Chapter 1

The establishment of the Knight family in Herefordshire, 1698-1763.

      The early years of Richard Knight (1659-1745) – 1698, Richard Knight established his ironworks at Bringewood – the expansion of Richard Knight’s family and business – the Knight children marry – Knight joined the ‘Stour Partnership’. 1733, Richard Knight retired.  1745, Richard Knight, Ironmaster died, - the iron-master’s eldest son, Richard Knight, inherited.  1745, the Knight family – Thomas Knight purchased Wormsley Grange – the iron trade continued to prosper under Edward Knight and Abraham Spooner at Wolverley and Ralph Knight at Bringewood – Croft Castle purchased.  1746, Elizabeth married Thomas Johnes – Thomas Knight married Ursula Nash.  1751, Richard Payne Knight born at Wormsley.  1759, Thomas Andrew Knight born at Wormsley.

Chapter 2

Richard Payne Knight builds his house and reputation, 1764-1791.

    1764 and 1765 - Thomas Knight and Richard Knight die.  1766, the Knights of Wolverley – John Knight builds Lea Castle - Edward Knight became Payne Knight’s guardian and started his education – a friendship with Uvedale Price develops.  1772, Payne Knight’s coming of age celebrations in Ludlow – early thoughts on plans for his house - his first continental tour – fixing the plan.  1776, his second tour on the continent and Expedition into Sicily - return to Downton – Thomas Andrew’s education.  1780, entry into politics – Payne Knight established himself in Whitehall, London.  1791, Thomas Andrew marries.

Chapter 3

The Knight brothers in town and country, 1792-1805.

1793, Payne Knight and Uvedale Price went ‘doctoring’ – Thomas Andrew’s first child, Fanny, is born –  Payne Knight introduced Thomas Andrew to Sir Joseph Banks.  1794, Payne Knight commissioned his portrait by Thomas Lawrence – publication of The Landscape – Payne Knight under fire from the literary critics – Uvedale Price published his An Essay on the Picturesque … .  1796, publication of Payne Knight’s The Progress of Civil Society –   Payne Knight re-elected for Parliament.  1797, further literary attacks on Payne Knight – Thomas Andrew published Treatise on the Culture of the Apple and Pear – formation of the Herefordshire Agricultural Society.  1802, Payne Knight elected to the Committee of Taste – Lord Nelson’s visit to Downton – Thomas Andrew supplies sheep to the Emperor of Russia, Alexander I.  1803, Thomas Andrew’s introduction to Humphry Davy.  1805, Thomas Andrew is elected Fellow of the Royal Society - Payne Knight published … Principles of Taste – Payne Knight elected a governor of the British Institution.

Chapter 4

Changes in direction, 1806-1812.

1806, fire at Downton Castle, – Charles Fox died and Payne Knight wrote a monody on his life – Payne Knight resigned as M.P.  1807, disastrous fire at Hafod - Payne Knight wrote from Stonebrook Cottage – the start of the regeneration of Bringewood Forge – Forge Bridge constructed.  1808, Payne Knight moved to Soho Square and erected his iron and glass-roofed gallery – Thomas Andrew published the first part of Pomona Herefordiensis.  1809, Thomas Andrew moved into Downton Castle - Payne Knight produced Select Specimens of Antient Sculpture.  1810, Thomas Johnes returned to the rebuilt Hafod.  1811, Thomas Andrew elected to President of the Horticultural Society -  Payne Knight acquired three paintings by Richard Westall.

Chapter 5

Literary criticism and horticultural rewards, 1812-1824.

1812, Frances (Fanny) Knight, Thomas Andrew’s eldest daughter marries – Robert Haydon attacked Payne Knight in the Examiner.  1814, Horticultural Society Gold Medal awarded to Thomas Andrew.  1815, Payne Knight and the Waterloo Victory Medals - Elizabeth Knight awarded Horticultural Society’s Silver Medal.  1817, Fanny Knight awarded Horticultural Society’s Silver Medal -  Andrew Knight’s ‘coming of age’ celebrations at Downton.  1818, Charlotte Knight awarded Horticultural Society’s Silver Medal - John Knight bid for the ‘Wasteland’ on Exmoor - Payne Knight published An Inquiry into the Symbolical Language of Ancient Art and Mythology.  1819, Payne Knight became Vice President to the Society of Antiquaries.  1821, Andrew Knight and George Oxenden’s expedition to the Arctic - Thomas Andrew inspected the new site for the Horticultural Garden in Chiswick.  1823, Payne Knight published his poem Alfred, A Romance in Rhyme.  1824, Payne Knight died at his Soho house and buried at Wormsley - Thomas Andrew awarded the Horticultural Society’s Banksian Medal.

Chapter 6

Thomas Andrew Knight, fruit papers and corn politics, 1825-1838.

1825, Thomas Andrew appointed High Sheriff for Herefordshire.  1826, Thomas Andrew and a public row with Lechmere Charlton - Thomas Andrew made Freeman of Hereford.  1827, Andrew Knight killed in shooting accident.  1828, Elizabeth Knight married Francis Walpole.  1832, a Royal Visit to Downton - Thomas Andrew wrote to his tenants to explain the effects of his brother’s will on their future.  1834, Thomas Andrew wrote a political pamphlet Upon the Necessity of a Commutation of Tithes, and upon the means of rendering the soil of the British Islands capable of abundantly supporting twice the amount of their present population: Addressed to The Right Hon. Viscount Althorpe, Chancellor of the Exchequer.   1835, Thomas Stackhouse Acton died.  1838 – Thomas Andrew died.

Chapter 7

The Downton Castle Estate, 1839-1852.

1839, Downton Castle Estate adjusts to life without Thomas Andrew.  1840, the case of Knight V. Knight.  1841, Census – Frederick Knight elected M.P. for West Worcestershire – Jane Knight, née Winn, died in Rome.  1842, Charlotte, Lady Rouse Boughton died.  1843, plea for a monument to Thomas Andrew – a ‘gypsy’ party in Downton Gorge.  1844, celebrations for House of Lords judgment in favour of the Downton Castle inheritance.  1847, Frances Knight died.  1848, Downton Castle gardens reported as neglected.  1850, John Knight dies in Rome.  1851, building works at Downton.  1852, Anna Maria Fay visited Downton Castle – Downton Castle is let. 


I  Downton Castle

II  The Downton Walks.

III The Knight Family Genealogical Tables


  Thomas Andrew Knight Papers