Head of House: Miss M Sladden
The Knowlton estate is recorded in the Domesday Book, during which time it belonged to Bishop Odo of Bayeux, the half-brother of William the Conqueror. During the Elizabethan and Stuart period, the Knowlton estate was inherited in 1544 by John Peyton, MP. He was succeeded in turn in 1611 by his only son Samuel, who became a baronet.
During the late 17th century, Knowlton Court was home to the Royalist lieutenant-general Sir Thomas Peyton, 2nd Baronet, born in 1613. He was MP for Sandwich from 1640 to 1644, removed from Parliament after a spell in prison in 1643 and charged with, among other things, being a "malignant". After heading a failed Royalist rising in Kent in May 1648, Sir Thomas was taken prisoner near Bury St Edmunds and committed to the Tower – and Knowlton Court was ransacked. He regained his status after the Restoration and became an MP in the Cavalier Parliament from 1661 to 1679, representing Kent. Sir Thomas, his wives, and Knowlton Court are mentioned in the published love letters of Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple, 1st Baronet (1652 to 1654).
Today, Knowlton Court is privately owned but the main house is hired out for weddings and other events. The estate includes a number of other buildings including the Grade II listed Elizabethan dower house and a gatehouse designed by Edwin Landseer Lutyens in 1912.