The village is part of the ecclesiastical parish of Glounthaune which came into existence in the late eighteen hundreds, being an amalgamation of the ancient parishes of Kilquane, Ballylucra, Killaspugmillane or Ballyvinney, and Caherlag. A church council held in the twelfth century formed these parishes. The parish of Kilquane stretched from Glenmore Bridge to the centre of Watergrasshill village and was centred on the church in what is now Kilquane Cemetery. Saint Cuan founded Kilquane, which means Cuane Church, as tradition has it, and there are many other Kilquanes spread throughout Munster. He was possibly a passing missionary like St. Patrick who brought the faith to the area. Hence the parish and holy well was called after him. The name Knockraha, which means "The Hill of the Forts" was a collection of forts, which stood on top of what we now know as Carthy's Hill between Knockraha East and Knockraha West. The village of Knockraha was then known as Gogginstown. Gogginstown village then became known as Knockraha. In 1640 James Barry held the title of "Chief of Knockraha". It is recorded that O'Neill's forces burnt Knockraha and surrounding villages in reprisal for Lord Barrymore's failure to support him against the British forces in Kinsale.
The church of Kilquane was in ruins when Bishop Dives Downs visited it in 1700. Most of the existing townlands such as Kilquane, Coolerisk, Ballinagoul, Ballynanleagh and Monaneigue were there when the Downs Survey was made in 1650. But there was a townland called Colnagh which covered the area of Killeena, Aghaduff and Pigeon Hill. Knockraha townland covered Gogginstown, Knockraha East, Knockraha West, Ballylohane and Meellen. These are relatively new names. The first reference to education in Knockraha comes from the report of the Commissioners of Irish Education 1826 which states that a thatched, badly accommodated cabin was the schoolhouse. It was situated where Christy Conroy now lives. The master was Edward Campion whose pay was £18 per year. There were 145 pupils on the roll - 97 boys and 48 girls. In the first census carried out in 1841, of the Knockraha area from Glenmore Bridge North there was population of 1,680. In 1851 it was down to 1,082. In 1861 it was 802 and in 1871 it fell to783. In thirty years the population decreased by 54%. 0f 909 males in the parish 285 could read and write, 122 could read only and 386 could neither read nor write. There was three gentleman's residences and 39 stone and slated houses, 142 mud walled houses with more than one room and 90 one roomed mud thatched houses.
The church in Knockraha was built around 1799 and was completed and consecrated in 1803 . A new two-roomed school was built on Hogan's land in 1887. The first roll books were kept in 1889. Tom Barry who was from the Montonette area was master from 1880 until 1920. His wife, who was from Carrigtwohill, also taught in Knockraha as did his daughters. Michael Daly from Dunmanway succeeded him in 1920. He married Nora Fleming from Castlemartyr, who was teaching in Knockraha. They retired in 1955. Dan Casey, from Ballyvoumey, was headmaster until 1973 when Mrs. Lynch from Kilcrohane succeeded him. She retired in 1975 and Bernard Lahive from Aghada succeeded her . The old school was closed in 1968, when a new three-roomed building was erected. Two further rooms were added in 1991. Prior to this some students had to be accommodated in a pre-fab in the corner of the schoolyard, and at one stage the hall in Knockraha was used to accommodate the pupils.