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The Saint John Family

Saint John coat of arms
Saint John coat of arms

The succession of the Lords Saint John of Bletso (as the parish is spelt in the title) is given below. Interestingly, although the family's title refers to Bletsoe and many of the family are buried there, during the 19th century and some of 20th their seat was not Bletsoe Castle| but Melchbourne Park. A small corner of the graveyard, surrounded by a scrubby low privet hedge, contains the graves of 16th Baron and a number of other members of the family, now [October 2009] looking sad and unkempt.

The 1st Baron Saint John [Z50/141/12]
The 1st Baron Saint John [Z50/141/12]

  • Oliver, 1st Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the son of Sir John Saint John and Margaret, daughter of Sir William Waldegrave of Smallbridge [Suffolk]. He was heir to the Barony of Beauchamp of Bletsoe created by writ in 1363 because he was the great-great-great grandson of Margaret Beauchamp, who first married Sir Oliver Saint John (did 1437) and then, on his death, John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset; she was the maternal grandmother of King Henry VII. Oliver Saint John was Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire from 1547 to 1552 and High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire in 1551. He was created Baron Saint John of Bletso on 13th January 1559 and was one of the peers who sat as jury in the trial in 1572 of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk, who was executed for his part in the Ridolfi Plot. He married twice - Agnes Fisher some time before 1543 and Elizabeth, widow of Edward Griffin (former Attorney General) before 1572. He died around May 1582 and was buried at Bletsoe.
  • John, 2nd Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the son of Oliver and his first wife Agnes. He was M. P. for Bedfordshire in 1559 and from 1563 to 1567 and was one of the peers who judged the guilt of Mary, Queen of Scots in 1586. He was Lord Lieutenant of Huntingdonshire from about 1587 until his death. He married, about 1575, Catherine, daughter of Sir William Dormer of Wing [Buckinghamshire]. He died on 23rd October 1596 and was buried at Bletsoe. His widow died in 1615 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.
  • Oliver, 3rd Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the brother of the 2nd Baron and was probably born in the early 1540s. He was High Sheriff of Bedfordshire in 1585 and Lord Lieutenant of Huntingdonshire from 1596 until his death. He was one of the peers who condemned the Earl of Essex for treason in 1601. He married Dorothy, daughter of John Read of Boddington [Gloucestershire] and he died in October 1618.

The 1st Earl Bolingbroke Z54-36a
The 1st Earl Bolingbroke [Z54/36a]

  • Oliver, 4th Baron Saint John of Bletso and 1st Earl of Bolingbroke: was born about 1584, the son of the 3rd Baron. He was jointly Lord Lieutenant for Huntingdonshire in 1619 and was created Earl of Bolingbroke on 28th December 1624. During the First Civil War he fought for Parliament and became Lord Lieutenant for Bedfordshire in February 1643, a Commissioner of the Admiralty, Member of the Assembly of Divines and Joint Commissioner of the Great Seal. He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Paulet of Ewalden [Somerset] in 1602. He died in June 1646.
  • Oliver, 5th Baron Saint John of Bletso and 2nd Earl of Bolingbroke: He became Baron Saint John during his father's life time, when he was called to parliament in 1641. He married Arabella, daughter of John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater. Like his father he supported Parliament on the outbreak of the First Civil war and was killed at the Battle of Edgehill, the first major engagement of the war, on 23rd October 1642
  • Oliver, 6th Baron Saint John of Bletso and 2nd Earl of Bolingbroke: he was born in 1634, the son of Sir Paulet Saint John of Thurleigh. He married Frances, daughter of William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle on 24th November 1654. She died on 15th August 1678 and he died on 18th March 1688.
  • Paulet, 7th Baron Saint John of Bletso and 3rd Earl of Bolingbroke: was the brother of the 6th Baron and 2nd Earl and was Member of Parliament for Bedford from 1663 to 1681. He died, unmarried, on 5th October 1711, making the Earldom, but not the Barony, extinct.
  • Paulet Saint Andrew, 8th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the cousin of the 7th Baron, being the posthumous son of Sir Andrew Saint John of Woodford [Northamptonshire] by Anne, daughter of Sir William James of Korlings [Suffolk]. He was great-great-great grandson of the 3rd Baron. He died on 10th May 1714 aged just three or four years old.
  • William, 9th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the fourth son of Sir Andrew Saint John by Jane, daughter of Sir William Blois of Cockfield Hall [Suffolk] and was the uncle of the 8th Baron. He died unmarried on 11th October 1720 at Woodford [Northamptonshire] and was buried at Bletsoe.
  • Rowland, 10th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the brother of the 9th Baron. He died unmarried at Woodford on 4th July 1722.
  • John, 11th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the brother of the 9th and 10th Barons. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Ambrose Crowley of Greenwich on 6th March 1725 and he died on 24th June 1757.
  • John, 12th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the eldest son of the 11th Baron, born 15th November 1725, educated at Winchester College and New College, Oxford. He married Susanne Louise, daughter of Peter Simond, a French Huguenot merchant in London who brought £20,000 to the marriage. He died 20th April 1767 at Nice but was buried at Bletsoe. His widow died in 1805, aged 80, at Bath [Somerset]. Their eldest son, John Peter, born on 11th November 1756 died on 21st October 1760 at Stanton [Cambridgeshire], aged just three and was buried at Bletsoe.
  • Henry Beauchamp, 13th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the second son of the 12th Baron, born on 2nd August 1758 at Woodford [Northamptonshire]. He married Emma Maria Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Whitbread the Elder of Cardington, she brought £30,000 to the marriage. He died on 18th December 1805 after a long illness, just two months after his mother. His eldest son, Saint John died in March 1791 at Exeter [Devon], aged just seven.
  • Saint Andrew, 14th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the brother of the 13th Baron and was born on 22nd August 1759 at Woodford. He was a barrister at Lincoln's Inn and Whig Member of Parliament for Bedfordshire from 1780 to 1805, being under secretary to the former Prime Minister, Lord North in 1783. He married Louisa, daughter of Sir Charles William Rouse-Boughton of Rouse Lench [Worcestershire] on 16th July 1807 (in 1861 another Rouse-Boughton married into another prominent North Bedfordshire family - the Orlebars of Hinwick). He died at Melchbourne on 15th October 1817, his widow marrying Sir John Vaughan, Justice of Common Pleas.

The 15th Baron Saint John [OR2386/1]
The 15th Baron Saint John [OR2386/1]

  • Saint Andrew Beauchamp, 15th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the son of the 14th Baron, born on 8th November 1811 in Wimpole Street, London. Unlike his father he was a Tory. He married Eleanor, daughter of Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Hussey Hussey on 12th March 1838 and died on 27th January 1874 at Melchbourne, being buried at Bletsoe. He left over £12,000 personal estate in his will.

The 16th Baron Saint John [OR2386/1]
The 16th Baron Saint John [OR2386/1]

  • Saint Andrew, 16th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the son of the 15th Baron and was born on 5th October 1840 at MelchbournePark. He, like his father, was a Conservative. He married Ellen Georgiana, daughter of Poor Law Commissioner Edward Senior on 25th April 1868. He died of congestion of the lungs on 2nd November 1887 at Melchbourne, aged just 47 and was buried at Bletso. He left a little under £20,000 in his will. His widow later married Francis Judd of Rickling in Essex.

The 17th Baron Saint John [OR2386/1]
The 17th Baron Saint John [OR2386/1]

  • Beauchamp Moubray, 17th Baron Saint John of Bletso: he was the brother of the 16th Baron and was born on 4th December 1844 at Melchbourne. He served in the 74th Foot (Highland Light Infantry) until 1867 and became Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire from 1905 until his death. He married Helen Charlotte, daughter of Harry Thornton of Kempston Grange on 4th February 1869. She died at Melchbourne on 23rd March 1909 and he subsequently married  Ethel Susan, daughter of John Lutley and he died on 10th May 1912 at MelchbournePark, aged 67 and was buried at Bletsoe.
  • Henry Beauchamp Oliver, 18th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the son of the 17th Baron and was born on 24th June 1876 and died unmarried on 17th October 1920.
  • Moubray Saint Andrew Thornton, 19th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the brother of the 18th Baron, born on 5th November 1877. He served in the King's Own Scottish Borderers in the Boer War (1899-1902) and in the Bedfordshire Regiment during the First World War and was a Deputy Lieutenant for Bedfordshire. He married Evelyn Geraldine, daughter of Andrew Russell of Petersfield [Hampshire] in 1905 and, after her death, Elizabeth May, widow of E. C. A. Sandford. He died on 28th October 1934 in South Kensington.
  • John Mowbray Russell, 20th Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the son of the 19th Baron and was born on 3rd August 1917. he died, unmarried, in Dublin on 13th April 1976.
  • Andrew Beauchamp, 21st Baron Saint John of Bletso: was the third son of the third son of the 17th Baron and was born on 23rd August 1918. He joined the Bank of England in 1937 and served in the Indian Army during the Second World War. He married Katherine, daughter of Alfred Berg in 1955 and emigrated to South Africa two years later. He died on 11th February 1978.
  • Anthony Tudor, 22nd Baron Saint John of Bletso: was born on 16th May 1957, the son of the 21st Baron. He served in the House of Lords as a cross bencher, and was one of the hereditary peers to survive the reform of 1999.

The graves of the 16th Baron and other members of the family October 2009
The graves of the 16th Baron and other members of the family October 2009