Louisa Mary, Lady Knightley of Fawnsley, was a woman of unusually wide interests, especially in the field of public affairs. In an age when few opportunities arose for women to make a contribution to political and feminist matters, Lady Knightley was an early pioneer of both causes. Denied the vote as a woman, she was a leading advocate of the campaign for constitutional, non-militant action to achieve the franchise, a cause which she continued to espouse until her death in 1913.
Her later journals, written with warmth and humour, provide a fascinating picture of politics and society in England at a time of crucial change. Her journals provide many insights into rural politics following the Reform Acts of 1884 and 1885.
Peter Gordon is Emeritus Professor at the University of London Institute of Education. He is the author of many books on different aspects of nineteenth century British history, and has a particular interest in the history of Northamptonshire.