Frederick St John (British Army officer)

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Frederick St John
Born 20 December 1765
Died 19 November 1844
Allegiance United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1779–1844
Rank General

Relations Frederick St John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke (father)
Arms of St John: Argent, on a chief gules two mullets or

The Hon. Frederick St John (20 December 1765 — 19 November 1844[1]) was an officer of the British Army and a politician.[2] He rose to the rank of general during his career and saw service during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and the Second Anglo-Maratha War. He also sat briefly for the constituency of Oxford.

Family and early life[edit]

Frederick St John was born the second son of Frederick St John, 2nd Viscount Bolingbroke and Lady Diana Beauclerk.[1] St John enlisted in the Army as an ensign in the 85th Regiment of Foot in 1779, at the age of 14.[3] He served in the Indies and the Channel Islands until 1783.[2] He was promoted to lieutenant in 1780, and then became a captain in the 95th Regiment of Foot in 1781. This was followed by a promotion to be major in the 104th Regiment of Foot in 1783. In parallel to his military career, he socialised in exclusive gentlemen's clubs: he joined Brooks's on 17 May 1783, and the Whig Club on 6 March 1787.[2] He continued to rise through the ranks, becoming a lieutenant-colonel in the 2nd Regiment of Foot in 1791, a colonel in 1795, and being promoted to major-general in 1798.

French Revolutionary Wars[edit]

St John served in Ireland in 1798 as the lieutenant of General Gerard Lake, and followed him to India when he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the colony.[2] In 1800, St John took passage with his wife, Arabella Craven, on the Queen, which caught fire and was destroyed while in harbour in Salvador.[4] St John and his wife then joined the East Indiaman Kent to complete the journey. On 7 October, Kent was captured by the French privateer Confiance, under Robert Surcouf. St John was taken prisoner and exchanged.[4]

St John went on to take part in the Battle of Delhi in 1803, and in the siege of Agra. He was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1805, and general in 1814.

Political career[edit]

St John was elected to Parliament in 1818 as member for Oxford and represented the constituency until his defeat at the 1820 general election two years later.[2]

Family and issue[edit]

St John married three times. His first wife was Lady Mary Kerr, the daughter of William Kerr, 5th Marquess of Lothian, whom he married on 8 December 1788.[1] They had one son:

  • Robert William St John (5 February 1791 – ?), consul-general at Algiers, married Eliza Maria Barker

Lady Mary died the day after her son's birth.[5]

On 6 April 1793, St John married Arabella Craven (died 9 June 1819), daughter of William Craven, 6th Baron Craven and Elizabeth Craven. They had five sons and four daughters:[5]

  • Rev. George William St John (4 May 1796 – ?), rector of Stanton Lacy, married Henrietta Frances Magrath in 1830
  • Maj. George Frederick Berkeley St John (2 October 1797 – ?), married Henrietta Louisa Jephson on 18 January 1836
  • Henry John St John (1798 – 7 August 1821)
  • Maria Arabella St John (25 July 1807 – ?), married Rev. Charles Goring, son of Sir Charles Foster Goring, 7th Baronet on 2 October 1832
  • Catherine Frederica Mary St John (October 1808 – 5 May 1809)
  • Charles William George St John (1809–1856)
  • Louisa Diana St John (24 December 1810 – ?), married Richard Vincent on 22 January 1846[6]
  • Keppel St John (26 February 1812 – 7 June 1813)
  • Elizabeth St John (11 July 1814 – 27 October 1846), married Rev. George Carter on 9 March 1841[6]

On 14 November 1821, he married Caroline Parsons. They had two sons together:[5]

  • Henry Edward St John (22 November 1823 – ?)
  • Welbore William Oliver St John (12 April 1825 – ?)

St John died on 19 November 1844 at the age of 78.[1] He was by then the second most senior general in the British Army.[2][3]


  1. ^ a b c d The Peerage
  2. ^ a b c d e f The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
  3. ^ a b Good Gentlewoman
  4. ^ a b Gentleman's Magazine, 8 October 1800; quoted in Laughton, p.438-439
  5. ^ a b c Debrett, John (1840). Debrett's Peerage of England, Scotland, and Ireland. p. 90. 
  6. ^ a b Lodge, Edmund (1848). The Peerage of the British Empire. pp. 66–67. 


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Atkyns-Wright
John Ingram Lockhart
Member of Parliament for Oxford
With: John Atkyns-Wright
Succeeded by
Charles Wetherell
John Ingram Lockhart