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James Johnston

James was my 8th great grandfather from my grandfather Gray’s line, through the Willis line. He was baptized in 1655, and was the 4th son of Lord Warriston  Archibald Johnston, who was executed in 1663 by Charles II, for serving under Cromwell.

The Johnston family fled to Holland to escape persecution. James would go on to study law.  He would not return to England until about 1688. Later he would go on to become Secretary of State for Scotland.

He married Catherine Poulett in Salisbury in the year of 1696. She was the daughter of John the 2nd Baron and Catharine Nee Vere. This marriage brought no children. His second marriage was to Lucy in 1716. Lucy was the daughter of Thomas Claxton of Dublin and Mary Pearce.

The King (George I), and Queen Caroline, were his guests at home at Twickenham. James was one of the first to construct a home on the Thames river. John James was the architect of the mansion that took 35 years to build. It was known as Orleans House after 1813. The grounds were very involved as well with canals, an icehouse, kitchen garden, wilderness, grotto, and a fruit garden. A special room was added for entertaining Queen Caroline, James Gibbs was the architect for the addition which was a baroque octagonal room.






Johnston was on the House of Commons of Great Britain for Lichester from 1708 to 1710, and for Calne from 1710 to 1713. Johnston died in Bath in May of 1737. His eldest daughter Lucy was baptized at Twickenham on July 7th, 1717. She married General George Preston, Colonel of the Scots Greys. His son James Johnston born May 21 1721 was an army officer, Colonel of Royal Horse Gurads then Colonel of the Scots Greys following the death of his brother in law. James, married Charlotte, daughter of George Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax. After Charlotte’s death he married his own first-cousin, Frances Carter, widow of Philip Twysden and mother of Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey.

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