KNYVET, Sir Thomas (by 1528-69), of Buckenham Castle, Norf.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1528, 1st s. of Sir Edmund Knyvet of Buckenham Castle. educ. Corpus, Camb. 1544. m. settlement 4 Mar. 1565, Catherine, da. of Edward, 3rd Earl of Derby, 2s. suc. fa. 1 May 1551. Kntd. 2 Oct. 1553.

Offices Held

J.p.q. Norf. 1554, rem. 1560, rest. 1566.


Though Knyvet was related both to the 4th Duke of Norfolk and the 3rd Earl of Sussex, his return for Brackley was probably engineered by his future father-in-law, the 3rd Earl of Derby. In religion Knyvet was a Catholic, for which reason he was put off the commission of the peace. Whether his re-appointment some years later indicates that he conformed, or whether it was connected in some way with his late marriage has not been ascertained. At any rate he took no part in county affairs towards the end of his life. He died on 22 Sept. 1569. His will, made on the 8th of the same month, was proved on 11 Feb. 1570. He expressed a wish to be buried in New Buckenham church in the tomb where his wife had already been interred, and left 40s. towards its repair. Amongst his other charitable bequests was one of £10 to the poor people and prisoners of Norfolk, while each of his ‘yeoman warders’ was to receive 40s. and each of his other servants 20s. A number of servants received individual legacies. One of them, John Rame, was left 50 store lambs from Knyvet’s ewe course at Hillborough. Knyvet bequeathed to his younger son Henry an annuity of £20 until he was 18, when it was to be doubled. On coming of age he would receive an estate worth £2,000. His education, after the age of eight, was to be in the hands of the president and fellows of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Sir Thomas’s brother Edmund received an annuity of £13 6s.8d. Part of Knyvet’s estate including the parsonage of Old Buckenham, was mortgaged for a total of £800. Knyvet appointed Roger Woodhouse of Kimberley, Francis Gawdy of Wallington, Francis Thursbie of Rougham, and Robert Rogers of Coulton, all Norfolk gentlemen, executors of the will. The overseers were ‘the high and mighty prince’ Thomas, Duke of Norfolk; Edward, Earl of Derby; Thomas, Earl of Sussex; and Henry, Lord Morley. There is no mention in the will of Knyvet’s first son and heir, whose wardship was granted to Lord Cobham on 11 Nov. 1570. This son Thomas was a Catholic who married the daughter of another Norfolk Catholic, Thomas Lovell.1

After Knyvet’s death an inventory was taken of Buckenham Castle. It shows that there were ten chambers for the family, twelve for servants, four living rooms, and five service rooms. The total valuation was £1,034 11s.1d., which included £63 7s.d. for plate, £10 in ready money, £199 13s.4d. in good debts, and £225 in ‘doubtful debts’.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: A. M. Mimardière


  • 1. C142/91/96; 154/68, 160; Strype, Eccles. Memorials, iii(2), 181; Lansd. 1218, f. 74; APC, vii. 121; PCC 5 Lyon; CPR, 1569-72, p. 57.
  • 2. SP15/18/50.