RepositoryJesuits in Britain Archives
Ref NoABSI/SJ/56
TitleFr Peter Knott SJ (1926-2017)
LevelSub fonds
DescriptionThis collection includes Knott's army commission, war medals and baptism certificate as well as his sketchbooks, original watercolours and prints of his work. The collection falls under the standard 40 year closure period for deceased members of the British Province of the Society of Jesus. Access to Knott's sketchbooks and paintings is at the discretion of the Archivist.
Admin_HistoryPeter Henry Joseph Knott was born on 16 March 1926 in Seven Kings, Essex. He was educated at a local grammar school and joined the army as a seventeen year old in December 1943. Knott was commissioned into the Royal Artillery and saw active service in Germany, India, Pakistan, Malaya and Palestine. In the army, Knott served as a parachutist, pilot and, towards the end of his career, as a planner for airborne operations.

At the age of 34 he was received into the Church of England and was confirmed in Hereford Cathedral. After receiving instruction from an American Jesuit, Knott converted to Catholicism and was baptised while on an appointment in Norway in 1962. After twenty years in the army, the then Major Knott took early retirement in 1963.

Prior to joining the Society of Jesus he spent a year at Campion House, Osterley, the house for late vocations. At the age of 38 he joined the Society on 26 September 1964 entering the novitiate at Woodhall House in Edinburgh. Knott went on to study at Heythrop College in Oxfordshire and also undertook several courses run by a London business school. He was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest on 4 July 1970.

His first appointment was as chaplain at Heathrow Airport. Knott was one of the first on the scene at the 1972 Staines Air Disaster when a flight crashed soon after take-off. Between 1974 and 1977, he was Superior and Parish Priest at Corpus Christi, Boscombe. In 1977 he was appointed Parish Priest at Farm Street in London. After 8 years in this position, Knott moved on to become chaplain at Eton College. After 10 years at Eton, Knott moved on to the chaplaincy at St Antony's School in Leweston in Dorset. During this time, he was also chaplain at HMS Heron, a shore-based Royal Naval Air Station at Yeovilton.

His last major appointment was in 2001 as chaplain at Barlborough Hall School, the preparatory school to Mount St Mary's College. He remained in this post for 15 years until forced to give up active ministry on the grounds of ill-health. In the 1980s and 1990s, Knott wrote a number of books on spirituality, which were published by the Catholic Truth Society. In later years he contributed articles to 'Thinking Faith', the online journal of the Jesuits in Britain, and his weekly column of short reflections, entitled 'God Talk', was published on the website of the Jesuits in Britain. Knott was an accomplished pianist and painter - many of his watercolours were exhibited and auctioned to raise money to support various Jesuit ministries.

Peter Knott died on 18 January 2017 at the Jesuit nursing home in Boscombe. His Requiem Mass was held at Boscombe on 1 February 2017, followed by internment in Boscombe Cemetery.

A full obituary can be found in 'Letters & Notices' 103 (2017), pp. 93-102.
Related Material - Folder on Heathrow Airport, for a history of the chapel and several articles by Knott on his ministry, 1972-1973. See: 47/6/6/4.
- 4 black and white photographs, see SJ/PH/683. Together with a short typescript account of Knott's work at Heathrow Airport.
- Farm Street Appeal papers, for material relating to Knott's exhibitions at Farm Street and related correspondence, 1970s-1980s. See: PC/1/3/1.
- 'Some thoughts on Farm Street Church and community' compiled by Fr Peter Knott SJ. See Acc 2016/16
- 'Where I belong' by Peter Knott SJ in 'Call and Response: Jesuit journeys in Faith' edited by Frances Makower (1994), pp. 101-115.

Items in the pamphlet collection:
- Faith in Marriage, CTS (1986): ALBSI/P/880, #74
- Living in Reality, CTS (1993): ALBSI/P/881, #74
- Open to God, CTS (1983): ALBSI/P/882, #74
- Open to God: reflection on prayer, CTS (1989): ALBSI/P/883, #74
- Pursuit of Happiness, CTS (1994): ALBSI/P/884, #74
- Safe in God's Hands: healing the hurt of losing your baby, CTS (1989): ALBSI/P/885, #74
- Sex Before Marriage: why not?, CTS (1992): ALBSI/P/886, #74
- A Spirited Life, CTS (1994): ALBSI/P/887, #74
- A Spiritual Adventure With St. Francis Xavier, CTS (1986): ALBSI/P/888, #74
- What Should I Do? Follow the Maker's handbook, CTS (1993): ALBSI/P/889, #74
- Why Love our Neighbour? Reflections on our salvation, CTS (1991): ALBSI/P/890, #74
- Unity in Diversity: sermons given in the Church of the Jesuit Fathers, Farm Street, London, to mark the Church Unity Octave, 1978 by Peter Knott SJ, Edward Carpenter, DD, and Francis Laishley SJ, CTS [1978]: ALBSI/P/891, #74
Printed document
AccessConditions40 year closure rule for deceased members of the British Province of the Society of Jesus. Personal papers closed until 19/01/2057. Access to artwork is at the discretion of the Archivist.
PublnNote - Faith in Marriage, a special edition published privately by the St Nicholas Society (1991)
- A Spirited Life, a special edition published privately by the St Nicholas Society (1995)
- Living in Reality, a special edition published privately by the St Nicholas Society (1993)
- Pursuit of Happiness, a special edition published privately by the St Nicholas Society (1994)
- Open to God, a special edition published privately by The Parents of a Boy at Eton College (1990)
- Learning to Love, a special edition published privately by the St Nicholas Society (1992)
- Living in Grace, Catholic Truth Society [1991]
DS/UK/998Knott; Peter Henry Joseph (1926-2017); Jesuit Priest1926-2017

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