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Our 2,743 members have registered
2,395 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

I began researching my Nevitt line in 1986. I have traced back to my 5xGreat grandfather John Nevett, who married Elizabeth Fretter in Northamptonshire in 1761. I soon became interested in all occurences of the Nevitt and Knyvett surnames.

The first Nevitt/Knevett study group meeting was in 1993. In 1994 the surnames were registered with the Guild Of One Name Studies. Our journal The Nevitt/Knevett Historian first appeared in 1996.

Variant names

The usual variants of the surname are-

Name origin

It is generally accepted that the Knyvett surname and variants originated from a Norman pronounciation of knight,owing to the French difficulty of sounding the 'h' in cniht.

Some early references are- Nicholas cnivet 1087-97, William Osbert Knivet 1199.

Historical occurrences of the name

Many Knyvett's have been prominent. The following have probably been the most well known.

Sir John Knyvett, Lord Chancellor of England under Edward III.

Sir Thomas Knyvett a westminster magistrate, who led the search in the vaults of the houses of parliament, and arrested Guy Fawkes who planned to blow up King James I, and parliament on November 5, 1605. Known as the 'Gunpowder Plot'.

Name frequency

In the 1881 census Knevett and variants are recorded 141 times.

Distribution of the name

The Knyvett family can be traced back to Southwick in Northamptonshire from 1194-1442 when they held the manor. Some twenty years after the sale of the manor the main seat of the Knyvett's was Buckenham castle and Ashwellthorpe in Norfolk. A branch of the family settled in Suffolk. Early records show the family in London and the home counties.


Some of the data held are-

Entries from the 1881 census for England and Wales.

General Register Office- Births 1837-42, marriages 1837-1900, Deaths 1837-1920.

Family trees, The Mormons IGI Index. Various histories of the family.


We have a Knevitt and variants DNA project with FAMILY TREE DNA.