KNYVETON (KNIVETON), William (c.1560-1632), of Mercaston, Derbys.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. c.1560,1 1st s. of Thomas Kniveton† of Mercaston and Jane, da. of Ralph Leche of Chatsworth, Derbys.2 m. by 1581, Matilda, da. and h. of John Rollesley of Rollesley, Derbys., 3s. 3da.3 suc. fa. c.1591,4 cos. William Knyveton at Bradley c.1613;5 cr. bt. 29 June 1611.6 d. 19 Jan. 1632.7

Offices Held

Sheriff, Derbys. 1587-8, 1614-15,8 capt. militia ft. 1588,9 j.p. by 1591-d.,10 commr. subsidy 1593-5, 1602, 1608, 1621-2, 1624,11 musters 1599, 1618,12 oyer and terminer, Midland circ. by 1598-d.;13 dep. lt. Derbys. by 1621-at least 1624,14 commr. Palatine Benevolence 1622,15 commr. Forced Loan 1626-7.16


Established in Derbyshire in the thirteenth century, the Knyvetons provided a knight of the shire in 1295. However their importance declined thereafter until Knyveton’s father, head of the junior branch based at Mercaston seven miles north-west of Derby, married the half-sister and intimate friend of Bess of Hardwick, countess of Shrewsbury.17 It was to this connection that Knyveton owed his return for Derbyshire to the first Stuart Parliament,18 in which he made no recorded speeches. On 14 Apr. 1604 he was ordered to attend a conference with the Lords on the proposed Union with Scotland.19 Towards the end of May he informed his mother that ‘the ending of the Parliament is yet very uncertain’.20 He was still in London on 23 June, when he was ordered to consider a bill to prevent the obstruction of navigable rivers.21 He left no further trace on the records of Parliament, although he was in town for the third session, writing to his formidable aunt on 22 June 1607 that ‘the Parliament sits still, but hath very little to do’.22

Knyveton was one of the first to purchase a baronetcy, and in about 1613 inherited Bradley on the extinction of the senior branch of the family.23 In 1616 he was one of the baronets who bore the canopy at Gilbert Talbot†, 7th earl of Shrewsbury’s funeral.24 His baronetcy did not save him from paying £50 knighthood composition by January 1632.25 He died intestate at Mercaston on 19 Jan. 1632 and was succeeded by his eldest son Sir Gilbert Knyveton*. Administration was granted to his daughter Jane and her husband William Greaves on 14 July following.26

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Virginia C.D. Moseley


  • 1. STAC 5/C32/6.
  • 2. D.N. Durant, Bess of Hardwick, 7, 8.
  • 3. Add. 6675, f. 311.
  • 4. PROB 6/4, f. 189.
  • 5. PROB 11/121, f. 507.
  • 6. C66/1942/48.
  • 7. C142/486/104.
  • 8. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 31.
  • 9. HMC Foljambe, 28.
  • 10. Hatfield House, ms 278; SP16/212, f. 12.
  • 11. HMC Rutland, i. 317, 322, 329, 383, 410; SP14/123/2; C212/22/21, 23.
  • 12. Cal. of Shrewsbury and Talbot Pprs. ed. G.R. Batho (Derbys. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. iv), 317; APC, 1618-19, p. 116.
  • 13. C66/1482; C181/4, f. 110v.
  • 14. HMC Rutland, i. 460; HMC 9th Rep. i. 389.
  • 15. SP14/130/82.
  • 16. E179/93/355/1; C193/12/2, f. 9.
  • 17. D. Lysons and S. Lysons, Magna Britannia, v. pp. lxix-lxx; Durant, 78;
  • 18. J.R. Dias, ‘Pols. and Admin. in Notts. and Derbys. 1590-1640’, (Oxf. Univ. D.Phil. thesis, 1973), p. 244.
  • 19. CJ, i. 172a.
  • 20. J. Hunter, Hallamshire ed. A. Gatty, 121.
  • 21. CJ, i. 245b.
  • 22. Hunter, 123.
  • 23. Add. 6688, f. 210.
  • 24. Hunter, 102.
  • 25. E407/35, f. 38.
  • 26. C142/486/104; PROB 6/14A, f. 114.