Charlotte Knight – Wikipedia

English horticulturalist

Charlotte Knight

Lady Boughton 1834.jpg

1834 engraving from the Court Magazine

Born 1801
Died 1843
Resting place St Peter’s Church, Rous Lench, Worcestershire
Citizenship British
Known for Bred the Waterloo cherry
Spouse(s) William Rouse-Boughton
Children 3 sons and 5 daughters
Awards Silver Medal of the Horticultural Society of London
Scientific career
Fields Horticulture

Charlotte Knight (c. 1801–1843), known after her marriage as Charlotte, Lady Rouse-Boughton, was an English horticulturalist who bred the Waterloo cherry[1] (also known as the early black cherry).[2]


Knight was the youngest daughter and heiress of botanist Thomas Andrew Knight, a member of a wealthy iron-founding dynasty founded by his grandfather Richard Knight of the Bringewood Ironworks in Shropshire. Her father was the heir of his brother the art connoisseur Payne Knight (d.1824), MP,[3] who rebuilt Downton Castle in Shropshire.

Aged just 16 in 1817, Knight was presented with the Silver Medal of the Horticultural Society of London (now the Royal Horticultural Society) in recognition of the quality of the Waterloo cherry. Her father, himself a noted botanist, had written in 1816 that the new variety “sprang from a seed of the Ambrée of Du Hamel and the pollen of the May-Duke”.[4] It was named after the Battle of Waterloo, which had taken place two years before in 1815, as it had fruited first at Elton Hall in Herefordshire a few days after Napoleon’s defeat at that battle.[5] It ripens early, in late June to early July.

Knight was mentioned in the Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London[2] which was published in 1818.It credited her for raising the early black cherry[2] otherwise known as the Waterloo cherry.

The writer and gardener Christopher Stocks notes in his book Forgotten Fruits (2008) that Charlotte Knight “deserves posthumous recognition” given how rare it was for women to generate new cultivars: “of all the hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables in this book, Waterloo is the only one not to have been created by a man”.[1]

Marriage and children[edit]

In 1824, Knight married Sir William Edward Rouse-Boughton, 2nd and 10th Baronet (1788–1856), a member of parliament for Evesham in Worcestershire, by whom she had three sons and five daughters, including:[6]

Death and burial[edit]

Knight was buried in the parish church of Rous Lench, Worcestershire.[1] A portrait of Lady Rouse-Boughton, painted by Henry Collen and engraved by John Cochran, was published in the Court Magazine in July 1834.[8] A copy is in the National Portrait Gallery, London[9] which also has two photographs of her daughter Catherine.[10]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Stocks, Christopher. Forgotten Fruits. ISBN 978-1-90-521180-7.
  2. ^ a b c Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London. The Society. 1820.
  3. ^ History of Parliament biography [1]
  4. ^ Thomas Andrew Knight, “Some account of three new cherries, the Elton, Black Eagle, and Waterloo” in Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London vol. 2 (1812–1817) pp. 208–211
  5. ^ See “Cherry Timeline” and “Cherry Varieties” in Cherry Ripe: a taste of Kent Archived 13 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ “ROUSE BOUGHTON, William Edward (1788-1856), of Rous Lench, nr. Alcester, Worcs. and Downton Hall, nr. Ludlow, Salop. – History of Parliament Online”.
  7. ^ Michael Clarke, Nicholas Penny, eds, The Arrogant Connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight, 1751–1824 (Manchester University Press, 1982) p. 18 Google Books
  8. ^ Genealogical memoir of Lady Boughton” in Court Magazine (December 1834) pp. 221–222 with illustration
  9. ^ Catalogue entry (National Portrait Gallery)
  10. ^ Listing (National Portrait Gallery)