The main family surnames on my mother’s paternal side are Knighton, Ledwich or Ledwidge and Torpey.
The first Knighton in our family to come out to Australia from England was James Knighton, my great great grandfather. There is a James Knighton, age 25, who arrived at Port Phillip bay from London on 9 July 1853 on the Sir Henry Hardinge. His birth date given as about 1828. His death certificate says he had been in the colonies for about 30 years. If this is accurate he would have immigrated about 1853.
He married Eliza Ledwich on March 1, 1864 in Scots’ Presbyterian Church Melbourne Victoria Australia.
James worked as a coachman in 1864 and his father James’ occupation is listed as groom. The Mary Ledwidge who witnessed the wedding was a sister of Eliza’s.
James Knighton died in November 1883 age 45.
At the time of his death he was living at Crown St Richmond and he died of renal cancer after a three month illness. His occupation was listed as manager. His father’s name was also James and his mother was Louisa. Her maiden name was not entered. The informant was James Beamish, his brother-in-law, who was living at Stanley St Richmond and married to his wife’s sister, Margaret Ledwidge. Two children are listed: William age 18 and James deceased.
On his death certificate it says he was born in Chelsea England whereas his marriage certificate has him being born in Jersey which is in the Channel Islands also part of England. I looked at all the census records for Jersey and no Knightons are listed at all. In the English mainland census records there are many Knightons. I think that his thick accent may have made Chelsea sound like Jersey. I have been unable to find any birth records for him with James and Louisa Knighton as parents.
James is buried with other family members in Boroondara Cemetery Kew Victoria.
Eliza Knighton nee Ledwich died in Dec 1911. Eliza Ledwich’s family history is described more fully in this post Ledwidge or Ledwich Family History.
The Knightons lived in the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond their whole lives.
James and Eliza Knighton nee Ledwidge had three children. William James, my great grandfather, was born in 1864, James Edward was born in 1866 but died aged 20 months. Richard was born in 1867 but there are no other records other than his birth registration so it is likely he died as a baby.
William James Knighton married Margaret (Maggie) Torpey in at St Ignatius’ Catholic Church 326 Church St Richmond Melbourne.
She died in after giving birth to their second child Mary. This post Torpey Family History has a lot more on the Torpey family.
In the census of 1909 for Victoria William was living with his mother Eliza at 8 Crown St Richmond. He worked as a labourer from 1909 to 1924. On his son James’ death certificate his occupation was given as coach builder. In 1914 he was still at 8 Crown St but from then on he was living at 4 Crown St Richmond. He died in 1925 aged 60 from cardiac failure. He is buried in Burwood Cemetery.
James, his son, was present when he died and was living at 160 Cowper St Footscray.
1912 Jim Knighton 6th from the right in the second back row. Brighton Football Team
Brighton Football Club Player Lists 1912 & 1913
James Knighton in football jumper. Unknown club.
James (Jim) my grandfather served in WW1 and had injuries to his knee and leg. He was injured fighting on the Somme in 1918. This injury continued to give him pain throughout his life. He worked as a tanner.
He enlisted on the 8th of May 1916 in Melbourne.
He was 5′ 9 3/4″ tall and weighed 162 lbs and was 22 years and two months old. His religion was listed as Catholic. He served in the 12th Army Field Artillery Brigade of the A.I.F. He was a gunner. He served on the Western Front in France and Belgium.
He embarked on the “Borda” from Melbourne on Oct 20 1916.
Embarkation Roll: Service number: 27845 Rank: Gunner Roll title: 24 HB [Howitzer Brigade] – 2 to 10 Reinforcements (May 1916 – February 1917) Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918 Date of embarkation: 20 October 1916 Place of embarkation: Melbourne Ship embarked on: HMAT Borda Ship number: A30
On the 28th Nov 1916 he broke ship and was AWL from 8 pm on that date until arrested by the guard. He was given 24 hrs detention.
9 Jan 1917 Arrived in Plymouth England
10 months in England?
23 Nov 1917 He left from Southampton for France.
24 Nov 1917 Marched in ex-England. Place: Rouelles France.
26 Nov 1917 Marched out to 12th (A) F A Bade Rouelles.
30 Nov 1917 12th Army Bde posted to B.A.C. Belgium (Flanders?)
7 Dec 1917 Belgium
19 April 1918 Drunk on the field on active service. Given 10 days ?
22 August 1918 Wounded in action France 12 Army Bde. at the second Battle of the Somme which commenced on August 21. The battle took place along the northern part of the river near Baupaume.
23 August in General Hospital Rouen France
25 August 1918 Transferred to England on “Panama”
28 August 1918 he was admitted to hospital in Cheltenham England for right knee and left thigh injuries.
20 Dec 1918 Back to Australia on the “Karoola”
29 Jan 1919 Disembarked Australia. He was medically discharged. His discharge papers state he is totally incapacitated.
In 1921 Jim Knighton married Grace Annie Frances Cook in Richmond Melbourne.
They had two children, Winifred and James. James died in hospital after birth.
The marriage foundered and James left and went and lived with a french woman, Juliette.
Jim Knighton’s sister Mary married Henry Edward Miller and they had four sons, Henry, Bruce, James and Edward.
James “Jim” Knighton died in 1945 aged 52.
James William Charles Knighton was the last son of this Knighton family descended from James and Louisa Knighton. He is buried in Burwood Cemetery Melbourne with his father and wife Grace Cook.
James Knighton and Grace Cook had two children. A boy died at birth. I was told “he didn’t come home from the hospital”. Winifred Helena Knighton their only daughter was born 14 Sept 1920.
4 thoughts on “Knighton Family History”
I was born in Grimsby, Ontario Canada 1953
My dad James( Jim) Knighton was born in Toronto, Ontario Canada January 9, 1921
His dad was also a James Knighton who was married to Effie (Cartwright) Knighton from England.
My dad’s siblings with boys but my dad who is now 94 doesn’t remember much.
All the best Sue Knighton
48 Valley Road, St. Catharines, Ontario Canada L2S1Y6
I wonder if we could be related? I don’t know much about my Knightons in England. I think they came from Chelsea but another document has Guernsey.
Do you know the origins of your Knighton ancestors? All the best Kathleen
My dad James Knighton DOB January 9 1921 married Avril Margaret Strubbe April 29 1923
Dads dad was also James Knighton – born in England
Dads mom was Effie Cartwright Knighton – born I England
That is all I have for now
My dad is James Knighton DOB January 21 1921 born in Toronto
His dad was also James Knighton born in England (unknown were at this time)
Dad’s mom was Effie Cartwright married to James Knighton both born in England.
This is all I have for now.