Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Knyvet, Thomas (d.1622)

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KNYVET, THOMAS, Lord Knyvet of Escrick (d. 1622), was second son of Sir Henry Knyvet of Charlton, Wiltshire, by Anne, daughter of Sir Christopher Pickering of Killington, Westmoreland. Edmund Knyvet [q. v.], sergeant-porter to Henry VIII, was his grand-uncle. His brother Sir Henry Knyvet, of Charlton (d. 1598), high sheriff of Wiltshire in 1577, wrote in 1596 ‘The Defence of the Realme,’ first published in 1906 (Oxford, ed. Charles Hughes). Thomas was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, became a gentleman of the privy chamber to Queen Elizabeth, and was created M.A. on her visit to Oxford on 29 Sept. 1592. He sat for Thetford in the parliament of 1601. On 5 Aug. 1603 James I gave him the manor of Stanwell, Middlesex, to which a neighbouring property was added by royal grant in 1613, and he gained much favour with the king. He was knighted at the Tower on 14 March 1603–4. In his capacity of justice of the peace for Westminster, and as a gentleman of the privy chamber, Knyvet made the search of the cellars of the houses of parliament on the evening of 4 Nov. 1605, and discovered the powder; to him Fawkes made a confession of the plot. Knyvet was shortly afterwards appointed a privy councillor, member of the council of Queen Anne, and warden of the mint. James confided his daughter Mary to him to be educated, and she died at Stanwell on 16 Sept. 1607. On 4 July 1607 Knyvet was summoned to parliament as Baron Knyvet of Escrick, Yorkshire, and had gifts of 500l. from the king in 1612 and 1613. He regularly frequented the court, and seems to have had a town house in King Street, Westminster. He took part in the trial of the pyx, at which James was present in 1611, and was at the funerals of the Prince of Wales in 1612 and of the queen in 1619. Knyvet died on 27 July 1622, and was buried with his wife at Stanwell, where there is a large monument, with effigies in the chancel of the church. He had married, at St. Pancras Church, Soper Lane, London, on 21 July 1597, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Roland Hayward, and widow of Richard Warren of Essex. She died on 5 Sept. 1622; her two daughters predeceased her. By his will he left 20l. a year for a school for boys at Stanwell; he settled Stanwell on a nephew, John Cary, and on a niece, Catherine, who married as her second husband Thomas Howard, first earl of Suffolk, and whose seventh son was Edward, created lord Howard of Escrick [q. v.] Lord Knyvet must not be confounded with his cousin, Sir Thomas Knyvet of Buckenham, the head of the family, who was knighted on 11 May 1603.

[Lysons's Parishes in Middlesex not described in the Environs of London, ‘Stanwell;’ Gardiner's Hist. of England, i. 250; Cooper's Memorials of Cambridge, i. 374; Burke's Extinct Peerage; Davy's Suffolk Collections, lxii., Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 19138 (pedigree); Lodge's Illustr. of Brit. Hist. iii. 203; Wood's Fasti Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 260; Jardine's Gunpowder Plot, p. 101; Gent. Mag. 1794, pt. i. 313 (tomb); Cal. of State Papers, Dom. 1603–23 (very few notices); Nichols's Progresses of King James, passim.]

W. A. J. A.