John Knight 1600-1680

John Knight was born in Warwick in 1600 and was admitted to Caius college in 1619. In 1625 he was ordained by the Bishop of Peterborough as deacon and as priest after
taking his degree, and received his M.A. in 1626.

He served most of his military career as a naval surgeon. Pepys met Knight and his wife at a dinner in 1662 where he has written in his diary ‘We were pretty merry’.

The surgeons started to receive a higher and respectable form of professional recognition as in 1664 John Knight was made Surgeon General of all the forces in England and Wales. John Knight was a supporter of the royalist cause and was a contemporary of Richard Wiseman.

He followed Prince Charles to Europe during the time of the royalist exile and returned with Charles II in 1660. He was favoured by the king simply because of his loyalty towards the crown.

In the seventeenth century, a change of attitude took place, which was to change the nature of thought towards medicine. This was in part because of the reformation; the influence of the Catholic Church had collapsed in Britain and elsewhere. Previously, Galileo pronounced that science is measurement. With scientific discoveries by the likes of the well respected Isaac Newton (1643-1727) and others, the investigation into medical property’s of substances speeded up and did not stir up a panic by the clergy on the opposition to God’s will.273

Morel introduced the tourniquet into common use in 1674; the screw tourniquet was introduced in 1718 by Petit.
This change of attitude towards scientific and medical research became known as the enlightenment.

John Knight died in 1680 and was buried at St Brides Church in Fleet Street, London.

John Knight was also associated with the Hunstation lighthouse, and was a close friend of Samuel Pepys. He was granted the first patent for the lighthouse.62



Ken True History of Surgery and Anaesthesia