LEWKNOR, Richard (c.1589-1635), of West Dean, nr. Chichester, Suss.

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.1589, 1st s. of Richard Lewknor (d.1603) of West Dean and Eleanor, da. of Sir Christopher Brome of Holton, Oxon.; bro. of Christopher* and stepbro. of Sir John Oglander*.1 educ. Hart Hall, Oxf. 1604, BA (Balliol) 1606; M. Temple 1607.2 m. 1 Jan. 1618, Mary (d. May 1648), da. of Thomas Bennet, Mercer, of Cheapside, London and Babraham, Cambs., 1s. suc. grandfa. Sir Richard Lewknor† 1616. d. 27 May 1635.3 sig. R[ichard] Lewkenor.

Offices Held

Commr. sewers, Suss. 1617-30,4 j.p. 1618-d.,5 commr. subsidy 1621-2, 1624,6 Forced Loan 1626-7,7 martial law 1627,8 oyer and terminer 1627,9 dep. lt. 1627-at least 1631,10 commr. and collector, knighthood compositions 1630-4.11


Lewknor’s grandfather was a younger son from a prominent Sussex family seated at Tangmere near Chichester. The latter, abandoning the crypto-Catholicism of his family, became a successful lawyer, acquiring extensive estates in West Sussex including the manor of West Dean, and sitting in six Elizabethan Parliaments for Chichester.12 Lewknor was still a teenager when his father died in 1603 and consequently his stepfather, Sir William Oglander, who took up residence at West Dean, supervised his education.13 He and his brother were sent to their grandfather’s inn of court, the Middle Temple, but distinguished themselves only ‘by casting out of chamber pots and other annoyances out of their chamber windows’.14

Lewknor inherited his grandfather’s estates in 1616, and was returned at the next opportunity, in 1621, for Midhurst, six miles from West Dean, where his family had a significant interest. He was mentioned only once in the surviving records of the third Jacobean Parliament, on 30 Apr., when he received leave to depart into the country ‘for some time’ to recover his health.15 Early the following year he was summoned before the Privy Council to account for his failure to contribute to the Benevolence for the Palatinate, to which he subsequently contributed £30.16 He was re-elected for Midhurst to the next three Parliaments, although his only recorded activity was in 1624, when he was ordered, on 24 Mar., with Edward Alford and Thomas Bowyer, to calculate the costs to which the inhabitants of Arundel had been put as a result of their mayor’s irregular conduct of the election.17 He moved up to a county seat in 1628, but it was probably his younger brother Christopher, a lawyer, who was the ‘Mr. Lewknor’ who reported from the committee to examine the abuses of the saltpetremen on 17 June.18

Lewknor made his will on 8 Apr. 1635, bequeathing ‘in the pious remembrance of mine ancestors’ £100 for converting the funeral monument his grandfather had erected for his wife into a general family memorial. He died on 27 May 1635, aged 46, and was buried at West Dean. In accordance with his wishes his widow, brother Christopher and two brothers-in-law purchased his son’s wardship for £800. The latter sat for Midhurst from 1661 until his death in 1669.19

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Alan Davidson


  • 1. Vis. Suss. (Harl. Soc. liii), 27; Add. 5699, f. 203.
  • 2. Al. Ox.; M. Temple Admiss.
  • 3. Notes of Post Mortem Inquisitions taken in Suss. ed. E.W.T. Attree (Suss. Rec. Soc. xiv), 143; G.E. Cokayne, Some Acct. of Ld. Mayors and Sheriffs of City of London, 66; CCAM, 838.
  • 4. C181/2, f. 293; 181/4, f. 53v.
  • 5. C231/4, f. 64; C193/13/2, f. 67v.
  • 6. C212/22/20-1, 23.
  • 7. T. Rymer, Foedera, viii. pt. 2, p. 144; C193/12/2, f. 59v.
  • 8. CSP Dom. 1627-8, p. 461.
  • 9. C181/3, f. 216v.
  • 10. E. Suss. RO, LCD/EW1, ff. 44, 74v.
  • 11. ‘Compositions for Knighthood’ ed. H. Ellis, Suss. Arch. Colls. xvi. 46; E178/7154, f. 197; E198/4/32, f. 4.
  • 12. HP Commons, 1558-1603, ii. 474-5, M.C. Questier, Catholicism and Community in Early Modern Eng. 45, 58.
  • 13. Royalist’s Notebk. ed. F. Bamford, 173.
  • 14. MTR, 546.
  • 15. CJ, i. 596b.
  • 16. Cal. Assize Recs. Suss. Indictments, Jas. I ed. J.S. Cockburn, 100, 105; SP14/127/79; E401/2434.
  • 17. CJ, i. 748b.
  • 18. CD 1628, iv. 345.
  • 19. PROB 11/168, ff. 244v-5; WARD 9/163, f. 65; F. Lambarde, ‘Coats of Arms in Suss. Churches’, Suss. Arch. Colls. lxxv. 171-2.