Fanny Knight, a niece of Jane Austen's. A water-colour by Cassandra Austen, Jane's sisterDuring the latter part of 1814 Jane’s niece Fanny Knight, the daughter of her brother Edward, wrote to Jane asking her advise as to whether she should marry J.P.P., who was described as  gentlemanly and wise; but also religious and too serious. Jane’s advise regarding his firm religious beliefs was  ”don’t be frightened by the idea of his acting more strictly up to the precepts of the New Testament than others” but she further counseled “ Anything is to be preferred or endured rather than marrying without Affection; and if his deficiencies of Manner &c &c strike you more than all his good qualities, if you continue to think strongly of them, give him up at once”.

Fanny decided against marrying J.P.P.

J.P.P. married Catherine Methuen in 1818 and in 1820 Fanny  married Sir Edward Knatchbull, a widower some years older than herself,  and they went on to have nine children. In 1833 J.P.P. was elected to Parliament as one of the two M.P.’s for Eastern Kent, the other M.P was Sir Edward Knatchbull!

The courtship of Fanny Knight and John Plumptre was the subject of a B.B.C. drama in 2008 Miss Austen Regrets  with Tom Hiddleston as Mr. John Plumptre and Imogen Poots as Fanny Knight.