GERMAIN, Sir John, 1st Bt. (1650-1718), of Westminster, and Drayton, Northants.
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Family and Education
b. 1650. m. (1) lic. 15 Sept. 1701, Mary (d.17 Nov. 1705), suo jure Baroness Mordaunt, div. w. of Thomas Howard, 7th Duke of Norfolk, s.p.; (2) Oct. 1706, Lady Elizabeth Berkeley, da. of Charles Berkeley, M.P., 2nd Earl of Berkeley, 2s. 1da. all d.v.p. Kntd. 26 Feb. 1698; cr. Bt. 25 Mar. 1698.
‘A Dutch gamester of mean extraction, who had gotten much by gaming’,1 Germain came to England with the Prince of Orange, subsequently serving under him in Holland and Flanders. In 1692 he was sued by the Duke of Norfolk ‘for £100,000 for enticing away his duchess; the verdict was for the Duke but the jury gave but 100 marks [£66] damages to the wonder of all the court’. He later married the Duchess, who died in 1705 leaving him Drayton and other estates in Northamptonshire, worth £70,000.2 He then married a daughter of the Earl of Berkeley, thirty years younger then himself. Returned as a Whig in Anne’s last Parliament, Germain did not stand in 1715, but was later returned for Totnes, probably on the Duke of Bolton’s interest. He died 11 Dec. 1718, leaving his property to his wife, subject to bequests inter alia of £20,000 to his brother, Philip Germain, £15,000 each to a second brother, Daniel, and to his sister, Judith Persode, and £50 to the poor of the congregation of the Dutch church in London.3 His widow, Lady Betty Germain, spent most of the rest of her life at Knole with the Duke and Duchess of Dorset, leaving her property to Lord George Sackville.