ST. LOE, Sir John (1500/1-59), of Sutton Court, Bishops Sutton, Som. and Tormarton, Glos.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. 1500/1, 1st s. of Nicholas St. Loe of Sutton Court by Eleanor, da. of Sir Thomas Arundell of Lanherne, Cornw. m. by 1518, Margaret, da. of Sir William Kingston of the Blackfriars, London, and Elmore and Painswick, Glos., 2s. Edward and Sir William 1da. suc. fa. 1 Sept. 1508. Kntd. by Nov. 1528.3

Offices Held

Jt. (with Sir William Kingston) constable, Thornbury castle, Glos. 1528-40, sole 1540-d., j.p. Som. 1532-d., Glos. 1547; chief steward, Portbury, Som. 1533; marshal of the army [I] 1535-6; sheriff, Glos. 1536-7, Som. and Dorset 1551-2; commr. benevolence Som. 1544/45, musters 1546, chantries, Dorset, Som. 1548, relief, Glos., Som. 1550.4


Only seven years old at his father’s death, John St. Loe became the ward of Sir William Kingston, with whom he was to remain closely associated throughout his life and whose daughter he was to marry. It was presumably under Kingston’s wing that he gained the military experience which seems to have earned him his early knighthood.5

St. Loe was sent on active service to Ireland in 1534 and on the following 30 Apr. the King appointed him marshal of the rather unruly army there. He was recalled in 1536 and fought against the northern rebels. Thereafter he seems to have lived mainly on his Somerset estates, although he was present at court on ceremonial occasions such as the christening of Prince Edward and the reception of Anne of Cleves, and in 1544 he commanded a troop of foot in France.6

Although until the 1540s a considerable part of the St. Loe patrimony remained with Sir Edward Wadham, who had married the widow of St. Loe’s grandfather, St. Loe had inherited the manor of Stoke, Somerset in 1522 and after the Dissolution he purchased or leased other property in the county: thus in May 1550 he obtained a long lease of the manor of Keynsham and other lands in Somerset. Together with what fell to him on the death of Wadham, which included Tormarton manor, these made him a considerable, though not a great, landowner in Gloucestershire and Somerset and helped to qualify him for the knighthood of the latter shire in the Parliament of 1545 when he and his cousin and fellow-knight, Sir Thomas Speke, doubtless benefited from the support of their kinsman, Sir Thomas Arundell, Queen Catherine Parr’s chancellor. In spite of this achievement and of his Protestant sympathies, reflected in his association with Sir Anthony Kingston and the marriage of his son, William, to a daughter of Sir Edward Baynton, he is not known to have sat in either of Edward VI’s Parliaments; he was, however, put on a number of local commissions, served a term as sheriff and had licence to retain 60 men. In June 1549 he was ordered to Ireland with 300 men but the expedition was postponed, and probably cancelled, by the western rising.7

The succession crisis of 1553 faced St. Loe with a hazardous decision. On 18 July Jane Grey and her Council wrote to him and Sir Anthony Kingston ordering them to muster forces and march to Buckinghamshire in her support. Three or four days later St. Loe was at Longleat, whither he had gone presumably to concert action with Sir John Thynne, and there received from his cousin Sir Nicholas Poyntz intelligence that Queen Mary had been proclaimed in London. Whatever course of conduct the two may have envisaged, the news that Jane had been repudiated in London left them no choice: Thynne proclaimed Mary at Warminster and St. Loe doubtless hastened into Somerset with a similar resolution. The new regime at first left him unscathed: he was even reappointed to the Somerset bench. Both he and his sons, however, stood suspect and were to be penalized in turn. In February 1554 Sir William St. Loe was arrested in connexion with Wyatt’s rebellion, and in May 1556, suspicion of their complicity in the Dudley plot earned his younger brother a spell in the Fleet and his father house-arrest under a recognizance of £1,000. St. Loe had, indeed, done nothing to mollify the Queen and Council by his behaviour in the Parliament of 1555, his election to which, probably for Somerset again in company with another dissentient, Sir Ralph Hopton, was in itself something of a challenge: both he and Hopton followed the lead of Sir Anthony Kingston in opposing a government bill in the Commons.8

St. Loe did not long survive the advent of a more congenial regime. Elected to Elizabeth’s first Parliament for Gloucestershire, where he had now probably made his main home, he died on 20 Mar. 1559 while it was still in session.9

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2.
  • 2. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., CIPM Hen. VII, i. 355. LP Hen. VIII, iv, xii, xiii.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, iv, vi, viii, xvi, xvii, xxi; CPR, 1547-8 to 1558-60 passim.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, i, iv, xiii, xvi.
  • 6. Ibid. viii, ix, xi, xii, xiv.
  • 7. Ibid. i, iii, xiii; Collinson, Som. ii. 403; CPR, 1550-3, pp. 7, 396; 1553, p. 354; CSP Ire. 1509-73, p. 105.
  • 8. Chron. Q. Jane and Q. Mary (Cam. Soc. xlviii), 65, 108; Wilts. Arch. Mag. viii. 310; APC, v. 270; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2.
  • 9. E150/46/37; PCC 4 Chaynay; Machyn’s Diary (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 191.