KNIGHT, Robert (1702-72), of Barrells, Warws. and Luxborough, Essex.
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Family and Education
b. 17 Dec. 1702, 1st s. of Robert Knight of Barrells by Martha, da. of Jeremiah Powell of Edenhope, Salop.1 educ. I. Temple 1719. m. (1) 10 June 1727, Henrietta (d. 26 Mar. 1756), da. of Henry St. John, 1st Visct. St. John, 1s. d.v.p. 1da.; (2) 18 June 1756, Mary, wid. of Sir John Le Quesne, alderman of London, s.p. suc. fa. 1744; cr. Baron Luxborough [I] 8 Aug. 1745; Earl of Catherlough [I] 14 May 1763; K.B. 18 May 1770.
Recorder, Grimsby 1761.
Knight was the son of the South Sea Company’s cashier, who fled to France in 1721 and became a banker in Paris. In 1727 he married Bolingbroke’s half-sister, from whom he separated in 1736 on finding her in bed with her doctor.2 Returned in 1734 for Great Grimsby, he was one of several new Whig Members who voted against the Government on the Address, 29 Jan. 1735, but subsequently returned to his allegiance, speaking against Sir John Barnard’s scheme for the conversion of the national debt in 1737 and for the convention with Spain in 1739.3 After Walpole’s fall he procured a pardon for his exiled father, on the ground that the ex-cashier had been sufficiently punished by the forfeiture of all his available assets in England, amounting to over £200,000.4 Continuing to support the Government, he spoke in favour of sending for the Hessians during the rebellion of 1745 and for the Hanoverian troops in 1746,5 when he was created an Irish peer. In 1747 he was returned for Castle Rising by the 2nd Earl of Orford, to whom he was said to have also owed his Irish peerage, their link, according to Orford’s brother, Horace Walpole, being the manager of the actresses whom they were respectively keeping.6 He died 30 Mar. 1772.