KNIGHT, Richard (by 1518-55 or later), of Chichester, Suss.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1518.1

Offices Held

Mayor, Chichester 1554-5.2


When Richard Knight was elected on 12 Oct. 1555 as one of the Members for Chichester in Mary’s fourth Parliament he had recently completed a year as mayor. Like his fellow-Member Robert Bowyer II, Knight may well have been the successful local businessman and civic personage that this dual achievement suggests, but the uncertainty surrounding his career both up to and after that point leaves this supposition largely unconfirmed. He was almost certainly the Richard Knight who in 1539 had a house in South Street, Chichester, and who was commissioned in 1542, with the bishop and two other citizens, to investigate the authorship of seditious bills found in a field outside the city, but the Richard Knight of the tithing of Shripney, some five miles to the west, who had earlier engaged in land transactions, has a rural air about him: he was styled ‘yeoman’ when in December 1535 he bought for £80 a lease of Elbridge, and ‘husbandman’ when in the following March he leased from the archbishop of Canterbury the manor of Shripney and lands in Pagham for 50 years at £22 and 20s. a year respectively. If it was he who had been assessed in Shripney at £60 in goods for the subsidy of 1524 he could have been an older relative, possibly the father, of his namesake of Chichester.3

The Parliament of 1555 was to witness a determined attack on government policy led by Sir Anthony Kingston, in the course of which an official bill was opposed on a division by upwards of 100 Members, among them Knight and Bowyer. For the representatives of so conservative a city to take this line could not have pleased many of their brethren; neither was to be re-elected to the last Marian Parliament, when at least one of their successors was Catholic, and only Bowyer was to sit again later. Knight, it is true, may not have survived to do so. It is doubtful whether he was the testator of 13 Jan. 1584 who left lands at and near Lyminster, and two houses in Chichester, to a son John, but no earlier evidence has been found which throws light on his end.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: R. J.W. Swales


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference.
  • 2. Suss. Arch. Colls. lxxxix. 151; A. Hay, Chichester, 569.
  • 3. APC, i. 31; Suss. Rec. Soc. xx. 507; lvi. 29; CPR, 1569-72, p. 79; SP2/S, f. 194.
  • 4. The appearance together of the Members for Chichester on the list of opponents leaves no doubt that ‘Mr. Knyght’ was this Knight, not John Knight II of Hythe, who voted against the bill. Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2; Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxiii. 18.