Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Killigrew, Henry (d.1603)

KILLIGREW, Sir HENRY (d. 1603), diplomatist and ambassador, was the fourth son of John Killigrew of Arwenack, of an old Cornish family, by Elizabeth, second daughter of James Trewenard of Trewenard (pedigree in Vivian's Visitations of Cornwall, p. 268). He was probably educated at Cambridge, but there is no definite information on the point. On 18 Feb. 1552-3 he was returned member of parliament for Launceston (Members of the Parliament of England, pt. i. p. 378). He assisted Sir Peter Carew [q. v.] in escaping to the continent in January 1553-4, and during the remainder of Mary's reign appears to have been in exile. He was at Paris in July 1556, when he was described by the English authorities as a rebel (Cal. State Papers, For. Ser. 1553-8, p. 238). Sir James Melville states that 'Harry Killygrew, an Englis gentilman, my auld friend,' held his horse while he got his wound dressed after his escape from St. Quentin (Memoirs, p. 35). Killigrew was recalled to England on the accession of Elizabeth, and she employed him on various diplomatic missions, including one to Germany in connection with negotiations for a defensive league. In July 1559 he went for a short time to assist Throckmorton in France. In June 1566 he was sent on a mission from Elizabeth to the Queen of Scots, for the 'declaration of sundry things necessary to be reformed between them for the preservation of their amity' (Instructions to Henry Killigrew, Cal. State Papers, Scott. Ser. i. 235). He returned in the following July, and after the murder of Darnley was again sent to Scotland with a special message to the Queen of Scots, which he delivered to her 'in a dark chamber' (ib. p. 243). On 20 April 1572 he was elected M.P. for Truro. In September 1572 he was again sent to Scotland, in connection with the negotiations for the surrender of the Queen of Scots to the protestant lords. They came to nothing, but Killigrew ultimately succeeded in persuading Elizabeth to send an English force to assist in the siege of the castle of Edinburgh He remained in Scotland till the castle fell, and in numerous letters to Burghley minutely described the siege, and the negotiations connected with its surrender (ib. Scott. Ser. and For. Ser.) Subsequently he was employed in similar diplomatic missions in Scotland, Germany, France, and the Low Countries. While in attendance on the Earl of Essex in France he was knighted on 22 Nov. 1591. He died in the spring of 1602-3, his will being proved on 16 April.

Lloyd eulogises Killigrew in his 'Worthies' for his learning and his artistic accomplishments. He states that, while a good musician, he was specially skilled as a painter, being 'a Dürer for proportion; a Goltzius for a bold touch, variety of posture, a curious and true shadow; an Angelo for his happy fancy, and an Holbein for oyl works,' but no authenticated work of his brush is known. Killigrew gave 140l. to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, for the purchase of St. Nicholas Hostel, the materials of which were applied to the construction of the lodge for Dr. Laurence Chaderton [q. v.], the first master. His London residence was in Lothbury.

On 4 Nov. 1566 Killigrew married in the church of St. Peter-le-Poor, London, Catherine, fourth daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke [see Killigrew, Catherine]. She died in 1583, and on 7 Nov. 1590 he was married in the same church to Jaél de Peigne, a Frenchwoman. She was naturalised in June 1601 (ib. Dom. Ser. 1601-3, p. 50), and on 19 April 1617 she married George Downham [q. v.], bishop of Derry (Boase, Collect. Cornubiensia, p. 454). By his first wife Killigrew had four daughters: Anne, married first to Sir Henry Neville, and secondly to George Carleton [q. v.], bishop of Chichester; Elizabeth, married first to Sir Jonathan Trelawny, knt., secondly to Sir Thomas Reynell, knt., and thirdly to Sir Thomas Lower, knt.; Mary, to Sir Reginald Mohun; and Dorothy, to Sir Edwin Seymour. By his second wife he had a daughter, Jane, and two sons, Joseph and Henry, the former of whom, only ten years of age at his father's death, succeeded to the estates.

[A Remembrance of Henry Kyllegrew's Journyes in her Majesty's service, and by commandment from Lorde Treasurer, from the last yeare of Queene Marye, is printed in Leonard Howard's Collection of Letters, pp. 184-8, from the British Museum Lansd. MS. 106. There are numerous diplomatic letters by him in the British Museum, the Record Office, and elsewhere, the majority of which have now been calendared in the State Papers series. For the facts of his life see Vivian's Visitations of Cornwall, 1887, pp. 268-9; Boase's Bibliotheca Cornubiensia and Collectanea Cornubiensia; Parochial History of Cornwall, i. 397-400; Wootton's Baronetage; Peck's Desiderata; David Lloyd's Worthies; Sir James Melville's Memoirs; Cooper's Athenæ Cantabr. ii. 345-9, 553.]

T. F. H.