KNOLLYS, Robert (c.1547-1619), of Porthaml, Brec. and St. Martin's Lane, London.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Keeper of Syon house; steward of Isleworth 1577; porter or usher of Tower mint 1577-82; gent. of privy chamber 1587; esquire of the body by 1603.
J.p.q. Brec. from c.1583, dep. lt. 1590, custos rot. c.1592.2
As the son of one of her chief Councillors, ‘Robyn’ (as the Queen called him) Knollys quickly found a position in the Queen’s service. Perhaps also, like his younger brother Francis, he became a member of the entourage of his nephew, the Earl of Essex, whom he accompanied on the Islands voyage of 1597. He was sent from Finisterre, in August 1597, to carry a report from Essex to the Queen. Unlike his younger brother Francis, he avoided implication in the rebellion of February 1601.
Knollys owed his seats at Reading to his family’s local influence. In 1588 he was elected for both Reading and, through his wife’s standing, for Breconshire, which he continued to represent for the remainder of his parliamentary career. His preference for Breconshire is the first mention of Knollys in the journals of the House, 10 Feb. 1589. He was named to the committee of the bill for reducing disloyal subjects to their true obedience, 4 Apr. 1593, to the committee for the bill for bridging the river Wye, 12 Dec. 1597 and to the committee for privileges in both 1597 and 1601. As knight for Breconshire he was entitled to attend the following committees: in 1589, the subsidy (11 Feb.); in 1593, the subsidy (26 Feb.) and a legal matter (9 Mar.); in 1597, enclosures (5 Nov.), the poor law (5, 22 Nov.), armour and weapons (8 Nov.), penal laws (8 Nov.), monopolies (10 Nov.), the subsidy (15 Nov.); and in 1601, the order of business (3 Nov.) and monopolies (23 Nov.).3
Knollys had some reputation as a sportsman, playing bowls with the Earl of Shrewsbury and taking part in several tilting competitions, during one of which, in November 1602, he was so badly injured that he was ‘in great danger and would hardly scape’. He carried on lawsuits over property against his wife’s relative, Blanche Parry, the Queen’s gentlewoman, and tried to assert some sort of reversionary rights in the manor and borough of Taunton, granted by the Queen to his parents but exchanged by them for other lands. He died in January 1619, as a result of a fall at the house of his brother William at Caversham.4
Ref Volumes: 1558-1603
- 1. DNB (Knollys, Sir Francis); Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 103; HMC Hatfield, vii. 368, 389; D’Ewes, 622.
- 2. DNB; PRO Index 16774, 19 Eliz. f. 52; HMC Gawdy, 106; LC2/4/4; APC, xx. 23; information on the mint from Dr. C. E. Challis.
- 3. HMC Gawdy, 106; APC, ix. 361; HMC Hatfield, vii. 368, 386, 389; xi. 100; DWB (Vaughans of Porthaml); D’Ewes, 430, 431, 474, 496, 517, 552, 553, 555, 557, 561, 622, 624, 649; Townshend, Hist. Colls. 115.
- 4. Lansd. 47, f. 146; 101, f. 159; HMC Hatfield, vii. 41; xi. 540; xiv. 1; xvii. 107; Chamberlain Letters ed. McClure, i. 173; CPR, 1560-3, p. 16; HMC Gawdy, 106, 111.