Select King Miscellany

Here are some King stories and accounts over the years:

Mayday Kings

A King and Queen were enthroned on Mayday and they would maintain their regal title through the year. Then there was the familiar 'King of Misrule,' whom every great nobleman possessed.  In the manor of Ashton-under-Lyne in Lancashire there was also Hobbe the king in 1422. 

Some early King surnames suggest that the King surname was initially a nickname.  In the Hundred Rolls of 1273 we find a William Littleking and a Roger Wyteking.  Every town and village had its festival and the 'King' was generally proud of his title.  So were his children.  Thus it became hereditary

Peter King of Exeter

His father Jerome was a Dissenting grocer in Exeter and it was said of Peter King:

“He was brought up among the Dissenters under a most religious, Christian and learned education.  With a genius superior to his birth, by his industry, prudence, learning, and virtue, he raised himself to the highest character and reputation and to the highest posts and dignities.”

Born around 1670, he was fortunate in that his mother’s first cousin was the philosopher John Locke.  Locke regarded King as his adopted son and heir and took a keen interest in his education and career development.  With Locke’s support, this young lawyer was able to secure a Parliamentary seat for himself in 1701.  Locke himself died three years later and King inherited half of his estate. 

His political career stalled for a while, although he was actively involved in all of the main issues of the day.  King was among those who officially welcomed George I on his entry into London in 1714 and he was appointed Chief Justice of the Common Pleas later that year.  He rose to be Lord Chancellor of England in 1725.

However, his latter years saw his reputation diminished.  He had the seals of office taken away from him even before his imbecility, occasioned by apoplectic fits, took hold.  He died in 1734, “little regretted by anybody."

King House in Roscommon

The family association with Boyle in Roscommon was due to John King, an English adventurer who had come to Ireland with Sir Richard Bingham, the royal-appointed Governor of Connacht.  In 1617 the Boyle estate, which ran over 4,000 acres, was granted to King as his reward for “reducing the Irish to obedience.”

One of his sons Edward drowned while on a boat sailing to Ireland in 1637 and was eulogized by his friend John Milton in the poem Lycidas. However, Sir John King had five other sons and thereafter successive generations of the family increased the holdings in Roscommon until the Kings had become the area’s most prominent landowner. 

King House itself dates from about 1730 and was built for Sir Henry King.  The Kings used their house for little more than half a century before it was damaged by fire in 1788.  By this date tastes had changed and it was considered more desirable to reside in the countryside.  The family moved to the nearby estate of Rockingham. 

King House was sold for £3,000 to the Government in 1795.  It was then converted into army barracks and during the 19th century was occupied by the Connaught Rangers.  Later the condition of the building deteriorated.  In 1987, however, King House was acquired by Roscommon County Council and a program of restoration work was begun

William King - from Dorset to Massachusetts

In the register of the Abbey church of St. Mary of Sherborne in Dorset, England, there were numerous entries under the King/Kinge family name.  One such entry for 1616 reads: "Williami Kinge et Dorothiae Hayne nupt." This is undoubtedly the marriage record of William King and Dorothy Hayne.  There were no records of them in Sherbourne after that time, so they must have moved elsewhere. 

By 1635 they had decided to leave for America, departing on the Abigail.  The family then included William Kinge aged 40, Dorothy his wife aged 34, and one son and four daughters. 

They settled initially in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  William King was made a Freeman of Salem in 1636 and his name appeared on the roll of members of the First Church of Salem in 1637.  It seems that he took an active part in the religious controversies of the time.  He identified himself with the Antinomians, a step which placed him under the ban of the Salem authorities. He was admonished to sever his connections with this sect, under penalty of being disarmed, and, by refusing to do so, he was directed to leave his gun with Lieutenant Danforth. 

In 1638 he received a grant for some 30 acres at the head of the Basse river where Beverly now stands.  He moved there and it was here that the King homestead was built.  It was to remain there until the early 1800’s when it was razed to make way for a state Asylum and School for the Deaf.

The Story of Michael King

Michael King was born in Norwich in 1630. At the age of 16 his mother sent him to the market for some purchases. While on the way he ran into the Army marching down the road in front of their home. He was so taken with the fife and drums martial music that he walked along with them forgetting about the errand he had been doing for his mother. He threw the reins of his pony over the gate post and off he went.

This "adventure" led him into Ireland and then across the seas to America.  He finally ended up in the James river valley in Virginia where he made his home. There he married Elizabeth Airy and fathered five sons and a daughter. He received land grants in Nanesmond county and established his plantation on Somerset Creek (his house there still stands today).

Michael Koenig and the Three Kings Farm

The Three Kings Farm was owned by the King family for nearly 100 years and by their extended family for almost 150 years. 

The history of the King family in Chester County started back in 1740 with a young emigrant named Michael Koenig.   Through inherited funds Michael was to lease or purchase over 460 acres in northern Chester County in areas later known as Charleston, Pikeland and Uwchlan townships, all within the vicinity of his Three Kings Farm. 

Michael and his wife Eva raised six children at the farm and they prospered.  In 1771 he donated the land and founded the Pikeland Lutheran Church, located then and now at the hilltop of Pikeland Road in West Pikeland. 

Michael was a noted patriot in the Revolutionary War. He died in 1790 and was buried in the graveyard of Pikeland Lutheran Church with other members of the extended King family.

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