Julia Zillah Knyvett. wife of R. G. Dulhunty, was a member of an old Norfolk family of Plantagenet descent.
The family were of Danish extraction. From Burke's Extinct and Dormant Baronetcies it appears that Othomarus de Knyvet, Lord of the Castle and Borough of Launceston. Was ousted of his possessions at the Conquest for having taken up arms against the Conqueror, but intermarrying with Emme, daughter of William Damartin, a Norman, obtained restoration. From Othomarus, after four descents, sprang Sir John de Knevit. Lord of Southwick.1 He was great-grandfather of Sir John Knyvett, whose son Richard married Joan, daughter and co-heir of Sir Richard Worth, Kt.
His son. Sir John Knyvett, barrister-at-law, attained the coif in the reign of Edward III and was made one of the Justices of the King's Bench, Chief Justice, and afterwards Lord Chancellor of England. He married Eleanor, elder daughter of Ralph Bassett, second Lord Bassett of Welledon. Knyvett, the Lord Chancellor, frequently appears in historical novels relating to that period. Lord Campbell, in his Lives of the Chancellors, gives him a high character "famous in his profession, and when all other high officers of State were known to be under the influence of Alice Perrers, the widowed King's mistress. He (Knyvett) was never suspected."
John Knyvett, eldest son and heir of the Lord Chancellor. was found by the Inquisition in the reign of Henry IV to be co-heir with Sir John de Aylesbury to the family of Bassett, on the extinction of the male heirs. He served as me of the Knights of the Parliament for Huntingdonshire (Richard II). By Joan, his wife, daughter of Sir John Botetort, sprang Sir John Knyvett, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Constantine de Clifton, second Baron Clifton, and eventually co-heir of her noble family. By this marriage he acquired a fair inheritance, including the Castle of Buckenham, in Norfolk.2 He was Sheriff of Norfolk and Suffolk (Richard II) and was buried at Buckenham, where there are many monuments to the Knyvetts recognized by their armorial designs.
Christian, granddaughter of Sir John Knyvett, was the wife of Henry Colet, Lord Mayor of London, the mother of Dean Colet and friend of Erasmus.
Her brother, Sir William Knyvett, the only son and heir, married Alice, daughter of Lord Grey of Ruthven, and had a son, Edmund, his heir. He married secondly Joan, daughter of Humphrey Stafford, first of Buckingham. Perhaps as a result of this marriage, he took part in the second Duke's plot to assist the future Henry VII to the throne and thereby lost most of his lands, causing the Knyvett fortunes during the reign of Richard III to suffer a temporary eclipse. With the accession of the new dynasty. however, the bulk of these estates were restored, to pass to his son Edmund who married Eleanor, sister of Sir James Tyrell.
Edmund had five sons, of whom Thomas, the eldest, Knight of the Bath, succeeded to the Estate. He became Standard Bearer and Master of the Horse to Henry VIII, and is still remembered as the gallant captain of the "Regent" who lost his life in a lone and heroic combat with the "Marie Cordeliere" the pride of the French Navy, when his vessel caught fire and blew up with the loss of 1600 lives. His grandson, Sir Thomas of the bedchamber of Queen Elizabeth and afterwards Counsel to Queen Anne, consort to James 1, to which king he became one of the gentlemen of the Privy council, was entrusted to discover the Gunpowder Plot which he happily effected. He was summoned to Parliament in 1607 as Baron Knyvett of Eskrick. but in 1622 the title became extinct. The entry appears in Burke's Extinct Peerages:
Sir Thomas Knyvett, Kt., one of the gentlemen of the Privy Chamber of King James I, in 1605, upon the mysterious intimation conveyed by letter to the Lord Monteagle, was sent, being a Justice of the Peace in Westminster, to make search, with others, in the vaults and cellars under the House of Lords, where Guydo Faux was discovered, and the Gunpowder Plot detected and prevented.
Edmund, younger son of Sir Edmund Knyvett and Eleanor Tyrell, Sergeant Porter to Henry VIII, made a fortunate marriage with Jane Bourchier, only surviving daughter of Sir John Bourchier second Lord Berners., and thereby acquired the manor of Ashwellthorpe in Norfolk.
It is the supposed ambition of every genealogist investigating his English ancestry to establish direct descent from the Conqueror. There is no lack of published evidence in England to support the Knyvet's claim to that distinction. William Bourchier, Earl of Eu, had married Anne Plantagenet daughter of Thomas of Woodstock and grand-daughter of Edward III. Their son was created Baron Berners, and his grandson, Sir John Bourchier, second Baron Berners, was the famous soldier, courtier, and translator of Froissart. B Ifor Evans in his Short History of English Literature, wrote of him:
Lord Berners in his translation of Froissart's Chronicle (1520) gave the realistic life of the period (Middle Ages). Froissart had narrated the life of the 14th Century as he had seen it. and his vividness and honesty have made him a great descriptive historian. Berners allows Froissart's French to guide him into an English which is firm, intelligible and simple. The range of the narrative is wider than in Malory, and the matter less archaic. In some ways., with Berners' translation of Froissart, modern prose in English may be said to have begun.
The male issue of Sir John Bourchier were all illegitimate, and on his death Jane became his sole heir. On her marriage with Edmund Knyvett, the Plantagenet arms, the Berners arms, and the Bourchier arms were quartered with the arms of Knyvett. The Knyvett.Armorial Bearings, as still in use today, are described in Armorial Families (Fox-Davies, 1929):
Quarterly 1. Arg. a bend plain with bordure engrailed sable (for Knyvett) 2. Argent a cross engrailed gules between 4 water bougets sable, a label of 3 points azure charged with as many lions rampant or (for Bourchier) 3. France and England quarterly with a bordure argent (for Plantagenet) 4. quarterly or and vert (for Berners).
Crest: A demi-dragon with wings add. azure.
By their descent from Elizabeth de Clifton (descended from Adeliza of Lavaine) and from William Earl of Eu (son of Eleanor de Lavaine), the Knyvetts are twice descended from Charlemagne.
A diagram sets out the descendants of Othomarus de Knyvet, who lost his possessions at the Conquest for having taken up arms against the Conqueror, and shows how, after seventeen generations, the descendants of the contestants were united.
|1.Othomarus de Knyvet||1. William the Conqueror|
|2. --||2. William II, Cr. 1087|
|3. --||3. --|
|4. --||4. --|
|5. --||5. Henry II, Cr. 1154|
|6. Sir John de Knevit, Lord of Southwick||6. Richard I, Cr. 1189|
|7. Thomas Knyvett||7. --|
|8. John Knyvett||8. Henry III, Cr. 1216|
|9. Sir John Knyvett||9. Edward I, Cr. 1274|
|10. Richard Knyvett, m. Joan, dau and co-heir of Sir Richard Worth, Kt.||10. Edward II, Cr. 1307|
|11.Sir John Knyvett (obtained Coif in reign of Edward III, Lord Chancellor) m. Eleanor, dau of Lord Bassett||11. Edward III|
|12. Sir John Knyvett (Kt. Parliament, Richard II) m. Joan, dau. of Sir John Botetort||12. Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester|
|13. Sir John Knyvett, m. Elizabeth, dau. of Sir Constantine de Clifton||13. Anne Plantagenet|
|14. Sir John Knyvett of Buckenham||14. Sir John Bourchier, 1st Baron Berners, summoned to Parliament 1455-72|
|15. Sir. William Knyvett m.(1) Alice dau. of Lord Grey of Ruthven, (2) Joan Stafford, (3) Joane Courtney||15. Sir Humphrey Bourchier|
|16. Edmund m. Eleanor, sister of Sir James Tyrell||16. Sir John Bourchier, 2nd Baron Berners, summoned to Parliament 1495-1529, Famous translator of Froissart|
|17.1. Sir Thomas Kt. of the Bath, Standard Bearer and Master of Horse to Henry VIII|
|17.2. Edmund, Sergeant Porter to Henry VIII m.||Jane Bourchier|
Sir Thomas, Kt. of the Bath Sir Edmund Knyvett m. Eleanor Tyrell Henry VIII, d. 1513
Sir Henry Sir Edmund Knyvett m. Jane Bourchier
Sir Thomas, Baron Eskrick, John of Plumstead William of Fudenhall, discovered Gunpowder Plot Norfolk. 1605
Sir Thomas, of Ashwellthorpe b. 1539 m. Muriel Parry
Sir Thomas, Edmund, Keeper m.Elizabeth Bacon, of the Lions in d. 1605 the Tower.
John Sir Thomas, b.1596 famous letter writer
Thomas John, b.1623
Katherine (m. Elizabeth, m. Charles, the Richard Bokenham) Henry Wilson cabinetmaker Baroness Berners d.s.p. (title lapsed) Robet Wilson Charles, Baron Berners Composer to George III
(Continuation of Berners Line)
Charles, Musician Henry William, Composer to George IV & Queen Victoria
Rev, Charles, Henry John Carey Frederick Felix Francis, m. Ann chaplain to d. unm Seymour Turner, migrated Queen Victoria Australia 1852
Edward Ferrers Seymour Henry Felix Sumner Francis Henry migrated to d. unm. d.s.p. Australia (b. 1833)
Arthur dau. dau. Percy Frank Reginald Kenneth Edward Gordon Berners Hugh Norman Lawrence d.s.p. d.s.p. dau. Geoffery Alan dau. dau issue. issue Gordon Ferrers
John dau. dau. dau. David
1 His not large, but very lovely, mediaeval house is still in good repair and lived in - though no longer by Knyvetts, It is a perfect specimen of 12th/13th Century architecture.
2 A small moated castle which still exists, though entirely in ruins.