KILLIGREW, Sir Peter (c.1593-1668), of Arwennack, St. Budock, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1661 - July 1668

Family and Education

b. c.1593, 4th s. of John Killigrew of Arwennack by Dorothy, da. of Thomas Monck of Potheridge, Merton, Devon. m. c. Oct. 1625, Mary, da. of Thomas Lucas of Colchester, Essex, 1s. 1da. Kntd. 29 Dec. 1625; suc. bro. 1633.2

Offices Held

Gent. of the privy chamber 1633-?42.3

J.p. Cornw. 1655-d., commr. for assessment 1657, Aug. 1660-d., militia Mar. 1660, gov. Pendennis Castle Mar.-Sept. 1660; dep. lt. Cornw. 1662-d.4


Killigrew’s ancestors were holding manorial property in Cornwall under Henry III, and first represented a Cornish borough in 1553. Killigrew, like so many of his family, made his career at Court. He acted as diplomatic courier during Prince Charles’s visit to Spain in 1623, and on his marriage the prince (now Charles I) settled on him and his wife a pension of £200 p.a. In 1633 he inherited the Arwennack estate, reduced by litigation and extravagance to £800 p.a., and accepted employment from Parliament as a messenger during the Civil War. He was rewarded by the Rump with the grant of a market at Smithwick on Carrick Roads, where he continued the development begun by his father. He held local office under the Protectorate, and his cousin George Monck secured his return to Richard Cromwell’s Parliament for a Scottish constituency, and his appointment as governor of Pendennis on the return of the secluded Members. He was twice involved in double returns for Helston in 1660; Lord Wharton marked him as a friend, but he was never allowed to sit, in spite of favourable recommendations from the elections committee. He brought the King a letter of thanks from Monck for the Declaration of Breda and expressions of loyalty from the fleet. In September he surrendered Pendennis to Richard Arundell in exchange for a pension of £300.5

Successful at Helston in the general election of 1661, Killigrew was again listed by Wharton as a friend, to be managed by himself and Sir Richard Onslow. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to only ten committees. Listed as a court dependant in 1664, he obtained a charter for Smithwick under the name of Falmouth, and arranged for the transfer of the customs house from Penryn. He raised money to build and endow a church dedicated to King Charles the Martyr, and promoted a bill to make it parochial. After passing the Lords, it was steered through committee in the Commons by John Coryton I. Some amendments were made, and Killigrew helped to manage a successful conference. On 1 Dec. he was ordered to attend the committee of privileges on a charge of ‘affronting and assaulting Sir Richard Everard’, but no report was made. On 20 Feb. 1665 he was named to a committee to permit the payment of interest in excess of the legal maximum of 6 per cent on crown loans. Appropriately enough for so indefatigable a traveller, he died at Exeter on the road to London. It was reported on 5 Aug. 1668 that his body was to be returned to Falmouth for burial in the church that he had founded.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Paula Watson


  • 1. N. and Q. clxvi. 65.
  • 2. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 268-9; CSP Dom. 1625-6, pp. 111, 152.
  • 3. Carlisle, Privy Chamber, 134; LC3/1.
  • 4. Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 609; CSP Dom. 1668-9, p. 646.
  • 5. Gilbert, Paroch. Hist. Cornw. i. 388-90; Jnl. R. Inst. Cornw. iii. 269, 282; CSP Dom. 1619-23, p. 611; 1625-6, p. 152; 1644-5, p. 255; 1668-9, p. 646; Cal. Comm. Adv. Money, 192; HMC Popham, 226; CJ, viii. 115, 203; Pepys Diary, 9 May 1660.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1660-1, p. 387; 1661-2, p. 63; 1667-8, p. 522; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 383.