Lady Dorothea HAWKER 
- Born: 10 Feb 1780, Plymouth DEV
- Marriage (1): Sir William KNIGHTON 1st Bt  in 1800
- Died: 1862, Hampshire aged 82
Knighton was born in 1780, the youngest of five daughters of Dorothy (née Hill) and Captain James Hawker RN. She was baptised at the church of Charles the Martyr, Plymouth on 10 February 1780. She had three brothers, the youngest of which, Edward Hawker, became an admiral. The Knighton family was a well respected and connected family in Plymouth, where her father held property at Mount Gould and in Caskin Street with a lease on a timber yard at Britton Side. Her sister Sarah married into the Luscombe family and her other three sisters married officers in the Royal Navy.
She married William Knighton, then a physician, at the church of Charles the Martyr Plymouth on 4 August 1800. He was a man of humble background who would rise to become surgeon to King George IV, the Keeper of the Privy Purse and an executor of George IV's will. She who was "accomplished and well-educated", "had travelled in Europe without Knighton" and was described by her husband's friends as "a woman of intelligence and integrity."
In 1804 the Knightons moved to Edinburgh, where her husband pursued further medical studies at the University of Edinburgh. They lodged in Edinburgh with Mrs McGilvray. After her husband received a medical degree from the University of Aberdeen, the couple moved to London in 1806. There they leased 9 Hanover Square in 1807, which had previously been owned by Dr Robert Halifax, a physician to George, Prince of Wales.
Her husband accompanied Richard Wellesley as his personal physician to Spain in 1809 where Wellesley held the post of Spanish Ambassador. Wellesley later introduced William to the Royal Household and would become Foreign Secretary.
Although Knighton was initially reluctant for her husband to enter the Royal Household, she later persuaded her husband "that it would be improper for him to resign while he still held George's confidence".
The family acquired Sherwood Lodge, which was "a villa on the banks of the Thames at Battersea set in six acres of pleasure grounds." The house's grand interior was described in a sale catalogue when the Knightons sold it in 1820.
In 1812, her husband became a baronet and she became Lady Knighton.
In May 1820 her husband purchased Blendworth Cottage in Blendworth, Hampshire. Her sisters lived nearby. Her sister Jane had married Captain Sir Michael Seymour in 1798 and then lived at nearby Blendworth House.
When Knighton died in 1836, whe was in her fifties. Rather than entrust the task of writing the memoirs of her husband to another, she edited his journals, diaries and correspondence and wrote the Memoirs of Sir William Knighton.
Knighton died in 1862 at the age of 82 and was buried at Holy Trinity in Blendworth.
Knighton was a talented painter. She was encouraged by the artist James Northcote RA, another Plymouth-born artist. "She exhibited in early life considerable talent in the execution of works, representing the beauty of Devonshire scenery, and a ready hand for grouping figures in genre compositions. She was also successful in portraits as evidenced by a painting .. of Nickie Glubb, a famous pugilist, and leader in the boisterous struggles for supremacy between the Old Town Boys and Burton boys." In Old Plymouth there used to be a fight on the steps of the Guildhall to win a barrel of beer placed on the upper step. "Through the pluck and strength of Nicki Glubb, the Ajax of the quay" his side normally won, but one year an unfair fighter concealed a stone in his hand and destroyed Glubb's eyesight. She painted his marred features.
Dorothea married Sir William KNIGHTON 1st Bt  [MRIN: 7833] in 1800. (Sir William KNIGHTON 1st Bt  was born in 1776 in Bere Ferrers DEV, died on 11 Oct 1836 in London and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery MDX.)