KNIGHT, Nathan (1643-94), of Ruscombe, Berks.

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



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

bap. 4 Jan. 1643, o.s. of Walter Knight, attorney, of Reading and Staple Inn by w. Naomi. educ. Univ. Coll. Oxf. 1659; L. Inn 1660, called 1667. m. lic. 28 Oct. 1667, Margaret (d.1705), da. and coh. of William Strode of Ruscombe, 3s. 3da. suc. fa. 1670.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Berks. 1673-80, 1689-90, Wilts. and Oxon. 1679-80; freeman, Reading 1679.2


Knight’s father was sworn one of the attorneys of the Reading court in 1629. Presumably a parliamentary supporter in the Civil War, he was given responsibility for keeping courts on sequestrated manors in Berkshire in 1651. Knight himself became a barrister, but he may not have taken his profession very seriously, for in the year of his call he married an heiress and went to live on her property at Ruscombe, five miles from Reading. He seems to have been under suspicion as early as 1668, when his arrest and solitary confinement were ordered, but the nature of the charge has not been ascertained. He received a grant of arms in 1670. He was returned with John Blagrave to the Exclusion Parliaments, and marked ‘honest’ on Shaftesbury’s list. But in 1679 he was appointed only to the elections committee and two others of no political significance, and he was absent from the division on the exclusion bill. Unopposed in the autumn election, he left no trace on the records of the second Exclusion Parliament, but was named to the elections committee and that to draw up the third exclusion bill in the Oxford Parliament. In after the Rye House Plot, Knight and Blagrave were among those ‘notoriously disaffected to the Government’, who attended a Whig meeting at a Reading tavern on the invitation of Lord Lovelace (Lord Lovelace). Presumably a Whig collaborator in 1688, he was nominated as court candidate for the borough with the support of the dissenters; but he did not go to the poll in 1689, and he was unsuccessful in the following year. His will, proved in June 1694, shows that he held lands in Oxfordshire, Hampshire and Dorset, as well as in Berkshire, but he was the only member of his line to sit in Parliament.3

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: Leonard Naylor / Geoffrey Jaggar


  • 1. Berks. RO, St. Lawrence, Reading, par. reg.; Lond. Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 804; Frag. Gen. viii. 94; PCC 129 Box.
  • 2. Berks. RO, Reading corp. diary, 4 Feb. 1679.
  • 3. Reading Bor. Recs. ii. 494; Cal. Comm. Comp. 480; VCH Berks. iii. 204; CSP Dom. 1667-8, p. 524; July-Sept. 1683, pp. 377, 389; Grantees of Arms (Harl. Soc. lxvi), 147; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, p. 292; Reading corp. diary, 19 Feb. 1690; PCC 129 Box.