William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury

William Knollys, 1st Earl Of Banbury

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William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury

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Sir William Knollys, 1st Earl of Banbury, KG, PC (1544 – 25 May 1632) was an English nobleman at the court of Queen Elizabeth I and King James

He was the son of Sir Francis Knollys, of Greys Court in Oxfordshire, and of Reading, in Berkshire, and his wife, Catherine Carey. Knollys was a Member of Parliament (MP) for Stafford in 1571, Tregony from 1572-81 and 1583-84 and for Oxfordshire from 1584-1586, 1592-1593 and 1601. In 1584 he was made castellan of Wallingford Castle. In 1596 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, a position he held until his death. In 1586 he served as a captain in the Netherlands under his brother-in-law Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who knighted him.

William rebuilt Caversham Park where he often resided. He was first married to Dorothy Bray, daughter of Edmund Braye, 1st Baron Braye by his wife Jane Halliwell and widow of Edmund Brydges, 2nd Baron Chandos of Sudeley (d 1573). Dorothy was 20 years his senior, and had at least five children from her first marriage, though their marriage proved childless.

In the mid-1590s, William took in Mary Fitton, the daughter of a family friend. Intended to be her protector from wayward influence of courtiers, he fell in love with her himself and wished his wife dead so he could marry her. He expressed desire for children with her, and when made godfather to Mary sister's daughter (Anne...
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