KNIGHT, Ralph (c.1619-91), of Langold, Yorks. and Langwith, Notts.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. c.1619, o.s. of William Knight of Newbury, Berks. by Alice Worthington. m. (1) 23 June 1646, Faith (d. 18 Apr. 1671), da. and h. of William Dickinson, vicar of Rotherham, Yorks., 8s. (3 d.v.p.) 7da.; (2) lic. 17 May 1687, Elizabeth, wid. of John Rolleston of Sookholme, Notts., s.p. Kntd. May/June 1660.2

Offices Held

Maj. of ft. (parliamentary) 1643-5; capt. of horse 1645, maj. 1647, col. 1659-Dec. 1660; capt. indep. tp. 1667, lt.-col. Duke of Buckingham’s Ft. 1673-4.3

J.p. Yorks. (W. Riding) 1653-87, Notts. Mar. 1660-87, 1689-d., Westminster July 1660-87; commr. for militia, Notts. Mar. 1660, assessment (W. Riding) Aug. 1660-1, 1663-80, 1689-90, Northumb. Aug. 1660-1, Notts. Aug. 1660-3, 1664-9, 1677-80, sewers, Westminster Aug. 1660, recusants (W. Riding) 1675; dep. lt. Notts. ?1676-Feb. 1688, Oct. 1688-d., (W. Riding) 1677-?87, lt.-col. of militia ft. ?1679-87.4

Commr. for security [S] 1656.


Apart from the vague account of his parentage which Knight gave to the heralds in 1663, nothing is known of him before he was commissioned in the parliamentary army during the Civil War. He continued to serve throughout the Interregnum, and bought Langold in 1650. On the second expulsion of the Rump in 1659, George Monck sent Knight and John Cloberry to negotiate with the military regime. They were persuaded by Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper and Sir Arthur Hesilrige to advise the recall of the ump. Knight, described as a great friend of the Presbyterian Earl of Manchester, took part in Monck’s invasion of England, and was recommended by him to the electors of Morpeth. A moderately active Member of the Convention, he was appointed to 16 committees, acted as teller in five divisions and made nine recorded speeches. Although he stood to lose £900 p.a. in land and salary, he took the lead in restoring discipline and promoting the Restoration in the army. He was ordered to convey the House’s appreciation of the thanksgiving sermon preached by Monck’s chaplain on 10 May. He was given permission to attend the reception of the King on Blackheath on 28 May at the head of his regiment, which, to avoid accidents, he ordered not to shoot until the royal party had passed. On the following day he commanded the guard which gave Members passage from the House to Whitehall. He was knighted, and given a pension of £600 p.a. ‘for good service’ until lands of equivalent value should be settled on him.5

In the House, Knight sometimes acted as spokesman for Monck, though he was less prominent in this capacity than Thomas Clarges. He intervened several times in the debates on the indemnity bill in defence of his old comrades, even the most unpopular. He was teller for the motion to put the question on excepting Major-General William Boteler, pointed out that Major-General James Berry had no property to forfeit, and defended the conduct of General Charles Fleetwood. On 7 July he was appointed to the committee to consider the proviso about Colonel John Hutchinson. He opposed the