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 • Rotherfield Greys
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Sir William Knollys
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Birth: 1545, England
Death: May 25, 1632
Greater London, England

1st Earl of Banbury
1st Viscount Wallingford
1st Baron Knollys of Greys
Knight of the Garter

Son of Sir Francis Knollys and Katherine Carey. Paternal grandson of Sir Robert Knollys and Lettice Peniston. Maternal grandson of William Carey and Lady Mary Boleyn. (Likely the true grandson of Henry VIII)

William was a graduate of Magdalen College at Oxford University, and began his career as a Member of Parliament. He was knighted in 1586, and 10 years later was made a Privy Counsellor.

He was created 1st Baron Knollys of Greys, in the County of Oxford, on 13 May 1603. And on 24 April 1615 was made a Knight of the Garter.

The following year he was created 1st Viscount Wallingford, in the County of Berkshire, and on 18 August 1626, 1st Earl of Banbury in the County of Oxford.

William variously served as Comptroller of the Household, Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, Treasurer of the Household, Master of the Wards and High Steward of Oxford.

He first married Dorothy Braye, the dowager Lady Chandos of Sudeley, in 1572. She was the daughter of the 1st Baron Braye and the widow of Edmund Brydges, 2nd Lord Chandos, with whom she had two sons. But William and Dorothy were childless, and she died in 1605.

William married Lady Elizabeth Howard shortly thereafter. The settlement for their marriage was dated 23 December 1605.

Elizabeth Howard was the daughter of Thomas Howard, 1st Earl of Suffolk, and Katherine Knyvett. She was the granddaughter of the 4th Duke of Norfolk, and was 39 years younger than her husband.

The marriage was apparently an unhappy one, and though two sons were born during the union - Edward and Nicholas Knollys - they are believed to have been the children of Elizabeth's lover, Edward Vaux, 4th Baron Vaux of Harrowden. She would marry Edward Vaux within five weeks of William's death.

William Knollys was succeeded by both of his legal heirs, Edward Knollys and Nicholas Knollys as 2nd and 3rd Earl respectivley, though neither is mentioned in his will.

Following the death of the 3rd Earl, his son Charles Knollys, petitioned the House of Lords, beginning in 1685, to receive the earldom and was denied the right to the title.

The male line descendants of Charles Knollys have since petitioned and litigated through the British courts for the right to earldom of Banbury for 175 years without success.

Currently the earldom is considered by the House of Lords to have become extinct on William's death in 1632.
Family links: 
  Francis Knollys (1514 - 1596)
  Katherine Carey Knollys (1524 - 1568)
  Dorothy Braye Knollys (1530 - 1605)
  Elizabeth Howard Vaux (1586 - 1658)
  Edward Knollys (1627 - 1645)*
  Nicholas Knollys (1630 - 1674)*
  Henry Knollys (1542 - 1582)*
  Lettice Knollys Dudley (1543 - 1634)*
  William Knollys (1545 - 1632)
  Robert Knowles (1547 - 1619)*
  Richard Knowles (1548 - 1596)*
  Elizabeth Knowles Leighton (1549 - 1605)*
  Francis Knowles (1550 - 1648)*
  Anne Knollys West (1555 - 1608)*
  Anne Knowles West (1555 - 1633)*
  Katharine Knowles Boteler (1560 - 1632)*
*Calculated relationship
St Nicholas Churchyard
Rotherfield Greys
South Oxfordshire District
Oxfordshire, England
Created by: A. I. Carroll-Zimmer
Record added: Oct 22, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 79086763
Sir William Knollys
Added by: A. I. Carroll-Zimmer
Sir William Knollys
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Ryan D. Curtis
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Carl
 Added: Nov. 14, 2015
In memory of Sir William Knollys ~ RIP
- Laurel Robson
 Added: Feb. 22, 2014
William, Rest in Peace. My 3rd Cousin 14x removed.
- Wayne, Donna, Tonee, Terrence
 Added: May. 21, 2013

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