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St Albans, Henry Jermyn, Eakl Of

ST ALBANS, HENRY JERMYN, EAKL OF (c. 1604-1684), was the third son of Sir Thomas Jermyn of Rushbroke, Suffolk. At an early age he won the favour 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 a prominent part in the army plot of 1641, and on its discovery fled to France. Returning to England in 1643, ne resumed his personal attendance on the queen, and after being raised to the peerage as Baron Jermyn of St Edmundsbury in that year, he accompanied Henrietta Maria in 1644 to France, where he continued to act as her secretary. In the same year he was made governor of Jersey, whence he conducted the prince of Wales to Paris. He conceived the idea of ceding the Channel Islands to France as the price of French aid to Charles against the parliament; and in other respects also he meddled with foreign politics, his great influence with the queen being a continual embarrassment to royalist statesmen, especially after the execution of Charles I. When Charles II. went to Breda, Jcrmyn 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. 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., being instrumental in arranging the preliminaries of the treaty of Dover in 1669. In 1664 he obtained a grant of land in London near St James's Palace, where Jermyn Street preserves the memory of his name, and where he built the St Albans' market on a site afterwards cleared for the construction of Regent Street and Waterloo Place. The earl, who was a friend and patron of Abraham Cowley, died in St James's Square, for the building of which he had provided the plan in January 1684. St Albans being 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, and after the latter's death to Thomas's brother Henry Baron Dover (q.v.).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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