Project ID964
DescriptionTranscription of the Knight Family Archives Phase 1
TopicSocial history
TypeU3A-led research (SLP)
U3AMinehead U3A
Organization/partnerExmoor National Park Authority (ENPA)
Year started2019
Source of reference
In 2016, a wealth of documents, which included letters, accounts and legal papers, was given into the care of the Exmoor National Park Authority (ENPA). Most of these documents have been scanned and the originals are now stored at the Somerset Heritage Centre.  Scans of the papers were undertaken prior to storage. These have been made available to members of the U3A research team. The Head of Conservation at the ENPA, Rob Wilson-North has written an outline biography of John Knight and this is also available to assist in the transcription of some of the letters. In addition, one U3A member is tackling the substantial multi page 'Exmoor Extract' which is a summary document from actual account books of expenditure 1819 to 1820.
The project is part of a greater study on the history of the Knight family and their proposed reclamation of the former Exmoor Royal forest and the transformation of this desolate landscape into a vast agricultural enterprise. John Knight purchased the Forest in 1820. Letters have been transcribed on to agreed, standard forms, which have been uploaded on to a database at the ENPA. These documents will form the basis of a more in depth study into the history of Exmoor in the Nineteenth century.
There are hundreds of documents waiting to be transcribed and to date over eighty letters have been completed.  It was felt that in order to comply with the definition of a 'Shared learning Project', the work should be divided into distinct 'phases'. Phase 1 represents the transcription of correspondence from 1840 to 1888 (part A) and of the Exmoor Abstract 1819 - 20 (part B). 
This duration of this phase was nine months and was somewhat curtailed by the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. It is hoped that Phase 2 will be commenced in the autumn of this year, 2020.