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Not Brentford

Knights Buildings and Knights Steps

Knights Steps ran south off the High Street down to the river Thames.

As at June 2023, there are no references to Knights Steps or Buildings, Brentford or Ealing, in the British Newspaper Archive.

Who was Knight?

The name of the steps and buildings suggests an owner called Knight. The wills index includes William Knight, Victualler and Coal Dealer of Old Brentford, whose will was proved 13 January 1832. Could this be the man who owned Knights Buildings?

There is circumstantial evidence that suggests this is the case. He lived in Old Brentford. His will was prepared on 20th September 1831 and he left his wife Charlotte his 'copyhold estate held of the Manor of Ealing situate on the south side of the street of Old Brentford ... consisting of seven newly erected messuages cottages or tenements now in the several tenures or occupation of:

  • John Dangerfield
  • Knapp
  • Wheatley
  • Hardrigg
  • William Rogers
  • Bond and
  • Peacock'
After Charlotte's death 'I give and devise the two cottages or tenements now in the occupation of Dangerfield and Peacock being the top houses unto ... my nephew William Knight ... the two remaining houses on the easternmost side unto ... my brother-in-law Edward Wood and my sister Frances his wife ... and ... unto my brother John all those four messuages cottages or tenements being the remaining westernmost ones.

The will was witnessed by John Burford, John Dangerfield and John Atkinson and probate granted to executors Charlotte Knight, relict and John Knight, brother, on 13 Jan 1832.

Frances Knight, sister of William, married Edward Wood at St Mary's, Battersea 11 October 1827. Both were single and they married by Licence.

Although the will refers to seven newly-erected properties, Knight bequeathed eight properties, but only seven occupiers were named.

The properties were in the area where Knight's Buildings were sited - the south side of the (High) street of Old Brentford - and the layout with two top houses, two on the eastern side and four on the western side is a good match to the layout of Knights Buildings on the tithe map. Here they were described as eight houses and yards owned by Parish Officers, Ealing. The top houses I think would be those on the High Street.

The 1836 Poor Rate includes a Mrs Knight, owner of three small properties and four small properties. She was recorded on the north side of the High Street, after the Fox and Hounds at 384 High Street, but it is possible she lived here and her two sets of small properties were Knight's Buildings, on the south side of High Street. In the tithe of 1840, John Burford, witness to the will, was recorded after the Fox and Hounds, so was a near neighbor to the Knights.

The Ealing tithe record , 13 Jun 1840, records eight houses and yards, plot 95, occupiers Charles Dear, Unoccupied, Robert Field, William Nokes, Thomas Kapp (Knapp), Michael Miland, Henry Jones and John Dear. One of these may be an occupant recorded in 1831: Knapp on 1831 could be the Thomas 'Kapp' of 1840.

In the census of June 1841 Knights Buildings are named and four occupants match those from 1840: Henry Jones, Robert Field, John Dear and Thomas Knapp. The latter was recorded at a High Street address immediately after Knights Buildings and may have lived in one of the two top houses. The other occupants in 1841 were Richard Armitage, Richard Mills, Joseph Emmerson and John Howell.

In 1851 eight occupants of Knights Buildings were recorded: Thomas Smith, Sarah Worden, Thomas Butcher, William Blea, John Taint, George Faulkner, Henry Cockman and Joseph Pilgrim. Ten years on no occupants from 1841 remained here.

More to follow regarding the location of Knights Steps.


Published October 2023