KNIGHTON, William.Dublin 1824? — Tileworth, St. Leonards on Sea, Sussex 31.3.1900. British (Irish) Journalist in Sri Lanka. Son of Richard Kn., educated in Glasgow. Arrived at Ceylon in 1843 when 19. For a short time worked as the headmaster of Norman Seminary in Colombo, then as coffee planter near Kandy, but soon as journalist in the Ceylon Herald in Colombo. When the paper ceased in 1846, he went to Calcutta and became Lecturer in History and Logic at Hindu College, but also continued as journalist. After a visit to England he joined I.C.S. and became Assistant Collector of Faizabad in 1859-69, then returned to England. Living in London he concentrated on literary work. Married 1850 J. Mackay, one son and one daughter, and 1884 Charlotte Drake.
Publications: “On the Ruins of Anuradhapura”, JASB 16, 1847, 213-225; “On the Rock Temples of Dambool, Ceylon”, ibid. 340-350. 1 pl.; one article in JRAS-CB 1.
– The History of Ceylon: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time. 12+399 p. L. 1845.
– Forest Life in Ceylon. 1-2. L. 1854.
– The Private Life of an Eastern King. 8+330 p. L. 1855 (on Oudh).
– Tropical Sketches or Reminiscences of an Indian Journalist. 1-2. 10+323+349 p. L. 1855.
– A novel and a book about European Turkey, and other works.
Sources: J.R.T., Journal of the Dutch Burgher Union of Ceylon 26, 1937, 139-132; Harris 2006, 77ff.; S. B. Smith, Introduction to the new ed. of the Private Life as Nawab Nasr-ud-din Haider of Oudh. N.D. n.d. (with birth wrongly put 10 years later); not in D.I.B.