The House 2


On his wife's inheritance of Swainston it appears that Sir Richard lost interest in St. John's other than as a source of income as it was let to a number of gentlemen from 1834. The first was the Reverend J. Fowler until 1839 when his place was taken by E. Grossmith, Esq., who in turn was followed in 1841 by J. Fazakerly, Esq. In 1843 Sir Richard himself moved back until 1852 when the house was let to Augustus Frederick Hamilton, Esq., who stayed until 1861.


Augustus Frederick Hamilton, Esq., lived in the area for some time and died on the 17th March 1871 aged 83 at Wilmington House, St. John's Park. He had been an Attorney in the Supreme Court of Judicature at Calcutta, and when he died left in his Will £500 to the poor of the parish of St. Helens, which then included the St. John's area.


As early as 1833 land was put out to lease and by 1840 East Hill Road was laid out with the building of villas beginning shortly afterwards. When Sir Richard Godin Simeon died on 4th January 1854 the Estate was receiving £260 per year in rents, and in the same year St. John's Park began to be laid out as we know it today.


On the death of his father John Simeon became Sir John, Bart. and inherited the Estates of St. John's and Swainston. As he had little interest in St. John's it was rented out firstly to Mr. Hamilton who had already been there for some time and then in 1861 to Sir Edward Westby Nunn who owned two seats in County Wexford, Hill Castle and St. Margaret.


In 1862 Sir John came back to the house in which he had been born, until 1864 when it was let to Mrs. Helen Gladstone, sister of the famous liberal Prime Minister for a couple of years. She had previously lived at the Priory between St. Helens and Seaview for some time. As Sir John was Liberal M.P. for the Island for some years it is possible that Mrs. Gladstone heard of St. John's from her famous brother. (In Victorian times some spinsters were called Mrs. usually as a mark of respect). She was still living at St. John's in 1866 when it was owned by Henry Thompson.


In 1858 £34,000 was still outstanding on the mortgage raised by Sir Richard Godin Simeon and the leasees began to wonder exactly who owned St. John's and how valid their leases were, so that in 1861 the Estate was the subject of an Act of Parliament, the 'Sir John Simeon's Leasing Act'. This Act cleared up the matter by confirming the leases already granted and allowed Sir John to grant still more leases. By the time the Act was passed the Estate was receiving £760 per year in rents.


In the time of Edward Simeon the grounds of St. John's were bounded by Appley Rise and what is now Marlborough Road and extended to the present site of St. Johns Station in the west and Westridge Garage in the south. However, Simeons had been losing much land to housing estates such as St. John's Park and in 1865 Sir John decided to sell the remainder by auction.


A recent map showing the extent of the estate at the time of the auction.

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