Knight, Samuel (1675-1746) (DNB00)

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KNIGHT, SAMUEL, D.D. (1675–1746), biographer, born in 1675 in London (where his father was free of the Mercers' Company), received his education at St. Paul's School, where he was elected Paulian exhibitioner in 1696, and proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge. He graduated B.A. in 1702 and M.A. in 1706. After taking holy orders he became chaplain to Edward, earl of Orford, who presented him to the vicarage of Chippenham, Cambridgeshire, and also to the rectory of Burrough Green in the same county (3 Nov. 1707). Afterwards he was collated by Bishop Moore to the seventh prebendal stall in the church of Ely, 8 June 1714, and was presented by him to the rectory of Bluntisham, Huntingdonshire, 22 June 1717. He became a fellow and one of the founders of the Society of Antiquaries in 1717, and he was also a member of the Gentlemen's Society at Spalding. In 1717 he was created D.D. at Cambridge. In 1727 he erected in Northwold Church, Norfolk, a monument to the memory of Dr. Robert Burhill [q. v.], a great antagonist of the Roman catholics (Addit. MS. 5847, pp. 147, 148). He was appointed chaplain to George II in February 1730–1. On 5 March 1734–5 he was collated by Bishop Sherlock to the archdeaconry of Berkshire; and in 1742 he was installed in the prebend of Leighton Ecclesia in the church of Lincoln. He died on 10 Dec. 1746, and was buried in the chancel of Bluntisham Church, where a monument of white marble was erected to his memory, with a Latin inscription composed by his friend Edmund Castle, dean of Hereford. According to William Cole (MS. xxx. f. 118) Knight was a very black and thin man, and had much the look of a Frenchman. The same authority says that he had been brought up a dissenter, which may account for his strong protestant bias.

He married in 1717 Hannah, daughter of Talbot Pepys, esq., of Impington, Cambridgeshire. She died on 14 April 1719, soon after the birth of their only child Samuel, who became a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and who, with the ample fortune bequeathed to him by his father, purchased the manor of Milton, near Cambridge.

In addition to some single sermons he published: 1. ‘The Life of Dr. John Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, … and Founder of St. Paul's School: with an Appendix containing some account of the more eminent scholars of that foundation, and several original papers relating to the said Life,’ London, 1724, 8vo, dedicated to Spencer Compton, speaker of the House of Commons. Knight's draft of this work, which is largely founded on the collections of White Kennett [q. v.], is now in the Cambridge University Library. There is an index in the ‘Life of Erasmus.’ A second edition appeared in 1823. 2. ‘The Life of Erasmus, more particularly that part of it which he spent in England; wherein an account is given of his learned friends, and the State of Religion and Learning at that time in both our Universities. With an Appendix containing several original papers,’ Cambridge, 1726, 8vo, dedicated to Sir Spencer Compton. Both biographies are illustrated with portraits and other fine engravings by Vertue, and were published in German translations by Theodore Arnold at Leipzig in 1735 and 1736 respectively. Manuscript lives by Knight of Symon Patrick, bishop of Ely, and of John Strype, are in the University Library, Cambridge. His collections for the lives of Bishops Grossetete and Overall seem to be lost (Peck, Desiderata Curiosa, Pref. p. v).

[Addit. MSS. 5853 (index), 5874 f. 23, 32556 f. 116, 32699 f. 343, 32700 f. 72; Archæologia, vol. i. Introd. p. xxxvi; Bentham's Ely, i. 263; Blomefield's Norfolk, ii. 218; Charity Reports, xxxi. 131; Cooke's Preacher's Assistant, ii. 204; Dibdin's Library Companion, ii. 117; Faulkner's Fulham, p. 42; Gent. Mag. vol. lx. pt. i. pp. 85, 177; Reliquiæ Hearnianæ, ii. 647; Jortin's Life of Erasmus, pp. 530, 587, 617; Nichols's Lit. Anecd. vii. 218, x. 610, and Illustrations, ii. 414 (containing a contemptuous account of Knight by Warburton); Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, Pref. pp. xiv, xvii, 232; Secretan's Life of Nelson; Stacy's Norfolk, ii. 692; Sale Cat. of Dawson Turner's Library, p. 114; Ward's Hist. of Gresham College, p. i; Warton's Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, p. 184; Wilford's Memorials, p. 407.]

T. C.