Captain William Brodnax Knight

William Brodnax Knight was born in London on 3 Feb 1838. He was the son of Edward Knight and Mary Dorothes Knatchbull. His grandfather, also called Edward Knight, was the brother of Jane Austen. Edward the elder was Jane's third eldest brother, born as Edward Austen. He was adopted by Thomas Knight (originally called Thomas Brodnax) a rich relative and eventually inherited Thomas's properties, including Godmersham Manor in Kent and Chawton Hall, Hants. Godmersham was said to be the inspiration for Mansfield Park, and the library was used extensively by Jane. One of the stipulations of the will was that Edward should change his name to Knight which he did in 1812. His children were also required to be named Knight. Edward Knight the younger was married twice, having 7 children by his first wife, Mary, and 9 children by Adela. They were all called Knight, and William, the 7th and youngest child of the first marriage, was the only one with Brodnax in the name.

He served in the Queen's Bays during the Indian Mutiny. The photo was taken in 1864 in which year he may have transferred from the 84th Foot. He is wearing the fur trimmed hussar-style patrol jacket that was a distinction of the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen's Bays) in that period. His dark blue trousers and forage cap are gold laced. He died in Winchester on 4 Nov 1896. He is buried in St Nicholas Churchyard, Chawton, Hampshire.

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by Stephen Luscombe