Great Knollys St.

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Great Knollys street is cited on several websites as being named after a family, with no information on the family beyond the name.   Snooping the net leads me to suspect it is the family that included Sir Robert Knollys,   born 1547 in Reading,   progeny of the Lord Mayor of London in 1409-1410.   Sir Robert  Knollys was variously an MP for Reading,   and keeper of Twickenham based  Syon House  for an  order fo Brigittine nuns (and monks – mixed orders).   Wikipedia ingenouosly describes him as ‘one of Henry VIII henchmen.   There is a quaint story stemming from Sir Robert Knollys’ time as lord Mayor of London that I stumbled across here:

The Knollys Rose Ceremony commemorates an ancient City custom dating from 1381. Sir Robert Knollys owned a house on the West Side of Seething Lane. During one of his absences abroad his wife is reputed to have purchased a property on the east side of Seething Lane and built a footbridge over the lane to the other side, without the equivalent of planning permission and resulted in the City Corporation of the day imposing a rent of one red rose, payable each year on the Feast of St John the Baptist.

There are some red roses blooming in the Wendy House garden. In Reading.

Robert Knollys’  son Francis Knollys is also a likely source for the street name.   Francis  was  a puritan protestant who was ‘granted the manor of Caversham’  .   The Wikipedia description is slightly less partisan than its description of his father.   Francis was a friend  of Henry VIII.   Francis was also a  close confident of Elizabeth I throughout her life.   He is cited on web site as being given the title  “Treasurer of the Royal Bedchamber .   He was also  long-time warden of Mary Queen of Scotts during her detention.      Francis frequently resided in the disolved Reading Abbey where he would entertain Queen Elizabeth I.  

My emerging picture of Reading’s character is growing to be pro-Royalty,   pro-protestantism with lashings of pre-christianity,   and welcoming of  female roles extending beyond those stereotyped  as wives and potential wives.

 I like Reading.

Edited after Mrs. P.s comment to systematically add an s to the end of evey use of the word Knolly,   and move around a few apostrophes just for fun.
Great Knollys St.
rate wendys scribble

3 bits of lovely banter on “Great Knollys St.”

  1. Mrs Pouncer writes:

    It’s actually Great KnollyS Street (with an S). Reading people always pronounce this as “Nolleeze”, whereas it should be “Nolls”. I was at school with several of the Knollys family. They were very strict about pronunciation. Best wishes, Mrs P



  2. Amy kimber writes:

    We – Thimbleby & Shorland – always call it ‘Nolleeze’, I’ve not heard of the Nolls pronounceation before – I like it!

    T& have been holding auctions in Reading for over 100 years now – mostly in the cattle market on GKS…just part of the weird and wonderful life of Reading 🙂



  3. Tony writes:

    Thanks for this thought on the origin of the name of Gt. Knollys Street. I spent my first 18 months of life at no. 118, where my parents rented one of two upstairs rooms from a gentleman named Jack Potter. It was just after the war and there wasn’t much money. Reading’s a great old town. Sad to say, I live in Dubai now and don’t get back nearly often enough. The job market has taken me to some faraway places.
    Thank you Wendy



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