Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 25, 2018
Webpage updated: February 25, 2018

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Various Lords Saint Levan have been Lords of the Manor of Stoke Damerel (Devonport).  This is not a history of the whole family but just those who have held the title of Lordship.  Saint Levan is the Ancient Parish of that name between Sennen and Saint Buryan parishes in West Cornwall.

FIRST LORD SAINT LEVAN (Baron from 1887-1908)

SIR JOHN SAINT AUBYN, 1st Baron Saint Levan, was born on October 23rd 1829, the eldest son of Sir Edward Saint Aubyn and Emma, his wife, who was the daughter of General Knollys.  On July 15th 1856 he married Lady Elizabeth Clementina Townshend, daughter of John, the fourth Marquess Townshend, a Rear-Admiral in the Royal Navy.  He served as Member of Parliament for West Cornwall from 1858 to 1885 and for Saint Ives from 1885 until he was created a Baron in 1887 and moved to the House of Lords.  He held the post of Special Deputy Warden of the Stannaries and was honorary Colonel of the 3rd Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry.  He was also Commodore of the Western Yacht Squadron.  Sir John Saint Aubyn, Lord Saint Levan, died on May 14th 1908.

SECOND LORD SAINT LEVAN (Baron from 1908-1940)

JOHN TOWNSHEND SAINT AUBYN, 2nd Baron Saint Levan,  was born at Ball's Park, Hertford, on September 23rd 1857.  He was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, following which he joined the Grenadier Guards in 1878.   He was ADC to General Sir Redvers Buller in Egypt and Sudan and in the Suakin Expedition of 1884.  He was present at the Battles of Teb and Tamai, for which he was mentioned in despatches and awarded the medal and clasp and bronze star.  In 1885 became ADC to General Brackenbury, when he took part in the Nile Expedition and the Battle of Kirbekan.  He was again mentioned in despatches and awarded two clasps.  [1]

From 1889 to 1890 he was ADC to Sir William Voeux, Governor of Hong Kong.  On June 23rd 1892 he married Lady Edith Hilaria Edgcumbe, the daughter of William, the fourth Earl of Mount Edgcumbe.  In 1892/93 he was Military Secretary to Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor-General of Canada.  He was promoted to captain and brevet major and lieutenant-colonel in 1902.  He commanded the Grenadier Guards from 1902 until 1908, becoming colonel in 1905, when he was created a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO).  He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (Military) (CB) in 1908, the year in which he inherited the title of Lord Saint Levan upon the death of his father.  In addition he had also served as honorary colonels of the Devonshire Regiment Royal Garrison Artillery and the Cornwall Regiment RGA.

He again went into active service during the Great War.  In October 1914 he was given the rank of temporary brigadier-general in charge of the Reserve Western Territorial Division.  After serving with the British Expeditionary Force in France he was made honorary brigadier-general in 1917.  At some point he was awarded the Order of the Red Eagle of Prussia.

Lady Saint Levan died in 1931 after a long illness and in 1933 his Lordship married Julia Georgiana Sarah, the widow of the 2nd Earl of Dartrey.  As Miss Wombwell, daughter of Sir George Orby Wombwell, she had first met his Lordship when he was a young officer and the society gossips of the time hinted that they would marry but it was to be fifty years before they did.

In his civilian life he was a Justice of the Peace on the West Penwith Bench, Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Cornwall, Deputy Warden of the Stannaries, and, of course, Lord of the Manor of Stoke Damerel.  In 1918 he succeeded the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe to become Provincial Grand Master of the Freemasons for Cornwall, a movement in which he held many other titles.  In Devonport he took a keen interest in the Home for the Blind, the Devonport Union Savings Bank and the Devonport Coal and Soup Society.  He continued his family's long patronage of the Royal Albert Hospital.  In 1931, thanks to his generosity, Plymouth purchased from him the land that now constitutes Central Park.  Although it cost some 110,000 it was considered to be worth at least four times more than that on the open market.  He was also responsible, through the Saint Aubyn Estates Ltd, for the development of the Manadon Estate.

Sir John Townshend Saint Aubyn, CB, CVO, Lord Saint Levan, died at the Rookery, Marazion, Cornwall, on the evening of Sunday November 10th 1940.  There was a private funeral at Saint Michael's Mount on Thursday November 14th 1940, with memorial services also taking place at Ludgvan Parish Church, Truro Cathedral and Stoke Damerel Parish Church.

Unfortunately John and his first wife had two daughters.  As two of John's brothers, Edward Stuart Saint Aubyn and Francis Michael Saint Aubyn, remained unmarried, the title passed to Mr Francis Cecil Saint Aubyn.

THIRD LORD SAINT LEVAN (Baron from 1940-1978)

FRANCIS CECIL SAINT AUBYN, 3rd Baron Saint Levan, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on April 18th 1895, the only son of the Honourable Arthur James Dudley Stuart Saint Aubyn and his wife, formerly Miss Helen Phillippo, daughter of Doctor J C Phillippo.  His father was the Inspector of the Jamaican Police.   He was educated at Eton and Sandhurst.  In 1916 he married the Hon. Clementina Gwendolen Catherine Nicolson, daughter of Lord Carnock.  He was wounded while serving with the Grenadier Guards in the Great War.  During the Second World War he served in the Grenadier Guards from 1939-42 and then became a Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the Land's End battalion of the Home Guard.  Lady Saint Levan spent the war years serving the Red Cross in Kent and later in Cornwall.  The third Lord Saint Levan died in 1978.

FOURTH LORD SAINT LEVAN (Baron from 1978-2013)

JOHN FRANCIS ARTHUR SAINT AUBYN, 4th Baron Saint Levan, was born in 1918 and he was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge.  He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross during the Second World War, when he served on mine-sweepers guarding the Russian convoys.  In 1948 he qualified as a solicitor.  In 1970 he married Susan Kennedy, the daughter of Major General Sir John Kennedy GCMG, governor of Rhodesia between 1946 and 1954.  John Francis Arthur Saint Aubyn inherited the title upon the death of his father in 1978.   Lady Susan Saint Levan died at Saint Michael's Mount on February 21st 2003, at the age of 69.  Lord John Francis Arthur Saint Aubyn OBE DSC DL passed away peacefully on April 7th 2013 at the age of 94 years and was buried in the family graveyard on Saint Michael's Mount.

FIFTH LORD SAINT LEVAN (Baron from 2013 to date)

JAMES PIERS SOUTHWELL SAINT AUBYN, 5th Baron Saint Levan, became the current Lord Saint Levan upon the death of his uncle in 2013.  Born on June 6th 1950, he is the son of the Honourable Oliver Piers Saint Aubyn (1920-2006), who was himself the second son of Francis Cecil Saint Aubyn (1895-1978), the 3rd Baron.