Henry St. John's gifts (1616, 1618)
Lower Library E.9.20, A.1.22
Two books were gifted to the Library by Henry St John (1652-1715). Father of the infamous 1st Viscount of Bolingbroke, he was described as a 'typical Restoration rake' and a 'man of pleasure'. In 1685 during a supper party brawl he ran through Sir William Estcourt with his sword and was condemned to death but spared after his mother paid a £16,000 fine.
Alongside a fledgling political career as MP for Wootton Bassett Henry St John was admitted to Caius in 1688 as a fellow commoner but one year later he transferred to St John’s College in Oxford. Fellow commoners customarily left a gift of plate upon leaving – perhaps he donated these books to the Library instead. The peerage still survives today and is currently held by the 10th Viscount St John.