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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Knight family come from? What is the English Knight family crest and coat of arms? When did the Knight family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Knight family history?

The ancient name of Knight finds its origins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from a name for a knight, who was usually a feudal tenant deriving its origin from the Old English word cniht, which means knight. The word cniht also means servant and common soldier. Knighthood was established as a military profession by the 10th century. With the Norman Conquest and the resultant changes in the social order, knighthood became an established feudal rank, directly under that of a Baron. It was associated with the holding of land, but was not hereditary. Because land was hereditary and knighthood was not, there grew up a body of landless knights, who often banded together into military orders, such as the Knights Templar, and the Knights Hospitalers. As time went by, cavalry decreased in importance in warfare and the excesses of the Knights Templar brought the institution of knighthood into disrepute. The Knights Templar were suppressed by Pope Clement V in 1312. By the 16th century knighthood became a civil distinction.


Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Knight family name include Knight, Knights and others.

First found in Suffolk where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knight research. Another 153 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1613, 1683, 1660, 1619, 1691, 1660, 1673, 1718 and 1686 are included under the topic Early Knight History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 147 words(10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Knight Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Knight surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Knight Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Walter Knight, who landed in Nantasket, Massachusetts in 1622
  • John Knight settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Richard Knight settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Mordecay Knight, who arrived in Virginia in 1624-1625
  • Robert Knight settled in Boston in 1630

Knight Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Henry Knight, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
  • Frances Knight, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Joseph Knight, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • Jung Peter Knight, aged 31, landed in Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Jacob Knight, aged 36, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1740

Knight Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Andrew Knight, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811
  • Daniel Knight, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811
  • David Knight, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1811
  • Abraham Knight, aged 25, landed in New York in 1812
  • James Knight, who landed in New York in 1827


  • Philip Knight (b. 1938), American businessman, co-founder of Nike
  • Charles Knight (1874-1953), American artist, known for his paintings and sculptures of animals
  • Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839-1924), American artist
  • Charles Landon Knight (1867-1933), American lawyer, newspaper publisher and politician
  • Wayne Knight (b. 1955), American actor
  • First Lieutenant Jack L Knight (1917-1945), United States Army officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • First Lieutenant Raymond Larry Knight (1922-1945), United States Army Air Force officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
  • Ted Knight (1923-1986), American actor best known for playing the comedic role of Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Gladys Maria Knight (b. 1944), American R&B/soul singer-songwriter, actress, businesswoman, humanitarian, and author best known for her group Gladys Knight & the Pips
  • George Wilson Knight (1897-1985), English writer and critic



  • A Genealogy of Some Early Missouri Settlers by Donald Jack Knight.
  • Kennard, King, Knight, Hardin, Goodin by Alta Kennard Patterrson.

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  1. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  3. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  4. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  6. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  10. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  11. ...

The Knight Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Knight Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 16 June 2014 at 11:43.

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