Knebworth House is a country house in the civil parish of Knebworth in Hertfordshire, England, that has been the home of the Lytton family since 1490. Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the Victorian author, dramatist and statesman and friend of Charles Dickens lived here. Dickens visited Bulwer-Lytton at Knebworth House and is noted for a visit in 1850 when he managed a series of amateur theatricals.


1850 Amateur Theatricals.

Three nights were devoted to the amateur theatricals-the first to the tenantry and the friends of the respected baronet, and the remaining two to the nobility and gentry connected with the county, nearly 200 visitors being invited to each dramatic representation. A temporary stage and its applidrices was erected in the spacious banquetting hall, having in front tiers of seats arranged for the spectators.

On the first night Ben Jonson’s play Every Man in his Humour was performed, followed by the farce Animal Magnetism. On the subsequent two last nights Every Man in his Humour was performed, followed by the farce Turning the Tables.


The cast of Every Man in his Humour at Knebworth was:

  • Knowell (an old gentleman) … Delme Radcliffe. Frederick Peter Delme-Radcliffe (1804-1875).
  • Edward Knowell (his son) … Henry Hawkins. Henry Hawkins, 1st Baron Brampton (1817 – 1907), was an English judge born in nearby Hitchin. He served as a Judge of the High Court of Justice between 1876 and 1898.
  • Braithworm (the father’s man) … Mark Lemon.
  • Geo. Downright (a plain squire) … Frank Stone.
  • Wellbred (his half-brother) … Hy. Hale.
  • Kitely (a merchant) … John Forster.
  • Captain Bobadil (a Paul’s man) …  Charles Dickens.
  • Master Stephen (a country gull) … Douglas Jerrold.
  • Master Mathew (a town gull) … John Leech.
  • Thos. Cash (Kitely’s cashier) … Frederick Dickens.
  • Oliver Cobb (a water-bearer) … Augustus Egg.
  • Justice Clement (an old merry magistrate) … Eliot Yorke. Eliot Yorke (1805 – 1885) was elected as one of three representatives for Cambridgeshire in the 1835 general election, a seat he held until 1865.
  • Roger Formal (his clerk) … Mr. Phantom.
  • Dame Kitely (Kitely’s wife) … Anne Romer.
  • Mistress Bridget (his sister) … Mliss Hogarth.
  • Tim Cob’s wife … Mrs. Mark Lemon.