Sir Adrian POYNINGS of Wherwell, Knight

Born: ABT 1515, Ghent, Netherlands

Died: 1571, Wherwell, Hants

Father: Edward POYNINGS (Sir Knight)

Mother: ¿?

Married: Mary WEST


1. Son POYNINGS (d.v.p.)


3. Elizabeth POYNINGS


The details in this biography come from the History of Parliament, a biographical dictionary of Members of the House of Commons.

Born ABT 1515, illegit. son of Sir Edward Poynings of Westenhanger, Kent, treasurer of the household to Henry VIII. Educ. G. Inn 1533. Married Mary, dau. and coh. of Sir Owen West of Wherwell. Kntd. by Aug 1562. In household of Thomas Cromwell by 1538; lt. Boulogne citadel Feb 1546; capt. Jun 1546-Apr 1547; lt. Boulogne base town Mar 1546; lt. Calais castle 1552; capt. Portsmouth from 1559; second in command expedition to France under Ambrose Dudley 1562; marshal, Le Havre Oct-Nov 1562. J.p. Hants from c.1559, Dorset 1561; duchy of Lancaster steward, Dorset 1566; commr. musters, Hants 1569; v.-adm. Hants by 1570.

Poynings was born in Ghent when his father was in the Netherlands as Ambassador to the Emperor. He became a soldier, succeeding Thomas Wyatt to commands at Boulogne, and gaining large sums from the ransoms of prisoners. On several occasions in 1551 and 1552 he is referred to as a knight, but thereafter until 1562 as ‘esquire’ or ‘gentleman’, perhaps because a first knighthood was foreign and he thought it inexpedient to use the title in view of his alien status after he returned from Calais. Poynings was not employed during Mary's reign. He was present at the battle of St. Quentin in 1557, with 48 foot soldiers, and returned to England soon afterwards. In Jun 1558 he was appointed lieutenant to Lord Talbot in the army which was being sent northwards, but a month later the commission was cancelled because he was unwilling to serve. He was still an alien when he was returned to Elizabeth's first Parliament for Tregony, no doubt through a court connexion, perhaps Francis Russell, 2nd Earl of Bedford, who would have approved of his puritanism and of his service at St. Quentin. Other possible patrons are his nephew Edward, Lord Clinton, later 1st Earl of Lincoln, and his ‘cousin’ the Marquess of Winchester. His name is not to be found in the records of the 1559 Parliament, such as they are.

Chidiock Paulet was less ineffective at Portsmouth towards the end of Mary's reign, but despite the favourable impression he made there Elizabeth dismissed him in 1559 and appointed Sir Adrian Poynings in his stead. Poynings was to make himself unpopular with the townsmen for his overbearing attitude, but when Paulet was offered the post again in 1562 he declined it.

After further military service, on the expedition to France in 1562, Poynings received a patent of denization, and his title to his Dorset manors was confirmed. His last years were spent at Portsmouth, quarrelling with the mayor and burgesses, who accused him of high-handedness and violence as captain of the town. In 1567 he unsuccessfully claimed the barony of la Warr in right of his wife. He died intestate at Portsmouth on 15 Feb 1571, administration being granted to the widow 22 Feb. Poynings's heirs were his three daughters, one of whom married George More of Loseley and another Edward More of Sussex. His widow married Richard Rogers.


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