Great Knollys St.
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.