KNIGHTLEY, Valentine (1718-54), of Fawsley, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. 1 Sept. 1718, 1st surv. s. of Lucy Knightley of Fawsley by his 1st w. Jane Grey, da. and coh. of Henry Benson of Dodford, Northants. by Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Thomas Grey, Lord Grey of Groby. educ. ? Eton 1732; St. John’s, Oxf. 1735. m. 21 Dec. 1740, Elizabeth, da. of Edward Dummer of Swaythling, Hants, coh. of her bro. John Dummer, 6s. 3da. suc. fa. 1738.
Sheriff, Northants. 1743-4.
Of an old Northamptonshire family, who frequently represented the county and the town, Knightley was elected as knight of the shire in succession to Thomas Cartwright, after a hot contest, during which he issued a denial of charges of disaffection brought against him by his opponent, threatening legal proceedings.1 A year later the 2nd Lord Egmont in his electoral survey wrote of Knightley:
Reputed a Jacobite but a very gentlemanlike man and I believe not what he is supposed, I have met him often, and have so good an opinion of him as to think if he engages with us that he will not deceive us. Sir Cordell Firebrace has a friendship and influence with him, and I can depend upon him in the assurances he will give me. Knightley is of a very ancient family, and has a very good estate, £4,000 a year.
In 1753 Horace Walpole, after a visit to Northamptonshire, described Knightley as
entertaining all the parishes round with a turtle-feast, which, so far from succeeding, has almost made him suspected for a Jew, as the country parsons have not yet learned to wade into green fat.2
He was re-elected unopposed but died shortly after, 2 May 1754.