The estate was acquired by Richard Knight (1659–1749) a wealthy ironmaster of Madeley, Shropshire, and in due course passed to his grandson Richard Payne Knight, who created the new house in a Gothic revival style. Knight, an enthusiast of the ‘picturesque’ style, commissioned landscape artist, Thomas Hearne to produce several drawings of the grounds.
The original south-facing entrance front has a central square tower, six bays to the left terminating in an octagonal tower and five bays to the right flanked by a square tower, the whole resembling a medieval castle with embattled parapets.
In 1824 Charlotte Knight, daughter and heir to the estate, married Sir William Rouse-Boughton of Downton Hall, Stanton Lacy, Shropshire, (about 6 miles to the NE of Downton Castle) the 10th of the Boughton Baronets. She bequeathed the estate to their second son Andrew, who in 1857 changed his name to Rouse-Boughton-Knight. He was High Sheriff of Herefordshire in 1860 and at that time began improvements and extensions to the house which included a new entrance and porch, a north west tower, and a chapel. Terraced gardens were created in 1865 by WA Nestfield. In 1881 the family were resident with a retinue of twelve servants.
Charles Andrew Rouse-Boughton-Knight died at the house in 1947.
- Heritage Gateway: architectural description of listed building
- V&A: The River Teme at Downton, Herefordshire
- Public Records Office. 1881 Census ref RG11/2613/40/7
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