ST. JOHN, Francis (c.1634-1705), of Thorpe Hall, Longthorpe, nr. Peterborough, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. c.1634, 1st s. of Oliver St. John†, l.c.j.c.p., of Keysoe, Beds. and Thorpe Hall by his 1st w. Joanna, da. and h. of Sir James Altham of Markshall, Latton, Essex. educ. Emmanuel, Camb. 1648, MA 1650; L. Inn 1648, called 1656. m. (1) Mary, da. and h. of Dionisius Wakering† of Barrow Hall, Great Wakering, Essex, 1s. d.v.p.; (2) lic. 14 May 1674, Mary, da. of Daniel/Dannet Forth, Brewer, alderman of London 1669–76, 3s. 1da. suc. fa. 1673.1
Commr. for trade 1656–7.
Commr. for charitable uses, Peterborough 1656, feoffee for town lands 1656–83; conservator, Bedford level 1666–7.2
St. John’s parliamentary career falls into three phases, separated from each other by long periods of apparent political inactivity. His first experience of national affairs, during the Interregnum, owed everything to his distinguished father, who found him seats in Parliament and an official post. Politically he was very much his father’s son, a conservative Presbyterian, who during the later 1650s spent some time in France and was probably in contact with Royalists there. After the Restoration his father went into exile, but the family retained the manor of Longthorpe, with its recently built mansion, and other property in England and Ireland. St. John seems to have remained a Dissenter, and surfaced again in the Exclusion crisis, sitting in the first two Exclusion Parliaments as a follower of Lord Shaftesbury (Anthony Ashley Cooper†). He was subsequently listed as one of the more extreme Whigs in his county. Then after a lapse of 17 years he was suddenly returned again for the nearby borough of Peterborough in the 1698 general election, largely on his own interest but with the backing of the moderate Whig Lord Fitzwilliam (William†). In a comparative analysis of the old and new Parliaments he was at first marked as a supporter of the Court party but this classification was questioned in a later recalculation. He was then forecast, along with his parliamentary colleague, Hon. Sidney Wortley Montagu*, as likely to vote against the Court on the issue of the standing army.
Little is known of St. John’s conduct in the 1698 Parliament. In a further analysis of the House i