KNOLLYS, Francis (1673-1701), of Lower Winchendon, Bucks. and Thame, Oxon.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



4 Jan. - July 1701

Family and Education

bap. 8 Feb. 1673, 1st s. of Francis Knollys of Lower Winchendon by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of one Bateman of Cumnor, Berks.  educ. Thames g.s.; Trinity, Oxf. 1688.  m. 19 Apr. 1696, Elizabeth (d. 1701), da. and coh. of John Stribblehill of Thame, 3s. 1da. d.v.psuc. fa. 1689.1

Offices Held


Knollys was descended from the youngest branch of the family, the senior line of which held the titular earldom of Banbury during this period. His great-grandfather, Sir Francis Knollys† (d. 1643), came into possession of Lower (or Nether) Winchendon by marrying the heiress of the Mills family. Little is known about Knollys’ father except that he was deemed suitable by James II’s agents in February 1688 to be a j.p. in Buckinghamshire. Having succeeded his father while at Oxford, Knollys’ subsequent activities do not come into view until May 1694 when, as Francis ‘Knowles’, he was given leave to go ‘beyond the seas’ with three servants for health reasons. In the preparations for the 1695 election, the Earl of Clarendon (Henry Hyde†) suggested to the Earl of Abingdon that a ‘Mr Knowles’ be considered as a Tory candidate for Aylesbury. Although ‘Knowles’ did not stand, his identification as Knollys is plausible given the proximity of both Lower Winchendon and Thame to Aylesbury. Indeed, Buckinghamshire was clearly perceived to be where his main interests lay since by March 1701 he was a deputy-lieutenant for that county.2

When Knollys entered Parliament following the general election of January 1701, however, it was as Member for Reading, where he had stood against two Whigs. His return provoked two petitions to the Commons, but neither was reported from the committee of elections. The local context of this poll at Reading suggests that Knollys was a Tory, a judgment not contradicted by the only parliamentary list on which his name appears, of those Members likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’. By the time Parliament was dissolved in November 1701 Knollys was dead, having been buried on 23 July at St. Lawrence’s, Reading, the victim of smallpox while at ‘his house in the country’. His son, also Francis, a relative of Thomas Rowney* (whose mother was also a Bateman), sat for Oxford 1722–34 as a Tory.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Stuart Handley


  • 1. IGI, London; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 806; F. G. Lee, Hist. Thame Church, 290, 591–8; C. Coates, Hist. Reading, 231.
  • 2. Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 527–8; VCH Bucks. iv. 118; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1883), 152; CSP Dom. 1694–5, p. 136; 1700–2, p. 250; Add. 18675, f. 39.
  • 3. Coates, 231; Parl. through Seven Cents. ed. Aspinall, 71; Flying Post, 17–19 July 1701; Add. 27440, f. 168.