ST. JOHN, Sir Henry (1590-c.1642), of Bletsoe, Beds. and St. Bartholomew-the-Great, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

bap. 26 Apr. 1590,1 6th but 5th surv. s. of Oliver, 3rd Bar. St. John† of Bletsoe (d.1618) and Dorothy, da. of John Rede† of Boddington, Glos.;2 bro. of Sir Alexander*, Sir Anthony*, Sir Beauchamp*, Oliver I* and Sir Rowland*. educ. Queen’s, Camb. 1604; L. Inn 1627. ?unm. kntd. 22/24 July 1619.3 admon. 11 May 1642.4 sig. Henry St. John.

Offices Held

Capt., militia horse, Hunts. 1621.5


As the fifth of six brothers to survive into adulthood, St. John could hardly expect a significant inheritance from his father, who, having probably already given him a life annuity, left him only £50 in his will.6 While his brothers all managed to marry wealthy heiresses or widows, he apparently remained single, spending his life on the family estates in Bedfordshire or at their London house in Great St. Bartholomew’s. He should not be confused with a distant relative, Henry St. John† of Farleigh Chamberlayne, Hampshire, one of the protagonists in the Stockbridge election dispute of 1614.7

St. John was knighted at Bletsoe in July 1619, when the king was ‘nobly entertained’ by his eldest brother Oliver, 4th Baron St. John.8 The latter was both lord lieutenant of Huntingdonshire and a landowner in the vicinity of Huntingdon, and undoubtedly secured his brother’s return for the borough.9 St. John had little impact on the proceedings of the House, being named to only one bill committee, that for a private measure to confirm the title of Thomas Waller to the manor of Payton Hall, Suffolk (27 Apr. 1621). As a burgess for Huntingdon he was also entitled to attend two other committees for bills of local interest, one to enable Sir Edward Montagu* and other trustees to sell the manor of Fletton, near Peterborough (4 May 1621), and the other to allow Toby Palavicino to break the entail on his Cambridgeshire estates (19 May 1624).10 St. John does not appear to have stood in 1626, when the seat went to a local man, John Goldsborough.

In 1627 St. John was made an honorary member of Gray’s Inn at the behest of the reader, Richard Taylor*, his brother’s deputy as recorder of Bedford. During the 1630s St. John handled the affairs of his nephew Sir Paulet St. John, procuring the latter’s marriage licence in 1632 and acting as trustee of his Bedfordshire estates thereafter.11 He also secured pardons for land purchases in Bedfordshire and St. Clement Danes, Middlesex, and bought a farm in Northamptonshire, probably on behalf of his brother Sir Rowland.12 St. John was dead by 11 May 1642, when administration of his estate was granted to his brother Sir Beauchamp.13

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Author: Simon Healy


  • 1. Southill (Beds. par. reg. xii), 8.
  • 2. Vis. Beds. (Harl. Soc. xix), 194.
  • 3. Al. Cant.; LI Admiss.; Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 173.
  • 4. PROB 6/18, f. 126v.
  • 5. SP14/121/93.
  • 6. PROB 11/132, f. 349v.
  • 7. Procs. 1614 (Commons), 175-83.
  • 8. Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 263.
  • 9. APC, 1618-19, pp. 363-5; C142/376/126.
  • 10. CJ, i. 593b, 606b, 705a; Nicholas, Procs. 1621, i. 332.
  • 11. Faculty Office Mar. Lics. (Harl. Soc. xxiv), 21; C142/614/82; Beds. RO, J.178.
  • 12. C66/2609/64; 66/2732/15; Beds. RO, J.106.
  • 13. PROB 6/18, f. 126v.