King's Enham, 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

b. c.1536, 6th s. of Sir John Kingsmill of Sydmonton and bro. of George, Henry and Richard. educ. Magdalen Coll. Oxf. demy 1553, BA 1556, MA 1562, fellow 1556-73 ?unm.

Offices Held

Bursar, Magdalen Coll. 1567; chancellor, Winchester diocese ?1572.


The career of John Kingsmill, like those of his brothers, was directed by puritan sympathies. He helped to make Magdalen the most puritan of Oxford colleges. On 2 May 1559 he and his younger brother Thomas Kingsmill, later professor of Hebrew, were solemnly warned in chapel for uttering heretical opinions concerning the sacrament of the altar, and for shaving their heads in derision of the tonsure. At Oxford at the same time was another of his brothers, Andrew Kingsmill, ‘a phoenix among lawyers, and a rare example of godliness among gentlemen’, who turned to divinity and went abroad to Geneva and Lausanne. In 1565, as praelector in natural philosophy, John signed a letter from the fellows of Magdalen to the archbishop of Canterbury about their dislike of vestments. He taught moral philosophy at Magdalen from 1566 to 1571 and also studied civil law. The visitor of Magdalen was the puritan Bishop Horne of Winchester, whose chancellor Kingsmill became, probably in 1572: in November of that year Kingsmill was granted a year’s leave from his fellowship causa promotionis, and in the following July another puritan was elected in his place.

Little is known of his subsequent career. His return for Ludgershall to the Parliaments of 1584 and 1586 was almost certainly due to the influence of his elder brother Richard, who had acquired estates near the borough. He was probably the John Kingsmill of King’s Enham, a manor in Hampshire belonging to Magdalen College, who wrote his will in his own hand in July 1590, leaving £20 to the poor, £25 to servants, and the residue of his goods to his brother George, whom he made sole executor. The will was proved 14 Nov. 1590.

Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 3; Macray, Magdalen Coll. Reg. (n.s.), ii. 144; Lansd. 683, f. 70; DNB (Kingsmill, Andrew and Thomas); VCH Oxon. iii. 177; Bloxam, Magdalen Coll. Reg. ii. p. lxxii; iv. 138; PCC 75 Drury; VCH Hants, iv. 354.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Alan Harding