STONHOUSE, John (1601-1632), of Radley, Berks.
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Family and Education
bap. 10 Sept. 1601,1 1st s. of Sir William Stonhouse, 1st bt. of Radley, and Elizabeth, da. and h. of John Powell of Fulham, Mdx.; bro. of Sir George†, 3rd bt.2 educ. Trin., Oxf. 1617; Magdalen, Oxf. 1618-22; G. Inn 1619;3 ?travelled abroad (France and Holland) 1623-7.4 unm. kntd. 28 Aug. 1629;5 suc. fa. as 2nd bt. 5 Feb. 1632. d. 14 June 1632.6
Freeman, Abingdon, Berks. 1628.7
?Vol. Dutch service 1629.8
Gent. privy chamber, extraordinary 1631-d.9
Stonhouse’s paternal grandfather Robert was living at Bearsted, near Maidstone, in the 1540s.10 In 1560 Robert’s son and heir, the Elizabethan clerk of the Greencloth George Stonhouse, purchased from the Crown the Berkshire manor of Radley, situated just over two miles from Abingdon and four miles from Oxford.11 On George’s death Radley passed to his son William, an educated and well-travelled youth whose marriage to the heiress of a Middlesex estate enhanced his family’s landed fortunes.12 Pricked as sheriff of Berkshire in 1606,William gained admittance to both the county bench and lieutenancy. Stonhouse himself was born at Radley in 1601, the eldest of three sons, and matriculated aged 15 at Trinity College, Oxford. He subsequently obtained a scholarship and transferred to Magdalen College, where he continued to study until 1622, despite having already enrolled at Gray’s Inn, but did not graduate. In May 1623 he was licensed to travel abroad for four months with two friends. A year later, his appetite for foreign excursions now whetted, he and his companions were granted permission to spend a further three years abroad. According to his funeral monument, he returned from France and Holland ‘a most accomplished gent’.13
Stonhouse was returned for Abingdon in 1628, perhaps to round off his education, but made no recorded impact on the Parliament. Four months after the dissolution, in July 1629, he obtained leave to serve as a volunteer in the forces of the prince of Orange, but he was still in England in August, when he knighted. In November 1631 he was sworn a gentleman of the privy chamber in extraordinary, allegedly ‘for his virtues and the comeliness of his person’. The death of his father three months later brought him a substantial inheritance, including a baronetcy purchased in 1628, but he was allegedly so grief-stricken at his loss that he himself expired, unmarried and intestate, in June 1632. Father and son were interred together in St. James, Radley, where a marble and alabaster tomb was erected in their memory by Lady Elizabeth Stonhouse, the MP’s mother.14 Stonhouse was succeeded by his younger brother Sir George, who represented Abingdon in the Short and Long Parliaments and at the Restoration.
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Alan Davidson / Andrew Thrush
- 1. IGI, Berks.
- 2. Vis. Berks. (Harl. Soc. lvi), 132.
- 3. Al. Ox.; GI Admiss.
- 4. APC, 1621-3, p. 504; 1623-5, p. 222; Hearne’s Collections ed. D.W. Rannie (Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxxiv), iv. 334.
- 5. Shaw, Knights of Eng. ii. 196.
- 6. C142/488/72; 142/489/110.
- 7. A.C. Baker, Historic Abingdon, 72.
- 8. E157/14/54.
- 9. LC5/132, p. 273.
- 10. E. Hasted, Kent, v. 507.
- 11. VCH Berks. iv. 412.
- 12. Hearne’s Collections, iv. 334; C.J. Feret, Fulham Old and New, ii. 183.
- 13. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 6; Hearne’s Collections, iv. 334.
- 14. Hearne’s Collections, iv. 334.