William Killigrew (Chamberlain of the Exchequer)

Sir William Killigrew (died 1622) of Hanworth, Middlesex, was a courtier to Queen Elizabeth I and to her successor King James I, whom he served as Groom of the Privy Chamber.[1] He served as a member of parliament at various times between 1571 and 1614 and was Chamberlain of the Exchequer between 1605 and 1608. Several of his descendants were also royal courtiers and many were buried in Westminster Abbey.


Killigrew was the fifth son of John III Killigrew (d. 1567) of Arwenack, Cornwall, the first Governor of Pendennis Castle, situated on land within the Arwenack estate, appointed by King Henry VIII.[2] His mother was Elizabeth Trewinnard, 2nd daughter of James Trewennard of Trewennard,[3] in the parish of St Erth, Cornwall.[4] The monumental brass of John III Killigrew survives in St Budock's Church, near Arwenack.


Under Queen Elizabeth I

In 1571 he was elected Member of Parliament for Grantham in Lincolnshire and in 1572 he was elected MP for Helston in Cornwall. He became feodary and escheator for the Duchy of Cornwall and Constable of Launceston Castle in 1576 by which year he was Groom of the Privy Chamber to Queen Elizabeth I. In 1578 he was farmer of the profits from seals in the Court of Queen's Bench and the Court of Common Pleas. He was commissioner for musters for Cornwall by 1582 and was a Justice of the Peace for Cornwall from 1583 to 1587. In 1584 he was elected MP for the Killigrew pocket borough of Penryn. He was receiver for Devon and Cornwall by 1588 and was commissioner for goods from Madre de Dios in 1592. In 1593 he was elected MP for Fowey in Cornwall. He was commissioner acting treasurer of the chamber in 1595 and commissioner for goods from Cadiz in 1596. In 1597 he was elected MP for the prestigious county seat, Cornwall.

Under King James I

He was knighted in 1603 on the succession of King James I. In 1604 he became MP for Liskeard. From 1605 to 1608 he was Chamberlain of the Exchequer. In 1614 he was elected MP for Penryn again.[5]

Marriage and progeny

At some time about 1576 Killigrew married Margaret Saunders, daughter of Thomas Saunders of Uxbridge, Middlesex, and widow of Robert Woolman and of John Leigh. By his wife he had the following progeny:[6]


In 1594 he obtained an 80-year lease of the two adjoining royal manors of Kempton and Hanworth in Middlesex. In 1631 his son Sir Robert Killigrew (1580–1633) secured the reversion and in 1651 the latter's son Sir William Killigrew (1606–1695), "of Kempton Park", conveyed Kempton to John Warburton.[8]

Death and burial

Killigrew died in 1622 and was buried in St. Margaret's Church, Lothbury, in the City of London, near his brother Henry Killigrew.


  1. Vivian, 1887, p.268
  2. Dunkin, Edwin Hadlow Wise, The Monumental Brasses of Cornwall with Descriptive, Genealogical and Heraldic Notes, 1882, pp.36–7
  3. Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of Cornwall: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1530, 1573 & 1620; with additions by J.L. Vivian, Exeter, 1887 , p.268
  4. Tregellas, Walter Hawken (1831–1894), Cornish Worthies, 1884, Vol.2, pp. 115–195, The Killigrews: Diplomatists, Warriors, Courtiers and Poets, p.119
  5. History of Parliament Online – William Killigrew
  6. Vivian, 1887, p.270
  7. History of Parliament biography
  8. Victoria County History, Volume 3, 1962, Middlesex; Sunbury: Manors
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Roger Manners
William Cooke
Member of Parliament for Grantham
With: Arthur Hall
Succeeded by
John Vaughan
Arthur Hall
Preceded by
Sir Edward Bray
John Gayer
Member of Parliament for Helston
With: John Vyvyan
Succeeded by
Humphrey Prideaux
William Lewis
Preceded by
John Killigrew
Robert Peter
Member of Parliament for Penryn
With: John Killigrew
Succeeded by
John Killigrew
William Onslow
Preceded by
John Rashleigh
Member of Parliament for Fowey
With: Samuel Lennard
Succeeded by
John Rashleigh
Thomas Treffry
Preceded by
Peter Edgcumbe
William Bevil
Member of Parliament for Cornwall
With: Jonathan Trelawny
Succeeded by
Sir Walter Raleigh
John Arundell
Preceded by
Thomas Edmunds
Sampson Lennard
Member of Parliament for Liskeard
With: Reginald Nicholas
Succeeded by
Richard Connock
John Glanville
Preceded by
Sir William Maynard
Member of Parliament for Penryn
With: (Sir) Francis Crane
Succeeded by
(Sir) Francis Crane
Robert Jermyn
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