KNILL (ACKNYLL), John (by 1519-61 or 64), of Knill, Herefs. and Old Radnor Burlingjobb, Rad.

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



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1519, 1st s. of Jenkin Knill of Knill by Anne, da. of Sir Richard Devereux. m. (1) Margery, da. of Sir John Whittington of Pauntley, Glos., 1s. 3da.; (2) Sibyl, da. of Roger Vaughan of Hergest, Herefs, wid. of Hugh Lewis (d. by 1556) of Harpton, Rad., 2s. 1da. suc. fa. 1538.1

Offices Held

?Steward, Ludlow, Salop Jan. 1541, ?recorder Apr. 1542; j.p. Rad. 1543-?d.; commr. subsidy 1545, 1557, relief 1550; dep. bailiff, Kingsland, Herefs. temp. Edw. VI; custos rot. Rad. Aug. 1547; sheriff 1557-8.2


A descendant of the Lord Rhys of Cardigan, although not of the original stock of the Knills of Knill, which had ended in the male line in the late 14th century, John Knill had succeeded to his patrimony and established himself in Radnorshire by the time Wales came to be represented in Parliament. He was among the first justices of the new county, was appointed custos in 1547 and was nominated as sheriff five times between 1540 and 1550, although not pricked until 1557. In 1556, probably on the occasion of his second marriage, he and his wife bought land in Radnorshire, at Bettws Disserth, Burlingjobb and Llanbister, and it was as of Knill and Burlingjobb that he took out a general pardon on the accession of Elizabeth. In the course of Mary’s reign he was sued in the court of requests by John Wall for preventing Wall from acting as bailiff of Kingsland: Wall had been appointed by Edward VI after Knill, who had previously held the office as deputy to one William Rhys, had forfeited it for appropriating two oxen. Knill pleaded illness as the reason for his non-appearance at the suit at Westminster and argued that it should be heard in Wales, where both parties lived, either at common law or before the council in the marches. He was the defendant to another complaint in the same court which had been heard earlier at the local great sessions. The outcome of both cases is unknown.3

Knill’s mother was a Devereux and it was with his kinsman Richard Devereux, returned knight for Carmarthenshire, that Knill sat for Radnorshire in the Parliament of 1545. Nine years later he again represented the shire in Mary’s third Parliament, but being found absent without leave when the House was called early in January 1555 he was one of the Members informed against in the King’s bench in the following Easter term: no proceedings against him followed. Nothing is known of his religion save that in the course of his answer to John Wall’s accusations he stated that when he was unwell he had heard mass in his parlour instead of going to church.4

According to one genealogy Knill died in 1561, but another gives the more likely year 1564. No will has been found.

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: P. S. Edwards


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. J. L. Lambe, Ped. Knill of Knill, 11; Gen. Knill of Knill (chart); Vis. Herefs. ed. Weaver, 46-47.
  • 2. C193/12/1; SP11/5/6; CPR, 1547-8, p. 102; 1553, p. 364; E179/224/546, 568.
  • 3. Lambe, 3, 10-11; LP Hen. VIII, xvi, xx; CPR, 1553, pp. 328, 339, 349; 1558-60, p. 173; Req.2/22/37, 68, 23/17.
  • 4. KB29/188, r. 48.