Oliver St John, 5th Baron St John of Bletso

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Oliver St John, 5th Baron St John of Bletso KB (1603 – 23 October 1642) was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1624 to 1629 and in the House of Lords from 1639. He died fighting in the Parliamentary army in the English Civil War.


St John was the son of Oliver St John, 1st Earl of Bolingbroke and his wife Elizabeth Paulet, daughter of William Paulet.[1][2] He was admitted at Queens' College, Cambridge on 3 November 1615 and awarded MA in 1620.[3] After his father's elevation to the earldom of Bolingbroke he was known by the courtesy title Lord St. John.[1]

In 1624 St John was elected Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire[4] (being incorrectly listed as "Baron St John of Bletsho"). At the coronation of Charles I he was made Knight of the Bath (KB). He was re-re-elected MP for Bedfordshire in 1625 and 1626.[4] He was admitted at Lincoln's Inn on 9 August 1627. In 1628, he was re-elected MP for Bedfordshire and sat until 1629 when King Charles decided to rule without parliament for eleven years.[4] He acted with the popular party all the time he was in the House of Commons. In 1628 he visited Sir John Eliot in the Tower of London. According to Clarendon, he "got himself well beloved by the reputation of courtesy and civility which he expressed towards all men," but had licentious habits, and had to seek licence to travel abroad under an assumed name because of his financial embarrassments.[1]

On 3 November 1639 St John was summoned to the House of Lords by writ of acceleration as Baron St John of Bletso as his father had been granted an Earldom in 1620. This was said to have been on the strength of a promise to support the king. However he always voted with the popular party, and when the Civil War broke out, he raised a regiment for Parliament, in which Oliver Cromwell's eldest son, Oliver, served as cornet.[1] Early in October 1642 he occupied Hereford on behalf of Parliament, fortified the town, and refused admittance to King Charles when he appeared the on 8 October. He then joined the army of the Earl of Essex. He died of wounds after the Battle of Edgehill on 23 October 1642.[3]


St John married Arabella Egerton, daughter of John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater, but had no male heirs. The titles of his father passed to his nephew.[1] He had four daughters:

  • 1. Frances St John married Sir William Beecher of Howberry.[5]
  • 2. Elizabeth St John married George Bennett of Cotsback
  • 3. Arabella St John married Sir Edward Wyse of Sydenham
  • 4. Dorothy St John married Francis Charlton of Apley Castle, Shropshire.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"St. John, Oliver (1580?-1646)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. ^ John Burke A General and heraldic dictionary of the peerage and baronetage of Great Britain, Volume 2
  3. ^ a b "St John, Oliver (ST615O2)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  4. ^ a b c Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 ... London. pp. 229–239. 
  5. ^ History of Parliament Online - Beecher, William
  6. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland (1847) under Charlton of Apley Castle
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir Beauchamp St John
Sir Oliver Luke
Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire
With: Sir Oliver Luke
Succeeded by
Parliament suspended until 1640