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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
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.
The surname Knight was first found in Suffolk where one of the first records of the name was John le Cnitht who was listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. The same rolls also lists: Gilbert le Knyt in Cambridgeshire; Roger le Knith in Oxfordshire; and Ellis le Knyght in Wiltshire. The surname was "well distributed over England south of a line drawn from the Humber to the Dee. In the northern part of England it is singularly rare. Sussex stands foremost for the number of its Knights, and after it come, in their order, Hants, Leicestershire and Rutland, and Gloucestershire. In Norfolk and Suffolk we have the form of Knights."  The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list: Johannes Knyght; Willelmus Kneyte; Thomas Knycht: and Willelmus Knygth.  Some of the family were found in Scotland in early times. Robert dictus Knycht was burgess of Abirbrothoc and had a charter of a piece of land in Aberbrothoc in 1331. In 1435, John Knycht was canon of Brechin and rector of Funewyn (Finhaven.) He is probably the John Knycht who appears on an inquest on the lands of Tulloch in 1438.  More recently some of the family held estates at Aston-Sub-Edge in Gloucestershire. "Norton-Burnt House, so called from the greater portion of it having been destroyed by fire while the seat of Sir William Knight, Bart., is the property of the Earl of Harrowby." 
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.
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 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 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 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
Knight Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
- Jane Knight, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
- Mr. Knight John U.E. born in Abington, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA from Abington, Pennsylvania, USA who settled in Beaver Harbour, Pennfield, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada c. 1783 listed as signing the Quaker Loyalist Agreement
- Mr. Knight Joshua U.E. (b. 1731) born in Abington, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA from Abington, Pennsylvania, USA who settled in Beaver Harbour, Pennfield, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada c. 1783 listed as signing the Quaker Loyalist Agreement, leader of the Quakers from Abington married to Sarah Tyson having 10 children, he died in 1801
- Mr. Knight Joshua Jr., U.E. born in Abington, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA from Abington, Pennsylvania, USA who settled in Beaver Harbour, Pennfield, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada c. 1783 listed as signing the Quaker Loyalist Agreement
- Mrs. Knight Sarah U.E. born in Abington, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA from Abington, Pennsylvania, USA who settled in Beaver Harbour, Pennfield, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada c. 1783 listed as signing the Quaker Loyalist Agreement
Knight Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
- John Knight, English convict from Dorset, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
- William Knight, English convict from Cornwall, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
- Margaret Knight, Scottish convict from Aberdeen, who was transported aboard the "Amphitrite" on August 21, 1833, settling in New South Wales, Australia
- John Knight arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838
- James Knight arrived in Glenelg Roads aboard the ship "Pestonjee Bomanjee" in 1838
Knight Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
- Samuel M Knight landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1840
- Charles Knight landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
- James Knight landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Duke of Roxburgh
- William Knight, aged 39, a miner, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" in 1840
- Mary Ann Knight, aged 36, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" in 1840
- Miss Elaine Harwood Knight (d. 1915), American 1st Class Passenger from Baltimore, Maryland, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
- Mr. Charles Harwood Knight (d. 1915), American 1st Class Passenger from Baltimore, Maryland, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
- 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
- Ted Knight (1923-1986), American actor best known for playing the comedic role of Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
- Wayne Knight (b. 1955), American actor
- Charles Landon Knight (1867-1933), American lawyer, newspaper publisher and politician
- Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839-1924), American artist
- Charles Knight (1874-1953), American artist, known for his paintings and sculptures of animals
- Philip Knight (b. 1938), American businessman, co-founder of Nike
- First Lieutenant Raymond Larry Knight (1922-1945), United States Army Air Force officer awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945
- A Genealogy of Some Early Missouri Settlers by Donald Jack Knight.
- Kennard, King, Knight, Hardin, Goodin by Alta Kennard Patterrson.
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
- Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
- Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
- Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
- Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
- Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
- Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
- Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
- Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
- Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
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 4 May 2016 at 05:22.
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