This blog began life as Status, Scandal and Subterfuge, a story about the Lady St Johns of Lydiard Park.  However, the Ladies of the family have proved so fascinating that I have extended my research and launched this new website Good Gentlewoman.  Readers interested in the Lydiard Park story should follow the links www.lydiardhouse.blogspot.com


36 thoughts on “About

  1. Your blog is wonderful- vivid, beautifully written, illustrated. It seems the next step would be a television series. Are you related to the St. Johns? I am a descendant of Mattias (1604-69), brother to Elizabeth, the Puritan Pioneer.

    • Hi Nancy, thank you for your kind comments. No, relation to the St John’s, unfortunately – my interest stems from living within walking distance of Lydiard Park where the junior branch of the family lived for more than 500 years.

      • Hi – I love you blog and have a qustion please – have you come across Herbert St John and Madam Rebecca or Roberta Hungerford? I would be very interested in these two if you do – they married in London in 1656 thankyou sj

      • Hi Sarah-Jane – thank you for your kind comments. I’m afraid I am not familiar with the couple you mention. If you have any further details I will have another look for you. I am guessing you have tried all the obvious avenues of research.

      • Thankyou – No, I dont only that they married in London in 1656 then completely disappeared.. an americam lady was looking into them – and the St John’s are such a mixed family – I have the french/netherlands connection in my family tree.. but the family firmly beleived they had connections to the Lydiard Tregoze family – my grandmother had wall paper and some other bits n bobs from there.. right at this moment I can’t find a connection – so i still research – i read a lot – and I read your blog with much interest it is very good!

  2. Fascinating!

    We share the same charmed circle it seems (madame de pique suggested we call)

    We shall return.

    *wavingfromlosangeles* (with a British accent)


  3. You include an image of Henrietta Anne . I would be most interested in knowing the artist, please. I downloaded from a site but have not been able to locate it again. The image has been admired by many

  4. How lovely, I must say this is the best read I’ve had in a very long time. Thank you for all of the time and research that you’ve done to make this wonderful blog. As my pedigree reads I’m a 16th granddaughter of the Lady Joan Beaufort. I would be interested to know if you have researched or thought about continuing your blog past Alice Nevilles daughter Elizabeth Fitzhugh Lady Parr?

  5. Dear Gentlewoman, thank you for sharing such interesting stories. I am a Czech historian and I am particularly interested in the family of Henri Paulet Saint John, his wife Jeanne Mildmay and especiallialy their daughter Letitia Saint John Mildmay, who was born in 1803 and died in 1844. The only fact I know about her is that she was engaged to Lockhart, Sir Walter Scott’s son-in-law, and she unfortunately died just a few months after the engagement. Any more information about her would be very helpful for me. Thank you very much.

    • Hi – thank you for your kind comment. Unfortunately I am unable to find in my notes the Letitia St John Mildmay to whom you refer. If you have any additional information I would be happy to research further.

  6. Hi Frances,
    First I want to say how much I enjoy reading items on your Good Gentlewomen site. Congratulations. I wondered if you know if a portrait or other image exists of Catherine St John, daughter of Elizabeth Blount and Nicholas St John? She married Edmund Richmond Webb of Rodbourne Cheney circa 1585. Her will was written there in February 1635.
    Catherine is my 11th great grandmother and my descent is through her great great grandson John Richmond Webb, Commander of the land forces under Queen Anne, member for Ludgershall and one time governor of the Isle of Wight.
    I also have some early Swindon connections. Catherine St John’s daughter Anne Richmond Webb married Thomas Villett in about 1615 and both are buried at Swindon, she is 1643 and he in 1667.

    • Hi Sally,

      Thank you for your kind comments and the family history information.

      Unfortunately I have not come across a portrait of Catherine. Have you managed to find a memorial for her? I’m guessing she might have been buried in St Mary’s Church, Rodbourne Cheney.

      Best wishes, Frances

  7. I’m interested to know about the evidence for the identification of the portrait of Ursula Pole, and would be grateful for any information you could kindly give me. The sitter used to be identified as Margaret Douglas, and I’ve done research on it for my biography of her, but every modern source I’ve consulted (and there aren’t many) describes it as a portrait of an unknown woman. My book is going to press soon, so time is pressing, and if you could kindly let me know about the identification as Ursula Pole I would be most grateful – and credit you for your help. Kind regards, Alison Weir.

  8. A very interesting blog. I’m related to Elizabeth St. John & Rev. Samuel Whiting. Is there anymore information on her and her parents?

  9. Hello! I have a question that I cannot find an answer to and I stumbled upon your page while googling… I am stumped. What is the name of the white cloth/fur that goes over a king’s robes that has what looks like little black triangles all over it? It almost looks like Dalmatian fur, but the spots are triangles. If you can help me, my job will thank you! And what amazing work you do on this blog. You go girl!

  10. I just discovered your interesting blog and have enjoyed reading about all the family. I am a descendant of the St. John family through my 3rd great grandmother. My great grandfather (not the St. John surname) immigrated to the U.S. from Britain in the 1880s and I’m just now getting around to researching the family. What a pleasant surprise. I discovered such an interesting relative in William Stukeley and his quest for conservation of Stonehedge and Avebury, among others.

    I look forward to reading your past blogs as time permits. Is there a place I can go to read about you, the blogger? I’m not sure where to find that information. Bravo on your efforts to champion the St. John women.

    Thank you.


  11. Let’s not forget poor old Ellen Rose St John who died in poverty in a Croydon bedsit in 1942 and lies buried in an unmarked grave in Croydon Cemetery. And her mother Ellen Medex who was buried in Highgate Cemetery as Viscountess Bolingbroke. I’ve uncovered an awful lot about the over the past three years

  12. Dear Gentlewoman,
    I just found your blog. I am delighted. I am a descendant of the early St. Johns so your material is right up my alley. I cannot thank you enough. What I’ve seen so far greatly enhances what I already have found in so many ways. Can’t wait to dig in further. Thank you!

      • I’m descended from Sir Oliver St. John (d. 1437) and Margaret Beauchamp. I can’t claim much knowledge re these ancient ancestors. I’d spent years working on the family in North America but never ventured into European sources. Then came the internet, then retirement and a very helpful cousin who had spent years working on the family roots in England. Now, it’s a whole new world to explore. Your blog is filling in so much and leading me to areas of history of which I know little. Thank you!

      • I just recently found Friends of Lydiard Park – and became a member. I’ve started going through their materials. It is seemingly an endless mine which I will be working in for a long time.

  13. I love this blog, it’s filled in a couple of gaps for me (special thank you for mentioning the names of George’s sons by Mary Beauclerk, as I only knew the Barton surname and it was annoying me!) I had a lovely walk around the grounds of Lydiard Park a couple of years ago, but didn’t realise that the St Johns had owned it at the time.

    I’m not related to the St Johns, but my dad’s godmother was the lovely Anna Patricia Gibbs, whose mother was Margaret Olivia St John =) Her father was Guy Melvil Gibbs, whose family owned Tyntesfield House in Somerset. My gran was in service to Anna’s family and when she fell pregnant, Anna asked if she could be godmother – not a bad connection to make when your family is descended from farm labourers and servants!

    I’m a huge family history nut, but my own family is currently driving me crazy, so it’s nice to have some aristocratic bloodlines to research for a break.

    Some of my favourite childhood memories include eating Kit Kats and chocolate biccies by the big open fire at Anna’s house in Cirencester =)

    I’d love to hear from anybody who knew Anna or any of her close relatives, or has first hand accounts of them.

    (I was also very interested in the piece on Nonsuch, as I used to go out with a guy from Epsom so I spent a lot of time nearby. Regrettably never visited Nonsuch Park though!)

  14. I am a descendant of Catherine St John(11th great grandmother) who married Edmund Richmond alias Webb..My line descends through her son John and grandson Edward, both of whom are mentioned in her will written in 1634. ” To my grandchild Edward Webb, son of John Webb, that £20 that his father oweth me and my silver bole with the St. John arms on it, given me by my sister. .” Edward married Grace Chamberlayne and in her will of 1667 she makes her son Edmund executor and gives a bequest, “… to my son Edmund Webb my silver tobacco box which was my father’s…” This Edmund had married,, in 1661, Jane Smith my 8th times grandmother. This couples son, John Richmond Webb(1667-1724) was a famous soldier, MP and Commander of England’s land forces in 1712. He married twice and I descend from a daughter of his second marriage. He mentions this daughter Frances in his will written in 1723. “…my daughters .Katherine and Frances which I have by my now wife, and to their heir equally
    divided…” Frances was born in London in 1719 but spent most of her life in Wiltshire. She married Thomas Humphreys there in 1735 and I descend from their son Francis Richmond Humphreys another soldier who died in Wiltshire in 1797. The family continued to live around Devizes until my own great grandfather immigrated in Australia in the late 1880’s. I count myself lucky that most of this line left firm documentation to help prove the connection including a number of wills.

  15. Dear Good Gentlewoman,
    What an amazing website you have! It is visually beautiful and I have found your posts to be fascinating!! I am so happy to have found your website as well as the research on the St. Johns. While I claim no descent from them, I think it is nonetheless interesting.
    The Merry Wife of Windsor

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