ST. JOHN, Nicholas (c.1526-89), of Lydiard Tregoze, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. c.1526, 1st s. of John St. John† of Lydiard Tregoze by his 1st w. Margaret, da. of Sir Richard Carew of Beddington, Surr.; half-bro. of William. m. c.1548, Elizabeth, da. of Sir Richard Blount of Mapledurham, Oxon., 3s. inc. Oliver III 5da. suc. fa. Apr. 1576.
Gent. pens. by 1552-60; porter of Wallingford castle 1552; j.p. Wilts. from c.1574. sheriff 1579-80.1
St. John’s protestantism served him well during Edward VI’s reign. As porter of Wallingford castle he was the subordinate of Sir Francis Knollys, the leading puritan in Queen Elizabeth’s Privy Council. In 1560 his services to Elizabeth and her predecessors were recognized by a grant of his court office, with a pension of £26 13s.4d. and exemption from daily attendance upon the Queen. He seems in fact to have confined his official duties to his native county of Wiltshire, where he became a justice of the peace and a commissioner to enforce training in archery. He contributed £25 to the Armada fund. In Berkshire, where he sometimes resided on his estate at Purley Magna, near Pangbourne, he was appointed trustee of part of the lands of the Catholic exile, Sir Francis Englefiel†.2
He was returned for Cricklade to the Parliament of 1563, presumably by arrangement with his neighbour, the 2nd Lord Chandos, who controlled the borough. In 1571 he sat for Great Bedwyn and in 1572 for Marlborough, both slightly further afield, no doubt through the nomination of the Earl of Hertford. As St. John was a country gentleman, he would not have been expected to claim payment for serving in Parliament, but in 1577, after the second session of the 1572 Parliament, he sued Marlborough in Chancery for his wages. The borough replied, falsely, that he had not attended in 1576, but they had to pay him £8 8s. and were reimbursed by Hertford. In fact St. John was qui