ST. JOHN, John II (1544-96), of Bletsoe, Beds.
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Family and Education
b. 1544, 1st s. of Oliver St. John†, 1st Baron St. John of Bletso, by his 1st w. Agnes, da. and h. of Sir John Fisher of Beds.; bro. of Oliver II. m. aft. Feb. 1575, Catherine, da. of Sir William Dormer, 1da. Anne, m. William, Lord Howard. suc. fa. as 2nd Baron 1582.
J.p. Beds. from c.1579; ld. lt. Hunts. by 1587; commr. trials of Mary Stuart, 1586, and Philip, Earl of Arundel, 1589; commr. recusancy, Beds. 1592.
The St. Johns of Bletsoe were eminent enough in Bedfordshire for this man, at the age of 19, to take precedence of Lewis Mordaunt, also the heir to a peerage. In addition to the family seat, about six miles from Bedford, he inherited extensive lands in other parts of the county, with property in Cambridgeshire and presumably in Huntingdonshire, as well as a house in Bethnal Green. St. John was one of four Bedfordshire commissioners instructed in 1586 to raise men for the Low Countries, and between 1587 and 1592 the Council wrote to him about the inadequacy of the Huntingdonshire musters. In July 1592 Sir Henry Cromwell was asked to levy foot soldiers in the county, as ‘the infirmity of the Lord St. John is such as his lordship is not able to attend the service himself in person’. Infirm or not, St. John was appointed a fortnight later as a commissioner to act against recusants in Bedfordshire, and was one of the four who in October the same year supervised the taking of the oath of supremacy by the county officials. St. John died on 12 Oct. 1596, and his will was proved on 18 Oct.
C142/198/1; CP, xi. 334-5; Vis. Beds.(Harl. Soc. xix), 54; HMC Foljambe, 26; Howell, State Trials, i. cols. 1172, 1251; APC, xiv. 80, 115; xvi. 22, 145-6, 186, 244; xxiii. 70-1, 111, 256; PCC 70 Drake; C142/249/56.