ST. JOHN, Sir St. Andrew, 2nd Bt. (1658-1709), of Woodford, Northants.
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Family and Education
bap. 16 Oct. 1658, 1st s. of Sir Oliver St. John, 1st Bt., of Woodford by Barbara, da. and coh. of John St. Andrew of Gotham, Notts. and East Haddon, Northants. m. 10 Mar. 1681 (aged 22), Jane (d. 1711), da. of Sir William Blois of Grundisburgh Hall, Suff. and Cockfield Hall, Yoxford, Suff., sis. of Sir Charles Blois, 1st Bt.*, 8s. (1 d.v.p.) 7da. (5 d.v.p.). suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. 3 Jan. 1662.1
Verderer, Rockingham forest ?-d.2
St. John’s father, a grandson of the 3rd Lord St. John of Bletso, had increased his estates considerably by marriage, and been created a baronet at the Restoration. Despite succeeding to the baronetcy in 1662, St. John does not appear to have stood for Parliament until 1690. Even then there were doubts as to whether or not he would desert his partner, John Parkhurst*. He was classed as a Whig by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) in a list of March 1690, and as a possible supporter of the Country party by Robert Harley* just over a year later. On 31 Oct. 1691 he was named to the committee preparing the bill for the maintenance of the rights of corporations. Thereafter, his appearances in the Journals were generally as the recipient of a grant of leave of absence: on 14 Jan. 1693, for example, he was given a fortnight’s leave; on 19 Feb. 1694, three weeks, ‘his lady being very ill’; and on 18 Mar. 1695 a further three weeks. Re-elected as knight of the shire in 1695 with the backing of Lord Sunderland, he was forecast as likely to support the Court in the divisions of 31 Jan. 1696 on the proposed council of trade, signed the Association, and in March voted in favour of fixing the price of guineas at 22s. On 21 Mar. he was granted leave of absence ‘for recovery of his health’, and he did not appear on either side of the division list on Sir John Fenwick’s† attainder. One of two Members ordered on 22 Jan. 1697 to prepare a bill concerning returns of juries, he subsequently guided this measure through the Commons. When it was safely passed he received, on 23 Feb., his by now customary leave of absence, to recover his health. The following session he was present in December 1697 or January 1698 to give his vote in favour of a standing army, but was subsequently given leave three times: on 11 Jan. 1698, for three weeks, because of his wife’s illness; on 8 Mar., for a further three weeks; and on 3 May, indefinitely, for reasons of his own health. Considered a probable candidate for re-election in 1698, though not with his erstwhile colleague Parkhurst, he in fact withdrew. In a comparative list of the old and new Parliaments drawn up in about September of that year, he was put down among the supporters of the Court party.3
After giving his backing to the Tory Sir Justinian Isham, 4th Bt.*, in the first election of 1701, St. John re-entered the fray in November, having returned to his former allegiance. Now ‘all one’ with Parkhurst, and himself backed by the Spencer interest, he stood against Isham and Thomas Cartwright*. He tried, however, to distance himself a little from his Whig allies and patrons, writing before the election to the Tory Lord Hatton (Hon. Christopher†) to deny rumours that he had ‘joined with’ Parkhurst, and to seek Hatton’s approbation, stating as the occasion of his candidature the conventional ‘encouragement from several gentlemen and freeholders’. He was the first to give up at the poll, finding himself ‘so vastly behind’ the other three contestants, and afterwards hid his disappointment at the Tory success: unlike Parkhurst, he ‘kept company with the gentlemen, wished the Members joy, seemed glad they were chosen, signed the indentures of return, and walked on foot with the other gentlemen round the market-place, when the knights were carried in chairs’. Bottom of the poll again in 1702, when he stood with Lord Spencer (Charles*) against the outgoing Members, he was understandably reluctant to risk a further humiliation three years later. To a Whig proposal that he should join with Lord Mordaunt (John*), he at first replied he could not conceive of standing, because of his poor health and his fear that the expenses of election would ‘hazard the ruin of myself and family, having but a moderate estate and several children’. But he was talked round, presumably by Lord Sunderland (the former Lord Spencer), only to finish bottom of the poll once more.4
St. John was clearly too ill to be persuaded to stand in 1708, and died on 10 Feb. 1709. Two sons held the baronetcy in rapid succession. Then in 1711 his grandson Paulet became 5th baronet, succeeding later the same year, on the death of a cousin, as the 8th Lord St. John of Bletso.5
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Collins, Peerage, vi. 748; Add. 34375, f. 26.
- 2. Post Boy, 5–9 Apr. 1709.
- 3. Northants. RO, Isham mss, IC 1434, E. M[ontagu] to Sir Justinian Isham, 12 Feb. 1689[–90]; IC 1435, Sir Roger Norwich, 2nd Bt.†, to same, 15 Feb. 1689[–90]; IC 1524, Henry Benson to same, 10 Aug. 1695; Add. 29575, f. 165; E. G. Forrester, Northants. Elections and Electioneering 1695–1832, pp. 17, 20.
- 4. Forrester, 23–24, 26, 28; Isham mss, IC 2719, Sir Matthew Dudley, 2nd Bt.*, to Sir Justinian Isham, 18 Nov. 1701; Add. 29569, f. 320; Northants. Past and Present, vi. 30–31, 262; HMC Bathurst, 8.
- 5. Add. 34375, f. 26.