At one time the Knowles (Nowles) family had been owners of property in Aldershot. That changed with the death in 1831 of John Knowles (of Thursley) whose will bequeathed his lands in Aldershot to his wife Mary. She then sold parts of the 30 acres known as Deadbrook to Thomas Harding and John Saunders (of Farnborough), a homestead called Skellings to Samuel Andrews (of Crondall) and other land to William Robinson. She later sold land to the butcher John Andrews and the remainder of Deadbrook to James Avenell (both of Farnham).
By 1853, there were several households of the Knowles family, all likely of a junior branch. None were property holders.
The most senior individual was William Knowles, an agricultural labourer on North Lane in a cottage then owned by the widow of Thomas Harding. William was aged 54. He and his wife Jane had raised seven children. In 1841, their household had included three daughters and a son. By 1851, all except Ann, a seamstress, had left home.
William’s eldest son Richard, aged 32, was also an agricultural labourer. He and his wife Caroline and family were in one of the three cottages owned by George Robinson, the son of William Robinson, in an area of Aldershot known as Fidlers Hill. Their neighbours were James Newell and William Robinson Junior.
In 1851 Richard’s family had been just across the county boundary in Shawfield Lane, Ash, the parish in which his wife had been born and baptised as Caroline West. Their three sons had also been baptised at St Peter’s in Ash, although Richard and Caroline had married in Aldershot, in 1845.
Before his marriage, Richard was an agricultural labourer in 1841, staying in one of the four cottages at The Moors up at Lynchford with two women named Mary Knowles: one was his grandmother, the other his aunt.
Thomas was the next eldest, now with a family of his own having married Ann Miles in October 1843. They were living in a cottage owned by Joseph Miles in the area known as Cawoods. Before that, in 1841, Thomas had been as a labourer living in the household of the late Thomas Harding, at Shearing Farm.
William, another son who was an agricultural labourer, had also set up home, staying at Beyleys in a cottage owned by the widowed Mrs Harding. He had married in March 1850 to Mary Hone, second cousin to Henry Hone, the blacksmith. His household in 1851 included his sister Sarah, recorded as 16 years old and a ‘scholar’, and his mother-in-law Sarah Hone, listed as a pauper.
- Sarah Hone’s maiden name had been Matthew.