DILLINGTON, Robert (c.1558-1604), of Knighton, I.o.W.

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



Family and Education

b. c.1558, s. of Anthony Dillington of Knighton by his 1st w. Anne, da. of one Reade of Wales. educ. I. Temple 1576. m. Dorothy, da. of John Charles of Tavistock, Devon, wid. of Richard Servington of Tavistock, s.p. suc. fa. 1587. Kntd. aft. June 1597.1

Offices Held


Dillington was the son of a gentleman from Somerset, who settled in the Isle of Wight early in Elizabeth’s reign and bought the manors of Knighton, Ashey and Ryde and other property there. He was one of the few Isle of Wight men returned for boroughs on the Island during this period. The only mention found of him in the journals is to his being granted leave of absence on 4 Mar. 1587. His candidature had no doubt been acceptable to Sir George Carey, the captain of the Island, with whom, however, Dillington was soon at odds, leading a faction of local gentlemen who drew up articles accusing Carey of arbitrary conduct and of assuming the title of governor. Carey maintained, when justifying himself to the Privy Council in June and July 1588, that his conduct showed only concern for the defence of the Island at a time of possible invasion; and on 1 Nov. the Council put Dillington in the Fleet. When news of his arrest reached his associates, they wrote to the lord chancellor on 18 Nov. asking for his release. How long he remained in custody is not clear, but presumably there was some sort of reconciliation, for in 1593 Dillington was again returned for an Isle of Wight borough.

Towards the end of his life Dillington probably lived in London, for, in June 1597, when another attack was expected, he was one of three gentlemen reprimanded by the Council for not living on the Island. It was while sick in a house in St. Clement Danes, London, that Dillington made a nuncupative will leaving everything to his nephew Robert Dillington, whom, according to Sir John Oglander, he heartily despised. He himself had married ‘an old widow from Devon’ and was childless. He died 30 Nov. 1604 and was buried in St. Clement Danes. Oglander, then a student at the Middle Temple, was present at the funeral, together with ‘many Isle of Wight men more’. He thought Dillington

the merriest and most complete gentleman that ever this island bred ... as handsome, well complexioned as you could wish ... a good, not great traveller and scholar ... very honest, stout and valiant, but above all his sweet, noble, merry carriage, as full of conceits without offence; very liberal to his friends. All men loved his company.2

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Patricia Hyde


  • 1. C142/212/38; Vis. Hants (Harl. Soc. lxiv), 15, 182; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 168, 676; APC, xxvii. 197.
  • 2. Oglander Mems. ed. Long, 81, 84, 127-8; D’Ewes, 412; APC , xvi. 152, 327; xxvii. 197; CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 488; Hist. I.o.W. ed. Worsley, 96-109; PCC 96 Harte; C142/284/67.