ST. PAUL (ST. POLL), Sir George (1562-1613), of Melwood Grange, Epworth and Snarford, Lincs.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1604-1629, ed. Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris, 2010
Available from Cambridge University Press



Family and Education

b. 21 Nov. 1562,1 1st s. of Sir Thomas St. Poll† of Snarford, and Faith, da. of Vincent Grantham† of Goltho, Lincs.2 educ. Corpus Christi, Oxf. 1578; L. Inn 1580.3 m. 1583, Frances (d. 17 Aug. 1634), da. of Sir Christopher Wray†, c.j.c.p. 1574-92, of Glentworth, Lincs. 1da. d.v.p.4 suc. fa. 1582;5 kntd. c.1593; cr. bt. 29 June 1611.6 d. 28 Oct. 1613.7

Offices Held

J.p. Lincs. (Lindsey) 1584-d., (Holland and Kesteven) c.1593-d.;8 capt. militia, Lindsey c.1587-at least 1607;9 sheriff, Lincs. 1588-9;10 commr. sewers, Lincs. 1589, Fenland 1604, river Gleane, Lincs. and Notts. 1607, Lincoln, Lincs. 1608, Newark, Notts. 1610,11 gaol delivery, Grimsby, Lincs. 1592, 1598;12 dep. lt. Lincs. 1595-8;13 alderman, Grimsby by 1597;14 collector of Privy Seal loans, Lincs. 1597-8;15 commr. musters 1598,16 oyer and terminer, Midland circ. 1602-d.;17 steward of Wroak manor, Lincs. by 1603;18 commr. charitable uses, Lincs. 1607,19 Admlty. causes, 1608,20 subsidy 1608,21 aid for Prince Henry (Lindsey) 1609.22


St. Paul’s grandfather Sir George†, the first of the family to enter Parliament, was six times elected for Lincoln, and represented Lincolnshire in 1555.23 St. Paul himself, having twice served as a knight of the shire in 1589 and 1593, was recommended to the 1st Lord Burghley (William Cecil†) for a knighthood as ‘one of the best living of the gentlemen in the county’, and was duly honoured soon afterwards.24 At Burghley’s death, St. Paul tendered his services to Sir Robert Cecil†, whom he contacted again within days of Queen Elizabeth’s death in 1603, offering to serve ‘in Scotland or elsewhere’.25 Although St. Paul had been fined £40 by Grimsby’s corporation in 1597 for refusing the mayoralty, he was elected to represent the town in James’s first Parliament, together with his brother-in-law Sir William Wray.26

In the opening session St. Paul was among those appointed to consider the grievances propounded by Sir Edward Montagu* (23 Mar. 1604), which included the ecclesiastical courts and the suspension of nonconformist ministers.27 He was also named to the committee to recommend laws for continuance, repeal or revival (24 Mar.), and to accompany the Speaker on 12 Apr. with the thanks of the House for the king’s resolution of the Buckinghamshire election controversy.28 He was appointed to the conference with the Lords on Union with Scotland (14 Apr.), and named to two committees to strengthen the game laws (25 Apr. and 30 May), as well as those to reform abuses in the Exchequer committed against sheriffs and other accountants (5 May) and to consider the abuses of purveyance (7 May).29 As an ardent puritan, his chief interest was in religious measures. No Member was better qualified to sit on the committee proposed by Sir Francis Hastings* to consider, inter alia, how to increase the learned ministry (16 Apr.); and St. Paul himself introduced a bill on 5 June against scandalous and unworthy clergymen, ‘to make fit the ground and to weed’.30 He was the first Member appointed to the committee, and ordered to take care of the bill, which was reported by Sir Robert Wingfield on 20 June; however, it got no further than a first reading in the Lords.31

When Parliament met again after the failure of Gunpowder Plot, St. Paul was named to the committees to recommend ‘timely and severe proceeding against Jesuits, seminaries, and all other popish agents and practisers’ (21 Jan. 1606), and to consider a bill for an annual thanksgiving (23 January).32 He was also among those appointed to consider bills to improve the observance of the Sabbath (29 Jan.), prevent non-residence (5 Mar.) and restore deprived ministers (7 Mar.), as well as a private measure concerning his alma mater, Corpus Christi in Oxford (6 March).33 He was added on 21 Mar. to a committee for the learned ministry chaired by Thomas Wentworth I, and six days later moved for an early hearing for its report.34 He was also named to bill committees for two of the main legislative concerns of the session, for purveyance (30 Jan.) and supply (10 February).35 He was ordered to attend the committee of the commission for concealed lands on 12 May to give evidence against William Tipper, a Crown agent who had prosecuted one of his Lincolnshire kinsmen.36 His final duty was to assist the Speaker in ‘considering and setting down what shall be said concerning ministers and other ecclesiastical grievances’ and to present these to the king on 14 May.37

St. Paul perhaps arrived late for the third session, since he was not named to the committee for the bill against clerical pluralism and non-residence on 4 Mar. 1607. However, he was added to the committee five days afterwards, when the latter was expanded so that it might consider a further measure, this being to explain the Statute of 1571 for the reformation of disorderly clergymen.38 On 12 Mar. he complained of the ‘great dis-ease and inequality’ suffered by Members of the Commons attending conferences with the Lords, when they were required to stand bare-headed for long periods. He proposed a message to the Lords on the subject, and was added to the privileges committee to help with its preparation.39 When the session was interrupted by the Speaker’s illness on 23 Mar., St. Paul was among those appointed to consider precedents ‘the better to direct themselves what were meet to be done’.40 On 26 Mar. he acted as teller for an immediate hearing for counsel ‘now attending at the door, to the great charge of the parties’, concerning abuses in the Marshalsea.41 Other committees to which he was named included those for the confirmation of letters patent made on compositions with the king (15 May), for improving poor benefices (15 May), and for awarding legal costs to successful defendants (16 May).42 He was among those named on 18 May to draft an address proposed by Sir John Heigham for the better enforcement of the recusancy laws and the freer preaching of the gospel, and those entrusted with perusing the entries in the Journal concerning privilege during the current Parliament (19 June).43 Shortly before the prorogation he wrote to Cecil (now 1st earl of Salisbury) to complain that the new lord lieutenant of Lincolnshire, the 5th earl of Rutland, had passed him over in appointing his nephew Sir Thomas Grantham* as deputy, a post he felt he deserved, ‘for having held the place of deputy lieutenant and captain there [in Lindsey] for 20 years past, I cannot now learn to be commanded by those whom before I have had power to command’.44 Nevertheless, his application was unsuccessful. In 1609 his sister-in-law, the wife of Sir William Bowes†, offered to let her friend Lady Arbella Stuart, stay at one of St. Paul’s houses, and in the same year he was named, with Henry Yelverton*, as a trustee for Arbella’s monopoly of wine and usquebaugh in Ireland.45

In the fourth session St. Paul was named to the conference with the Lords on 15 Feb. 1610 at which Salisbury proposed the Great Contract to reform the king’s revenue.46 He was, as usual, concerned with the principal measures favoured by puritans, with appointments to bill committees intended to suppress pluralities (19 Feb.), facilitate acceptance of benefices by nonconformists (14 Mar.), prohibit profanity (30 May), and restrain excesses in apparel (22 June).47 He was among those chosen to attend the king on 28 May with a joint address against recusants.48 On 11 July he acted as teller against granting fifteenths with the subsidy.49 He left no trace on the inadequate records of the fifth session.

St. Paul devoted the last years of his life to rebuilding his ancestral home at Snarford. He also became known for his philanthropy, since having been left childless by the death of his only daughter in 1597, he devoted his ample resources, later estimated at £1,700 a year, to building and charity.50 He died on 28 Oct. 1613, and was buried at Snarford.51 In his funeral oration, preached as he had requested by Dr. John Chadwick, rector of Faldingworth, it was recalled that no less that six ‘learned and profitable preachers ... were brought up in the universities at his cost and charge’; that throughout his adult life he gave ‘ten old and poor men gowns and money every year’; and that he established a fund at Market Rasen to assist young tradesmen.52 His benefactions to Magdalene College, Cambridge and to the Bodleian, as well as to his own college, were matched by his generosity to individual scholars. In his will, dated 13 Oct. 1612, he provided for the payment of an annual exhibition to the schoolmaster of Market Rasen to be continued, and set aside £200 to be spent in building a hospital. Apart from two manors left to his next-of-kin, the eldest son of Sir Edward Tyrwhitt*, and another added to the endowment of Corpus, his wife was given a life-interest in all his real estate.53 She married Sir Robert Rich†, who was soon involved in litigation with Tyrwhitt. After her death Snarford passed to a distant cousin from Yorkshire, also named George St. Paul, who soon sold it, and no later member of the family sat in Parliament.54

Ref Volumes: 1604-1629

Authors: Paula Watson / Rosemary Sgroi


  • 1. C142/202/95.
  • 2. Lincs. Peds. (Harl. Soc. lii), 845-6.
  • 3. Al. Ox.; LI Admiss.
  • 4. C. Dalton, Wrays of Glentworth, i. 117.
  • 5. C142/202/95.
  • 6. CB, i. 57.
  • 7. C142/356/139; Lincs. N and Q, vi. 226.
  • 8. E163/14/8, f. 19; Hatfield House, ms 278; SP14/33, ff. 37v, 38v, 40.
  • 9. HMC Hatfield, xix. 153.
  • 10. List of Sheriffs comp. A. Hughes (PRO, L. and I. ix), 80.
  • 11. Lansd. 60, f. 189; C181/1, f. 74v; 181/2, ff. 47v, 74v, 119.
  • 12. HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 262.
  • 13. APC, 1595-6, p. 25; Lincs. AO, Yarb. 8/2/2.
  • 14. HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 282.
  • 15. E401/2583, ff. 43v-45; APC, 1597-8, pp. 132, 559.
  • 16. APC, 1598-9, p. 158.
  • 17. C181/1, ff. 18v, 131v; 181/2, ff. 6v, 170.
  • 18. E315/310, f. 5.
  • 19. Lincs. N and Q, x. 113.
  • 20. HCA 14/39, no. 217.
  • 21. SP14/31/1.
  • 22. SP14/43/107.
  • 23. Lincs. N and Q, vii. 2.
  • 24. Lansd. 69, f. 77.
  • 25. HMC Hatfield, viii. 325, xv. 17.
  • 26. HMC 14th Rep. VIII, 282; Dalton, i. 117-18.
  • 27. CJ, i. 151b.
  • 28. Ibid. 152b, 169b.
  • 29. Ibid. 172a, 184a, 199b, 202a, 229a.
  • 30. Ibid. 173a, 232b.
  • 31. Ibid. 237a, 243a, 991b.
  • 32. Ibid. 257b, 258b.
  • 33. Ibid. 261b, 277b, 278b, 279b.
  • 34. Ibid. 288a, 290b.
  • 35. Ibid. 261b, 266b.
  • 36. Ibid. 308a; Bowyer Diary, 148.
  • 37. CJ, i. 309a.
  • 38. Ibid. 350b.
  • 39. Ibid. 352a, 1030b, 1031a; Bowyer Diary, 232.
  • 40. CJ, i. 354a.
  • 41. Ibid. 354b.
  • 42. Ibid. 374a, b.
  • 43. Ibid. 375a, 386a.
  • 44. HMC Hatfield, xix. 152-3; Lincs. AO, Yarb. 8/2/2.
  • 45. Harl. 7003, f. 55; Dalton, i. 94-5, 120-1; CSP Dom. 1603-10, pp. 555, 594; CSP Ire. 1608-10, pp. 336, 414; C66/1789.
  • 46. CJ, i. 393b.
  • 47. Ibid. 396b, 410a, 434a, 442b.
  • 48. Ibid. 433b.
  • 49. Ibid. 448b.
  • 50. Lincs. N and Q, xiv. 54.
  • 51. Dalton, 120-2.
  • 52. J. Wilford, Mems. and Characters (1741), pp. 179-83.
  • 53. PROB 11/123, f. 188; Lincs. N and Q, xiv. 53-4.
  • 54. STAC 8/245/8; 8/279/29; Lincs. AO, LCS14/2; Chamberlain Letters ed. N.E. McClure, ii. 44.