Portrait miniature of Henry St.John 4th Viscount Bolingbroke, c1812
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This miniature is the only known portrait of Henry St.John, 4th Viscount Bolingbroke (1786-1851).
Henry was the younger and only surviving son of George Richard St.John's marriage to Charlotte Collins. His father abandoned her and their three children for his half-sister and, later, for Isabella, Baroness Hompesch who eventually became his second wife.
In 1803, when Henry was seventeen, his older brother George died. The following year his mother died and his only sister Mary as well as his grandfather. In 1804 his father married Baroness Hompesch in New York and by 1807 they were back in England. Henry was only a few months old when his father had left, returning after around twenty years absence with Henry's step-mother and six step -brothers and step-sisters.
There was little love lost between Henry and his step-mother. She promoted the interests of her children but could not alter the fact that Henry would inherit his father's family honours and estates.
In 1812 Henry married the excellently connected Maria St.John-Mildmay, a daughter of Sir Henry Paulet St.John-Mildmay and the wealthy heiress, Jane Mildmay. The couple probably took up residence at Lydiard Park after the death of Henry's father in 1824, also spending time in Scotland and Wales.
Lydiard Park had become run-down by the time Henry inherited it and he did make some improvements, replacing the servant's accommodation on the west side of the house with a more up to date wing to the north. He also negotiated with the rector on an exchange of lands which allowed him to demolish the old rectory beside Lydiard House and re-route the public thoroughfare that existed between Lydiard House and St. Mary's Church. However the family's financial decline was accelerating and by the time of his death in 1851 Lydiard Park was heavily mortgaged.
See Items of Interest Report 34 The Decline and Fall of the St.Johns of Lydiard Tregoze by Brian Carne.
- c. 1812
- Lydiard House
- Swindon Borough Council
- LYD 1993.65
- Friends of Lydiard Park
- T. Cooper-Tydeman
- Last updated on:
- Wednesday 9th February 2022