Oxfordshire

County

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

Elections

DateCandidate
10 Jan. 1559THOMAS BRYDGES
 EDMUND ASHFIELD
8 Dec. 1562SIR FRANCIS KNOLLYS
 SIR RICHARD BLOUNT
9 Oct. 1566SIR EDWARD UNTON vice Blount, deceased1
1571SIR FRANCIS KNOLLYS
 SIR HENRY NORRIS I
15 Apr. 1572SIR FRANCIS KNOLLYS
 HENRY KNOLLYS II
10 Nov. 1584SIR FRANCIS KNOLLYS
 WILLIAM KNOLLYS
11 Oct. 1586SIR FRANCIS KNOLLYS
 RICHARD FIENNES
1588SIR FRANCIS KNOLLYS
 SIR JOHN NORRIS
1593SIR FRANCIS KNOLLYS
 (SIR) WILLIAM KNOLLYS
27 Sept. 1597(SIR) WILLIAM KNOLLYS
 SIR RICHARD WENMAN
22 Sept. 1601(SIR) WILLIAM KNOLLYS
 RALPH WARCOPPE

Main Article

The story of Oxfordshire parliamentary representation is dominated by the career—unrivalled during this period—of Sir Francis Knollys of Rotherfield Greys, who was returned to the senior county seat unchallenged in seven consecutive Parliaments. Vice-chamberlain of the Household and Privy Councillor from 1559, and lord lieutenant of the county from 1569, Knollys’s last appearance in Parliament was in 1593 at the age of 81. On his death in 1596, the senior county seat passed to his second but eldest surviving son William, who like his father, was a figure of both national and local importance, comptroller of the Household, Privy Councillor and joint lord lieutenant of the county. William Knollys held the senior seat in 1597 and 1601, thus giving the Knollys family a monopoly of the Oxfordshire senior seat in all the Parliaments of the reign except the first. On three occasions before the death of Sir Francis Knollys the family had also monopolized both county seats (1572, 1584 and 1593).

The remaining MPs were all county landowners who took turns to represent the shire. None of them sat for it more than once during this period. Two were national figures: Sir Richard Blount of Mapledurham (1563) was lieutenant of the Tower as well as lord lieutenant of the county; Sir Henry Norris I of Rycote, whose wife was a friend of the Queen, was a potential rival for the senior county seat. Returning from his embassy in France in 1570, he took the junior seat in 1571, but any threat to Knollys’s parliamentary sup