(1st B. Knyvett of Escrick)
Born: 1545, Escrisk, Yorkshire, England
Died: 27 Apr 1622, England
Father: Henry KNYVETT (Sir Knight)
Mother: Anne PICKERING
Married: Elizabeth HAYWARD (dau. of Sir Rowland Hayward and Catherine Smythe) 21 Jul 1597, St.Pancas Church, Soper Lane
Second son of Sir Henry Knyvett by Anne, dau. and heiress of Sir Christopher Pickering of Killingdon, Westmld, widow of Sir Francis Weston (exec. 1536), aft. widow of John Vaughan (d. 1577). Brother of Sir Henry Knyvett of Charlton; half brother of Henry Weston and uncle of Thomas Vavasour. Educated at Jesus College, Cambridge and became a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber to Queen Elizabeth I. In 1579 he was appointed High Sheriff of Norfolk. On the Queen's visit to Oxford, 29 Sep 1592, he was made Master at Arms and later sat for Thetford in the Parliament of 1601.
Thomas Knyvett was also famous for a long running feud with Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford. Knyvett's niece, Anne Vavasour, was the Earl's mistress, and on 21 Mar 1581 bore him an illegitimate son, Edward Vere. On numerous occasions, servants on either side were killed. On one occasion, Knyvett injured Oxford, apparently in the leg.
In 1603, freehold of Stanwell Manor granted to Sir Thomas Knyvett, who in 1605 was accredited with arresting Guy Fawkes. Knyvett was also granted the Manor of Staines in 1613, along with additional honours and possessions.
Thomas married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Rowland Hayward and widow of Richard Warren of Claybury, Essex. He was knighted at the Tower on 14 Mar, in either 1603/4. Knyvett is noted for his role in foiling the Gunpowder Plot. On the evening of 26 Oct 1605, the Catholic Lord Monteagle received an anonymous letter warning him to stay away from Parliament during the opening, and to "retyre youre self into yowre contee whence yow maye expect the event in safti for ... they shall receyve a terrible blowe this parleament". Monteagle's letter was shown to King James. The King ordered Knyvett to conduct a search of the cellars underneath Parliament, which he carried out with Edmund Doubleday in the early hours of 5 Nov. Guy Fawkes was found leaving the cellar, shortly after midnight, and arrested. Inside, the barrels of gunpowder were discovered hidden under piles of firewood and coal. After foiling the plot, he was appointed a Privy Councillor, Member of the Council to Queen Anne, and Warden of the Mint. The King confided his daughter, Mary, to him to be educated. On 4 Jul 1607, he was summoned to Parliament as Baron Knyvett of Escrick, Yorkshire.
He regularly frequented the court and seems to have had a town house in King Street, Westminster and attended the funerals of the Prince of Wales in 1612 and Queen Anne's in 1619. He died on 27 Jul 1622 and is buried with his wife. Above their grave, in the Chancel of Stanwell Parish Church, Middlesex, is a large monument with effigies. When Lord Knyvett died his Will provided for the foundation of a free-school in Stanwell, and the Lord Knyvett School was founded in 1624. The name is spelt both KNEVETT and KNYVETT.
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