Henry St John, 1st Viscount St John

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Arms of St John: Argent, on a chief gules two mullets or
File:Angelica Pelissary.jpg
Angelica Wharton, née Pelissary, Henry St John's second wife

Henry St John, 1st Viscount St John (baptized 17 October 1652 – died 8 April 1742), of Lydiard Tregoze, Wiltshire; Battersea, Surrey; and Berkeley Street, Westminster, Middlesex, was an English politician. In 1685 he was pardoned for a murder.

Early life and education

St John was born in 1652, first son of Sir Walter St John, 3rd Baronet and his wife Johanna.[1]

He was educated at Eton College and at Cambridge University where he attended Caius College in 1668-69 and graduated M.A. at St John's College in 1669. He was awarded a later degree as D.C.L. at Oxford University in 1702.[1]

Political career

He was a Member (MP) of the Parliament of England for Wootton Bassett October 1679–March 1681, 1685–87, 1689–95 and 1698–1700 and for Wiltshire 1695–98. He also served as a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) from 1683 and Justice of the Peace (JP) from 1685 for the county of Wiltshire[1]

Murder case

In November 1684 he was the principal figure in a singularly disgraceful brawl, which followed the acquittal of Edward Nosworthy. The trial's jury repaired to the Globe tavern in Fleet Street to celebrate. While there, an altercation broke out between St John and Francis Stonehouse, the argument reportedly "a discourse about leaping horses" which terminated in the death of the jury foreman, Sir William Estcourt. St. John and Edmund Webb, who had both run Estcourt through with their swords,[2] were found guilty of murder, and condemned to death. St. John’s mother obtained a pardon for him at the reported price of £16,000. St. John was expected to go abroad for some time, but publicly entered the next parliamentary election at Wootton Bassett a few weeks after the close of his case, and was duly elected to James II’s first Parliament.[3]

Family, peerage and death

St John was twice married:

  • 1st, on 11 December 1673, Lady Mary Rich (died 30 September 1678), daughter and coheir of Robert Rich, 3rd Earl of Warwick, by whom he had one son, Henry, later made Viscount Bolingbroke in 1712.
  • 2nd, on 1 January 1687, Angelica Magdalena (died 5 August 1736), daughter of Claude Pellissary, treasurer-general of the galleys to Louis XIV, and widow of Philip Wharton of Edlington, Yorkshire, by whom he had three sons (two of whom died in their father's lifetime) and one daughter.[1]

St John succeeded his father as 4th Baronet on the latter's death in 1708, then on 2 July 1716 he was created a peer as 1st Viscount St John, elevating him to the House of Lords.

Viscount St John died in April 1742, aged 89, and was buried at St Mary's Church, Battersea.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1690-1715/member/st-john-henry-i-1652-1742
  2. [1] History of Parliament article on Estcourt.
  3. [2] History of Parliament Online article on St John(Volume for 1660-1690).