ST. JOHN, Ambrose (1760-1822), of Prior Park, Berks. and The Close, Winchester, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



19 May 1803 - 1806

Family and Education

b. 27 Sept. 1760, 1st s. of Very Rev. the Hon. St. Andrew St. John, dean of Worcester, 2nd s. of John, 10th Baron St. John, by Sarah, da. of Thomas Chase of Bromley, Kent. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1777, I. Temple 1776, called 1784. m. 22 Feb. 1790, Arabella, da. of Sir James Hamlyn*, 1st Bt., of Clovelly Court, Devon, 2s. 5da. suc. fa. 1795.

Offices Held

Capt. Worcs. militia 1793, lt.-col. commdt. (supp.) 1798, 1806.


St. John was called to the bar in 1784, but he apparently never practised. He was a trustee of the estate of his young kinsman Lord Clinton, patron of Callington, which provided him with a seat there on a vacancy in 1803. St. John silently supported Addington’s and Pitt’s administrations: he was at first listed ‘doubtful’, then twice as a supporter, 1804-5. He voted against Whitbread’s censure motion on Melville, 8 Apr. 1805.

On 2 Nov. 1805 he wrote to Pitt asking to become deputy commissary general of musters—describing himself as a ‘zealous supporter of your measures’. He received, according to the endorsement, ‘a civil refusal’. On 8 Dec. 1805 he wrote again, this time applying to become deputy paymaster of Nova Scotia and referring to his ‘domestic calamities’ (his wife died in June 1805 leaving him with seven children to bring up).1

On the advent of the Grenville administration in March 1806 Lord Clinton wrote to Lord Grenville that he expected St. John ‘to relinquish his seat’ and added that he was anxious to bring in a friend of theirs.2 St. John, however, held on to his seat until the dissolution: he did not oppose the government. He did not seek to re-enter Parliament, but continued to solicit an emolument to support a family who, he informed Lord Grenville on 21 Oct. 1806 in a vain application to become commissioner for auditing the public accounts, had ‘only him to look up to’. Eventually he retreated to the Isle of Man and died at Douglas, 29 Nov. 1822.3

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: R. G. Thorne


  • 1. PRO 30/8/175.
  • 2. Fortescue mss, Clinton to Grenville, 20 Mar. 1806.
  • 3. Gent. Mag. (1822), ii. 646.