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The St John Triptych, Lydiard Tregoze

Written by Brian Robert Marshall

The triptych is an impressive and rare artefact created by the St John family of aristocrats who lived at Lydiard Park from 1420, when it came into the family by marriage, until the early 1940s when the local council purchased Lydiard Park and its associated Lydiard House stately home. The last of the line, or at least the only one who was legitimate, the 6th Viscount St John, moved to the New Forest where he died in 1974 without issue.

The triptych (more properly called a polyptych as it has more than three panels) is to be found in the nearby Church of St Mary. It is a glorious vanity project designed to show the St John of Lydiard Tregoze family’s link to Royalty. The link seems to be thus. One Margaret Beauchamp (b. 1410) was married several times, firstly to Sir Oliver St John by whom she had two sons and five daughters before Oliver’s death in 1437. The widowed Margaret remarried John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset, by whom she had one daughter, Margaret Beaufort (b. 1443). Margaret Beaufort married, firstly, John de la Pole at the age of seven. That marriage was annulled after three years largely on the grounds of consanguinity. At this stage the links to Royalty start to crystallize when the then King Henry VI married one of his half-brothers, Edmund Tudor, to the still-juvenile Margaret in 1455 when she was twelve. The marriage didn’t last long; Edmund died in November 1456 in captivity during the Wars of the Roses.

In January 1457 Margaret produced their only child, Henry Tudor, who was to become Henry VII in 1485 after winning the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry’s second son, also Henry, succeeded to the throne in 1509 on the death of his father thus becoming Henry VIII and father to the eventual Queen Elizabeth.

If I have interpreted the facts correctly, the first significant St John, Oliver, was the half-brother of Margaret Beaufort who became the mother of Henry VII (and known at the Royal Court as "My Lady the King's Mother"), grandmother to Henry VIII and great-grandmother to Elizabeth I. Oliver then was presumably half-uncle to Henry VII and so on.
by Brian Robert Marshall

Created: Tue, 24 Jun 2014, Updated: Tue, 24 Jun 2014

2 images use this description:

SU1084 : The St John Triptych (part), Church of St Mary, Lydiard Tregoze (2) by Brian Robert Marshall
SU1084 : The St John Triptych (part), Church of St Mary, Lydiard Tregoze (1) by Brian Robert Marshall

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