Henry St John, 1st Viscount St John

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arms of St John: Argent, on a chief gules two mullets or
Angelica Wharton, née Pelissary, Henry St John's second wife

Henry St John, 1st Viscount St John DL (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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

St John was twice married:

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 8 April 1742, aged 89, and was buried at St Mary's Church, Battersea.


  1. ^ a b c d "ST. JOHN, Henry I (1652-1742), of Lydiard Tregoze, Wilts.; Battersea, Surr.; and Berkeley Street, Westminster, Mdx. - History of Parliament Online". www.historyofparliamentonline.org.
  2. ^ [1][permanent dead link] History of Parliament article on Estcourt.
  3. ^ [2][permanent dead link] History of Parliament Online article on St John(Volume for 1660-1690).
Peerage of Great Britain
New creation Viscount St John
Succeeded by
Baronetage of England
Preceded by Baronet
(of Lydiard Tregoze)
Succeeded by