ST. POLL (SAMPOLL), George (by 1499-1558/59), of Louth Park, Lincoln, North Carlton, and Snarford, Lincs. and Lincoln's Inn, London.
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Family and Education
b. by 1499, 3rd s. of John St. Poll of Snarford by Helen, da. of Sir Richard Thimbleby of Poolham, Lincs. educ. L. Inn, adm. 1523. m.Jane, da. of Sir William Askew of Nuthall, Notts. and Stallingborough, Lincs., 2s. inc. Thomas† 2da. suc. bro. 1556.3
Autumn reader, L. Inn 1540.
Commr. tenths of spiritualities, Lincs., Lincoln 1535, musters, Lincs. (Lindsey) 1539, relief, Lincs. (Holland, Lindsey), Boston 1550, goods of churches and fraternities, Boston 1553; member, council of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk 1537-45; j.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) 1538 d.; recorder, Lincoln 1542-d.; jt. (with William Cordell) steward, duchy of Lancaster, Bolingbroke honor, Lincs. Dec. 1553; serjeant-at-law 1555.4
George St. Poll was descended from a substantial Lincolnshire family. Although he was a third son, he eventually inherited the family estates at Snarford, but by then he was nearing 60 and had long since made his own way through his profession of the law. After training at Lincoln’s Inn and early practice, he became counsel to the Duke of Suffolk. In 1546 St. Poll testified to having had ‘the doings of all his causes in and at the laws of the realm by the space of nine years past’ and five years earlier the duke had acknowledged St. Poll’s ‘good counsel’ by making him steward of a string of manors in Lincolnshire at a fee of £6 13s.4d.5
After the Lincolnshire rebellion of 1536 the common council of Lincoln had agreed to grant Suffolk the nomination of the city’s recorder. When Suffolk’s first nominee, Anthony Missenden, died in 1542, the duke named St. Poll, who was made recorder on 7 Sept. He also succeeded to Missenden’s seat in the Parliament which then stood prorogued. No return survives, but as the writ for the by-election was issued on 8 Nov. 1542 St. Poll was probably elected in time to take his seat at the opening of the second session in January. On the following 23 Aug. he remitted to the city his wages for that session, but as the amount involved was £8 14s. the claim which he forwent was either for attendance at 87 out of its 111 days at the standard rate of 2s. a day, or for a longer period at a reduced rate: he may therefore have missed part of the session on his own or on the duke’s affairs. St. Poll was to sit for Lincoln in almost every subsequent Parliament until 1558: apart from that of March 1553 (when the Members for the city are not known), the only exceptions were the Parliaments of April 1554 and 1555, in the second of which he was a knight of the shire. Despite his long service in the Commons there is little trace of his contribution there: in the second session of the Parliament of 1547 he was enlisted to speak on behalf of the 2nd Earl of Cumberland in a debate concerning the hereditary shrievalty of Westmorland, and in the first session of Mary’s (and his own) last Parliament a bill on payments to receivers and collectors was committed to him after its first reading, and the proposal to limit the raising of aids to pay soldiers to the current emergency, put forward by him with Richard Grafton and Sir Edward Rogers, saved the musters bill from loss on its return from the Lords on the morning of the prorogation.6
Until Suffolk’s death in 1545 St. Poll engaged in extensive property transactions both on the duke’s behalf and on his own. In 1539 he acquired Westlaby grange from Suffolk, and in 1543 he purchased Swallow manor from John Bellow and Robert Brokelsby. In the augmentations accounts for 1545-6 St. Poll is described as Suffolk’s deputy in his office of high steward of suppressed and attainted lands beyond the Trent: he had played a similar role in at least one abbey before the Dissolution, that of Newsham, of whose Lincolnshire manors he was made under steward in January 1537. During most of the 1540s St. Poll lived at Louth Park; in the pardon roll of 1547 he is described as of Lincoln and Louth Park, alias of Lincoln’s Inn. In 1551 some land in his tenure at Spalding was granted to (Sir) John Cheke, and in 1556 he acquired various properties at Gainsborough from the 9th Lord Clinton; in the same year he succeeded to the family estates at Snarford after the death of his two elder brothers.7
In 1556-7 St. Poll headed the list of justices of peace in Lindsey whom the Privy Council ordered to take an inventory of the goods of John Bellow and to put them under custody while Bellow’s conduct in various transactions and affrays was under investigation. Possibly connected with this affair is a letter from St. Poll to the mayor of Grimsby concerning the indictment of a certain prisoner there, with a postscript that reads: ‘And I pray you have me commended to Mr. Bellow and so far as concerning such matters as he wrote to me of as concerning Mr. Chancellor, I made Mr. Chancellor no such promise nor I did not conveniently forbear it; I intend to speak with Mr. Chancellor shortly in the same’. Probably the reference is to the chancellor of augmentations as Bellow’s troubles appear to have derived in part from his surveyorship of augmentations in the East Riding.8
Amid his various activities St. Poll had not forgotten the law. He read at his inn in 1540, served on several commissions of oyer and terminer from 1547 and was called to be serjeant in 1555: if both he and Queen Mary had lived longer he might have attained the bench, but he died soon after her. He made his will on 30 Dec. 1558 and it was proved on the following 22 Feb. Describing himself as of North Carlton, Lincolnshire, he asked to be buried at Snarford. The religious convictions expressed or reflected in the will are not easy to interpret: if the testator’s trust in God ‘by the merits of his only Son ... to have forgiveness of all my sins and to be in the number of those whom he by his Holy Spirit hath sanctified to everlasting life’ may be (as it has been) held to stamp him as a Protestant, his provision for a priest to pray for his soul hardly supports that conclusion: no more does the absence of St. Poll’s name from the lists of parliamentary opponents of the Marian regime. Of the effect upon him of the martyrdom of his sister-in-law Anne Askew there appears to be no trace, but her family figures prominently in the will, of which Francis Askew was a supervisor with Christopher Wray.9
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: T. M. Hofmann
- 1. Did not serve for the full duration of the Parliament; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 38; Lincoln min. bk. 1541-64, ff. 16, 24.
- 2. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
- 3. Date of birth estimated from age at elder brother’s death, Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 844-5.
- 4. LP Hen. VIII, viii, xii-xiv, xvi, xx; APC. vi. 49; C1/1161/8; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 38; CPR, 1547-8 to 1555-7 passim; Lincoln Rec. Soc. liv, p. lxxv et passim; Somerville, Duchy, i. 577.
- 5. Black Bk. L. Inn, i. passim; C1/1161/8; NRA 5789, p. 479.
- 6. J. W. F. Hill, Tudor and Stuart Lincoln, 51; Lincoln min. bk. 1511-42, f. 258v; 1541-64, ff. 16, 24; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 38; Clifford Letters (Surtees Soc. clxxii), 33-34, 102; CJ, i. 48, 51; C. G. Ericson, ‘Parlt. as a legislative institution in the reigns of Edw. VI and Mary’ (London Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1973), 280-1, 518.
- 7. Hill, 63; LP Hen. VIII, xiv, xviii-xxi; NRA 5789, p. 481; CPR, 1548-9 pp. 154, 226; 1550-3, p. 138; 1553-4, p. 90; 1554-5, p. 120; 1555-7, pp. 376, 393.
- 8. APC, v. 243; vi. 49, 106; CPR, 1554-5, p. 59; HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 254 citing Gt. Grimsby AO, loose corresp.
- 9. PCC 43 Welles; D. Wilson, A Tudor Tapestry, 160.