Bolingbroke Grove, SW11

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Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke (September 16, 1678 – December 12, 1751) was a politician and political philosopher who is credited with being the founding father of modern Tory ideology. He was a leader of the Tories and, despite his antireligious views, supported the Church of England politically. he was created Viscount Bolingbroke in 1712. He backed the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 which sought to overthrow the new king the Hanoverian George I. Escaping to France he became foreign minister for the Pretender. He was outlawed for treason, but later changed his mind and was allowed to return to England in 1723. More pertinently, he had inherited the lordship of Battersea manor and spent much time at the Manor House which was close to the parish church of Saint Mary Battersea. The house itself dated back to the late Elizabethan/early Stuart period but became known as Bolingbroke House by the 1760s because of its ownership by the St John family. On his return, his properties that had been confiscated from him were returned, but he failed to revive his political career. His political ideas however had a far greater influence, inspiring Voltaire, and the American patriots John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in their republican views. He died aged 73 and was buried in St Mary’s along with his second wife, who had died a year before him. A monument with medallions and inscriptions composed by Bolingbroke was erected to their memory. Much of the house had been demolished by the 18thCentury and what remained was the house’s north wing and stables, though the estate became crowded with industrial buildings associated with the manufacture of alkali and suffered subsequent decline. The house was demolished in 1925.

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