Manuscripts and Special Collections

Biography of Robert Pierrepont, 1st Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull (1584-1643)

The son and heir of Sir Henry Pierrepont of Holme Pierrepont, Nottinghamshire, and his wife Frances, daughter of Sir William Cavendish of Chatsworth, Derbyshire, Robert entered Oriel College, Oxford, in 1596, and was admitted to Gray's Inn in January 1599/1600.

He succeeded his father to estates mostly in south and west Nottinghamshire in 1616, and subsequently spent vast sums of money on purchasing further land, mostly in Nottinghamshire.

He was elected as M.P. for Nottinghamshire in 1601, aged 17, under the patronage of his uncle Gilbert Talbot, 7th Earl of Shrewsbury. In 1608 he sat as a J.P. for Nottinghamshire for the first time, and he served as High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire in 1615. On 29 June 1627 he was created Baron Pierrepont of Holme Pierrepont, and Viscount Newark. On 25 July 1628 he was created Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull.

All these honours were purchased. He was not a prominent Parliamentarian or local administrator, preferring to concentrate on the acquisition and maintenance of his estates.

Reluctant to take either side in the Civil War, in 1643 he eventually raised a regiment of foot on behalf of the King, and was appointed Lieutenant General of Royalist forces in Lincolnshire, Rutland, Huntingdon, Cambridge and Norfolk. He was taken prisoner at Gainsborough, and while on board a vessel bound for Hull was accidently shot and killed by Royalist fire on 25 July 1643. He was buried at Cuckney.


Portrait of the 1st Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull

Portrait of the 1st Earl, from Robert White, 'The Dukery records : being notes and memoranda illustrative of Nottinghamshire ancient history collected during many years' (Worksop: privately printed, 1904), p.169


He married Gertrude, daughter of the Hon. Henry Talbot, in January 1601/2 (who died 1649), and had:

  • Henry (1607-1680), later 2nd Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull and Marquess of Dorchester
  • William (c.1608-1678), M.P., of Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire, and Tong Castle, Shropshire
  • Francis
  • Gervase (1620-1679)
  • Robert
  • George
  • Frances
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth (1624-1696)

Archive Collections

  • Title deeds and estate papers relating to the Earl's ownership of his estates are held at The British Library (Egerton Charters 2301-8836; Egerton MSS 3516-3660)

Published Sources

  • P. R. Seddon, ‘Pierrepont, Robert, first earl of Kingston upon Hull (1584–1643)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [available online to subscribers,]
  • 'Pierrepont, Robert', in P.W. Hasler (ed), The History of Parliament: The House of Commons, 1558-1603 (London : Published for the History of Parliament Trust by H.M.S.O, 1981)


Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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