Name: Robert Knolles
Birth: 1315 in Cheshire
Note: Died age 92
Death: 1407 in Sculthope Manor House, Norfolk 2
Burial: 15 AUG 1407 Whitefriars, London 3
Occupation: Important soldier in 100 Yrs War
BATT: Combat of the Thirty, 1351.
Change Date: 21 APR 2013
[Sir Thomas is said to have been son of] Sir Robert Knolles who is mentioned in Froissart?s Chronicles and captain in the wars against France, Spain and Brittany under three kings, Edward III, Richard II and Henry IV, and was buried with full military honours in Whitefriars, London....
Of Sculthorpe, Norfolk. In 1381 Sir Robert Knollys, a commander in the Hundred Years War and servant of Edward the Black Prince, built a fortified manor-house there and rebuilt the Parish Church.
Sir Robert de Knolles and his wife, Constance de Beverley?s, activities can be deducted from those documents between the years 1355 and 1395. Robert died in 1407 and Constance survived and buried him.
Between 1355 - 1370 there are numerous documents relating to military service.(Cal.Patent Rolls) They include:
? a safe-conduct for him, his wife, 60 persons, their goods and their household and their horses for coming back to the realm.
? A pardon for Robert de Knolles for assumption of royal power and homicides....
? An order to retain Edward DALYNGRUGGE for not appearing to join Robert going overseas (the same mentioned at the sale of Knelle manor. Obviously he had obtained his riches from following Sir Robert Knolles overseas and later built with that money Bodiam Castle).)
? and dozens of pardons received for his men who had commited murders abroad.
? an order to him and the sheriffs of the South Coast to arrest all men-at-arms, amed men, archers and others to go beyond sea.
? receipt of jewels as pledge for sums advanced etc.
Between 1370 and 1378 survive various grants of properties and land to Robert and Constance in consideration of military service and for purchases of manors.
There is a list of manors granted by the king which covers half a page.
? 1380 - 1394 covers the period when Robert and Constance dedicate themselves to good works.
? In 1385 they found a college of 7 chaplains in a messuage of theirs in Pontefract, called Knolles College and Almshouse for 15 aged people.(Dugdale)
? In 1389 they grant messuages and land in Pontefract as well as land in Darrington to the warden and chaplains of the college called ?Knollesalmhouse?
? 1394 is the year when John de Cobham and Robert Knolles rebuild a bridge in stone over the Medway near Rochester at their own cost and afterwards request a proposal to dividing up maintenance between the towns, vills and other places that used to maintain the old bridge.
? In 1397 Robert grants all his possessions in London to the master and chaplain of his hospital in Pontefract.
Born in Cheshire?
Survey of London: Seething Lane:
In 1370 Thomas de Brandon, mercer sells to Sir Robert Knollys, Kt., and Constance his wife, and at the same time John Mychel, chaplain, and John Frankelyn, woolman, quitclaim to Knollys, in regard to the same property, in which they apparently had an interest acquired from Richard Vincent, rector of St. Benet Sherehog. In the same year there is enrolled a grant from the King's exchequer to "Robert de Knolles, now in the King's service beyond seas, and Constance his wife, that they may have and hold a messuage in the parish of Allhallows Barkyngechirche, sometime of Thomas de Branton [recte Brandon] lately acquired by them."
In 1379 Knollys bought a property on the other side (the east) of Seething Lane, and in 1381 we find the following recorded in the Guildhall: "To all persons who these present letters shall see or hear, the Mayor Aldermen and Commonalty of the City of London Greeting, know ye that we have granted unto Messire Robert Knolles Knight, our dear and well beloved fellow citizen, and to Constance his wife, leave to make a Haut-pas of the height of 14 feet extending from the house of the said Robert and Constance his wife on the west side thereof to another house to them belonging on the east side thereof, beyond the lane of Syvendenlane in the parish of All Hallows Berkyngechirche, near the Tower of London, rendering yearly to the Chamberlain of the Guild Hall of the said City for the time being one red rose at the feast of St. John the Baptist."
Sir Robert Knollys, the captor of du Guesclin and otherwise famous for his prowess, died in 1407, and is remembered in All Hallows as the donor of a great silver chalice and vestments of red cloth of gold to the church. He left his Seething Lane property to the college and hospital he had founded at Pontefract, Yorks.
On the Normandy coast Sir Robert Knollys led a large company of English and Navarrene troops who pillaged, marauded and captured towns and castles with no opposition. Sir Robert Knollys had done this for a long time, acquiring about 100 crowns. He had many mercenaries in his troops, so well-paid they were eager to follow him. The charred gables which marked Robert Knollys' passage through France were called "Knollys' Mitres".
Sir Robert Knolles rose from the lower ranks of society to become a prominent captain and a very rich man. He may have been descended from one Stephen de Knolle who held land in Sussex in 1212 of the Honour of the Earl of Eu.
Sir Robert Knollys, a person of humble origin who after the Battle of Poitiers had established the supremacy of the English in France. He greatly enriched himself by incursions where he was known as 'The devil for fighting' (le véritable demon de la Guerre).
During the Hundred Years War he was judged "?the most able and skilful man-at-arms in all the companies." He had risen from the ranks in the Breton wars and fought in the Thirty years war, gaining knighthood along the way. The French recorded him as Sir Robert Canole (and Cannolles), who "grievously harmed France all the days of his life". There is a place called Cahagnolles 15 km south of Bayeux which may or may not be connected. In 1422 Henry IV gave to Richard Sturgeon, royal clerk, a manor with appurtenances situated near the church of St. Peter, in the town of Caen, which were of Robert de Cahaignolles, once burgess of that vill.
According to "The White Company" and "The Dictionary of Chivalry" by Grand Uden, Sir Robert began his mercenary life within the English White Company led by Nigel Loring and Sir John Harwood. Sir Robert and Sir Hugh later left the ranks to raid the marches of Navarre.
Barbara Tuchman wrote in her book "A Distant Mirror":
The object of Sir Robert Knollys' savage raid through northern France in 1370 was to do as much injury as possible in order to damage the French war effort and hold back French forces from Aquitaine. And: Edward Plantagenet "The Black Prince" (d. 1376) appointed him Captain of Knights and Squires of his personal household. In 1371 he received a letter summoning him and his companions to homage. Sir Robert Conolle, Quenolle, had given to Richard Norhenton, herald of the Earl of Hertford, the parish of Maiet during the ransom of that town and parish until Lady Day.
In 1371 Robert and his companions had to swear an oath when he made an indenture to the king for 4000 soldiers to go to France. When Richard II came to the throne in 1377, Sir Robert was made governor of the castle of Brest. Three years later he had to fight in France again. This is from Capgrave's Chronicle of England: "In 1380 Thomas Woodstock, Earl of Buckingham, Hugo Caverle, Robert Knollis, Thomas Percy, William Windsor, knts, embarked for France to help John Montfort, Duke of Brittany. But they were received by French galleys so that they had to return to Calais from where they set out to destroy whatever came their way in France." In 1381, following the Peasants Revolt, he was one of the four persons in London who received full powers to investigate the insurgents and punish the guilty.
In his later years, Sir Robert spent much of his wealth on charity work, including building a "goodly fair bridge" over the River Medway at Rochester and a hospital in Rome for English travellers and religious pilgrims. Already on 29 Nov. 1356 he had donated to the Chapel of St. Stephen a black alb (noted in the exchequer).
He endowed a church at Pontefract with the booty ransacked in France and John Stowe related in his "Survey of London":
"Then was the White Friar's church called 'Fratres Beate Mariae de Monte Carmeli'. Sir Robert Knollys was a great builder there also in the reign of Richard the Second and of Henry IV. He deceased at his manor of Scone Thorpe (Scunthorpe) in 1407 and was brought to London and honourably buried by the Lady Constance, his wife, on Aug 15 in the bodie of the said White Friar's church which he had newly builded." Another source says that he was buried with military honours.
Constance Beverley b: in Of Pontefract
- Thomas Knollys
- Type: Book
Periodical: A Topographical Dictionary of England
Page: Age at death only
- Type: Book
Periodical: A Topographical Dictionary of England
- Type: Book
Periodical: Antient Funeral Monuments, of Great-Britain, Ireland, and the Islands ...
Author: John Weever
- Text: North Mynms - A Short History of the Knolles and Frowick Families
researched and compiled by Rosie Bevan
On Brookmans PArk Newlsetter