During the English Civil War, Sir Walter St John of Lydiard Park married his distant cousin Johanna. This wedding united the royalist and parliamentarian parts of the St John family.
Walter’s father, Sir John, was a staunch Royalist and lost three sons in battle during the Civil War. Johanna’s father, Oliver, was known as ‘ship-money Oliver’ and was an important figure in Oliver Cromwell’s government.
Sir Walter St John Lady Johanna St John
Walter and Johanna had their main home at Battersea, London. Walter was a politician and oversaw a school and various charities in London.
Lydiard Park was the couple’s country home and it supplied the family with fruit, vegetable, cheese and meat. Johanna was a keen herbalist and had elaborate herbal gardens on the lawns at Lydiard Park. These gardens were removed in the 18th century but examples of her plants can be seen in our Walled Garden.