Henry Knight 1805-1903

Sue Allden writes of her great-grandfather—written in 2000

Henry Knight was born on 27th November 1805 at Hearn Farm into a family which had been farmers for three generations in Headley.

In 1815, as a boy of 10, he stood in front of The Royal Anchor at Liphook and watched French prisoners of war being marched up from Portsmouth to London after the Battle of Waterloo.

Fifteen years later, in 1830, he was sworn in as a special constable to help the Parish constable quell the rioters who had attacked Headley Workhouse (now Headley Grange), and his truncheon still exists.

Henry Knight's truncheon
Top end of the painted wooden truncheon—the insignia is of George III  then dead some ten years.
The letters (T0 ’ are part of the word ALTON

In 1833 he married Jane, daughter of Robert Parker of Wishanger, and they moved to Arford. They lived in what is now called the Corner House. He became a builder, but continued as a farmer. One granary still exists behind the house and another stood in front. He built houses and cottages, and also acquired old cottages. By 1901, he owned 40 properties in Arford.

He had a son and three daughters—and Ellen, one of the daughters, married James Allden of Aldershot who was my grandfather.

On Ascension Day 1836 when Henry was in the congregation, All Saints church caught fire, started according to one story by a little girl called Louisa playing with matches in the churchyard. Henry Knight organised a chain of men to pass buckets of water from the Rectory pond to where he was, up on the church roof—but the fire took hold, and the spire was destroyed.

Henry Knight was both an Overseer of the poor and a Churchwarden.

Even on his 94th birthday he was riding to hounds, on a grey mare by the name of Polly—his favourite hunter—and being presented with the fox's mask to mark the occasion. He died on 4th January 1903, in his 99th year, and is buried in All Saints churchyard.