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The Earl of St Albans, from a portrait by Lely

Henry Jermyn, 1st Earl of Saint Albans, KG (25 March 1605 (baptised) – January 1684) was an English politician and courtier. He sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1625 and 1643 when he was raised to the peerage as Baron Jermyn. He was one of the most influential courtiers of the period, constantly devising and promoting schemes to involve foreign powers in the restoration of the monarchy, both before and after the execution of Charles I.

Quartered arms of Henry Jermyn, 1st Earl of St Albans, KG


Jermyn was the fourth but second surviving son of Sir Thomas Jermyn (1572–1645) of Rushbrooke, Suffolk, Vice-Chamberlain to Charles I, and his wife Catherine, daughter of Sir William Killigrew of Hanworth, Middlesex (a sister of Sir Robert). He was baptised at St Margaret's Lothbury, London on 25 March 1605.

In 1625 Jermyn was elected Member of Parliament for Bodmin, and was re-elected MP for the seat in 1626.[1] He was MP for Liverpool in 1628. He won the favour of Henrietta Maria of France, Queen consort of Charles I of England whose vice-chamberlain he became in 1628, and Master of the Horse in 1639.

In April 1640, Jermyn was elected MP for Corfe Castle in the Short Parliament together with his brother Thomas.[1] The brothers were both elected MPs for Bury St Edmunds in the Long Parliament in November 1640 and were active and ardent Royalists. Jermyn took a prominent part in the First Army Plot of 1641, and on its discovery fled to France. Returning to the Kingdom of England in 1643, he resumed his personal attendance on the queen. He was raised to the peerage as Baron Jermyn of St Edmundsbury on 6 September, ostensibly so that, should he fall into Parliamentarian hands, he would be beheaded, and not hanged, drawn and quartered. He accompanied Henrietta Maria in 1644 to France, where he continued to act as her secretary.

Also in 1643, Jermyn was made governor of Jersey, whence he conducted the Prince of Wales to Paris. When Charles II went to Breda, Jermyn remained in Paris with Henrietta Maria, who persuaded her son to create him Earl of St Albans in 1660. Gossip which the historian Hallam accepted as authentic, but which is supported by no real evidence, asserted that Jermyn was secretly married to the widow of Charles I. It has further been rumoured that he may have been the true father of at least one of her children, even perhaps of Charles II himself: for example, the Domestic State Papers for 13 August 1660 contain a report by Capt. Francis Robinson of Nathaniel Angelo, a Windsor clergyman, asserting that 'all the royal children were Jermyn's bastards'.

At the Restoration St Albans became Lord Chamberlain, and received other appointments. He supported the policy of friendship with France, and he contributed largely to the close secret understanding between Charles II and Louis XIV of France, arranging the preliminaries of the Treaty of Dover in 1669.

City of Westminster Green Plaque for Henry Jermyn, Earl of St Albans (1605–1684), located in Duke of York Street, London SW1

In the early 1660s he obtained a grant of land in London north of St James's Palace, building St James's Square and its surrounding streets, including Jermyn Street, and also St Albans market, on a site afterwards cleared for the construction of Regent Street and Waterloo Place. It was a grand design in itself, and from its inspiration grew the whole of the West End of London, so much so that the Survey of London (volume 29) acknowledges Henry Jermyn as the 'Father of the West End'.

He was a friend and patron of Abraham Cowley and Sir William Davenant. Although accused of having 'dissolute morals', he was really no more or less 'moral' than most other men of his time. He was much addicted to gambling, which was a very popular pastime in his era.

St Albans died in St James Square in January 1684. As he was unmarried, the earldom became extinct at his death, while the barony of Jermyn of St Edmundsbury passed by special remainder, together with his property, to his nephew Thomas Jermyn (1633–1703), and after the latter's death to Thomas's brother Henry Baron Dover.


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  • Adolph, Anthony (2012). The King's Henchman. Henry Jermyn: Stuart Spymaster and Architect of the British Empire. Gibson Square.


12 Annotations

vincent  •  Link

"...a man of dissolute morals, and much addicted to gambling...."
ST ALBANS, HENRY JERMYN, EARL OF (c. 1604-1684), was the third son of Sir Thomas Jermyn of Rushbroke, Suffolk. At an early age he won the favor of Queen Henrietta Maria, whose vice-chamberlain he became in 1628, and master of the horse in 1639. He was a consummate courtier, a man of dissolute morals, and much addicted to gambling. He was member for Bury St Edmunds in the Long Parliament and an active and reckless royalist. He took…
DOVER, HENRY JERMYN, EARL OF (c. 1636-1708), was the second son of Sir Thomas Jermyn, of Rushbroke, Suffolk, elder brother of Henry Jermyn, earl of St Albans (q.v.). lover gambler etc.…

michael j. gresk m.a.  •  Link

henry jermyn?? is jermyn st in st james, off regent st, in london named for him?? his family?? just curious..

David Quidnunc  •  Link

"one of the leading Catholics at court"

says a note in the L&M Volume 1 for 1 December 1660 (p 307)

vincent  •  Link

History of real estate developer St Albans:
In the 1660's, Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Albans, persuaded the King to give him land to the north east of St. James's Palace. On it he built St. James's Square, King Street, Charles II Street, Duke of York Street, St. James's Street, Haymarket and, of course, Jermyn Street. Many members of the aristocracy lived in this, then new area as it had very close proximity to the royal court. Jermyn Street was completed in the 1680's.

anonymous  •  Link

There is a rumour, gentlemen, that Henry, Lord Jermyn, secretly married the Queen Mother, and that might be the reason why Her Majesty told her son, Charles II, to make him an earl.

Pauline  •  Link

from L&M Companion
(?1604-84) A countier and diplomat 'of only middling accomplishments, who [rose] from nothing to a possession of considerable means which, by losing heavily at cards and keeping open house, he made to appear even greater than they actually were' (Gramont). He was attached to the service of Queen Henrietta-Maria from 1628, and was rumoured (wrongly) to have secretly married her in her widowhood. Ambassador to France 1644, 1660, 1667-9; Lord Chamberlain 1671-4.

jeannine  •  Link

From Grammont's footnotes

Henry Jermyn, Earl of St. Alban's, and Baron of St. Edmund's Bury. He was master of the horse to Queen Henrietta, and one of the privy-council to Charles II. In July 1660, he was sent ambassador to the court of France, and, in 1671, he was made lord-chamberlain of his majesty's household. He died January 2, 1683. Sir John Reresby asserts, that Lord St. Alban's was married to Queen Henrietta. "The abbess of an English college in Paris, whither the queen used to retire, would tell me," says Sir John, "that Lord Jermyn, since St. Alban's, had the queen greatly in awe of him; and indeed it was obvious that he had great interest with her concerns; but he was married to her, or had children by her, as some have reported, I did not then believe, though the thing was certainly so." -- Memoirs, p. 4. [Pepys says, in his Diary, Dec. 21st, 1660: -- "I hear that the Princess Royal hath married herself to young Jermyn, which is worse than the Duke of York's marrying the Chancellor's daughter, which is now publicly owned."] Madame Baviere, in her letters, says, "Charles the First's widow made a clandestine marriage with her chevalier d'honneur, Lord St. Alban's, who treated her extremely ill, so that, whilst she had not a faggot to warm herself, he had in his apartment a good fire and a sumptuous table. He never gave the queen a kind word and when she spoke to him he used to say, Que me veut cette femme?" Hamilton hints at his selfishness a little lower.… see note 45

Anthony Adolph  •  Link

I am very glad to see that Henry Jermyn has aroused some people's interest. He was an absolutely fascinating character, and has kept me interested for the last 16 years, during which I have researched his life and written his first ever biography. It is called "Full of Soup and Gold: the Life of Henry Jermyn" and is available from me at I must stress in placing this notice here that, whilst I obviously want to sell copies of my book, my main motive is not commercial, but simply to cover costs and to make more people aware of Jermyn.

Bill  •  Link

JERMYN, HENRY, first Earl of St. Albans (d. 1684), courtier; vice-chamberlain to Queen Henrietta Maria, 1628, and her master of the horse, 1639; M.P., Liverpool, 1628, Corfe Castle in Short parliament, and Bury St Edmunds in Long parliament; after being engaged in 'first army plot,' 1641, escaped to France, 1641; returned, 1643; secretary to Queen Henrietta Maria, commander of her body-guard; created Baron Jermyn, 1643; accompanied Henrietta Maria to France, 1644; governor of Jersey, 1644 : proposed to cede Jersey to France in exchange for help; persuaded Charles II to accept the terms offered by the Scots; remained at Paris till the Restoration; created Earl of St. Albans, 1660; lord chamberlain, 1674; as ambassador at Paris negotiated Charles II's marriage, a treaty with France (1667), and in 1669 preliminaries of treaty of Dover; planned St. James's Square and gave his name to Jermyn Street; the patron of Cowley, but satirised by Marvel).
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.

Bill  •  Link

Paint then St. Albans full of soup and gold,
The new Court's pattern, stallion of the old
Him neither wit nor courage did exalt,
But Fortune chose him for her pleasure's salt.
Paint him with drayman's shoulders, butcher's mien,
Membered like mule, with elephantine chin.
Well he the title of St. Albans bore,
For never Bacon studied nature more;
But age, allaying now that youthful heat,
Fits him in France to play at cards, and cheat.

Draw no commission, lest the Court should lie,
And, disavowing treaty, ask supply.
He needs no seal but to St. James's lease,
Whose breeches were the instruments of peace;
Who, if the French dispute his power, from thence
Can straight produce them a plenipotence.
Nor fears he the Most Christian should trepan
Two saints at once, St. German and Alban;
But thought the golden age was now restored,
When men and women took each other's word.

---Instructions to a Painter about the Dutch Wars, 1667. Andrew Marvel

Bill  •  Link

The web page Anthony Adolph cites above has extensive information on Jermyn and on the latest version of his biography.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

I couldn't make the Anthony Adolph page work ... it was there, but largely blocked off by blanks. But the reviews I could read at the bottom indicate that he thinks St.Jermyn was father to both Charles II and the Duke of York, as they looked like him and were way taller than Charles (as was St.Jermyn). Anyone else found a way to read it? No one has reviewed the book on Goodreads or Amazon.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.



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  • Dec