Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mohun, John (1592?-1640)

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MOHUN, JOHN, Baron Mohun (1592?–1640), royalist politician, was the only son of Sir Reginald Mohun, bart., who died 26 Dec. 1639, by his second wife, Philippa, daughter of John Heale. He matriculated from Exeter College, Oxford, on 15 Nov. 1605, aged 13, graduated B.A. on 7 July 1608, and in 1610 was entered as a student at the Middle Temple. In the parliaments of 1623–4 and 1625 he sat for the borough of Grampound, Cornwall, and was among the supporters of the Duke of Buckingham, through whose favour he was recommended in 1620 for the office of vice- warden of the Stannaries. During 1626 and 1627 he was a member of several commissions in the west of England, including one of inquiry into the acts of Sir John Eliot as vice-admiral of Devon. At the general election in 1627-8 Mohun was put forward by the court party for the county of Cornwall in opposition to Eliot and Coryton, but lost the election. Sir James Bagg, the duke's chief agent in the west, thereupon pressed for Mohun's elevation to the peerage, and on 15 April 1628 he was created Baron Mohun of Okehampton, Devonshire. The circumstances of this election came before a special committee, and Eliot obtained the appointment of a committee of the House of Commons to investigate Mohun's conduct as vice-warden of the Stannaries. A formal charge was brought against him, and a conference of the lords and commons followed, but in consequence of the death of Eliot's wife the matter was allowed to drop. In 1634 he charged Bagg with having ' cozened the king of 20,000l.,' and the case came on in the Star-chamber. The king sent a guarded letter to the lords of the council, and after the inquiry had lasted some years, Mohun seems to have been fined 500l.' for undue inquiries into his majesty's debts.' A man of turbulent disposition, he quarrelled with another peer at the christening in 1633 of James, duke of York (Stafford, Letters and Despatches, i. 166).

Mohun died on 28 May 1640 (Vivian, Visitations of Cornwall, p. 324). His wife was Cordelia, daughter of Sir John Stanhope, and relict of Sir Roger Aston, who was buried at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, Middlesex, 2 Oct. 1639. She was sister to Anne Cokayne, mother of Sir Aston Cokayne [q. v.], who in his 'Small Poems of divers sorts,' 1658, included (pp. 80-2) a poetical letter to 'John, lord Mohun, my uncle-in-law,' and some lines (pp. 156-7) on his visit to Mohun's house in Cornwall. Letter xlii. of book i. sect. 5 of James Howell's 'Letters,' dated 30 Aug. 1632, and descriptive of the inquisition, is addressed to Mohun, and Massinger, to whom Sir Aston Cokayne introduced him, dedicated to him, as his 'especial good lord,' the play of the 'Emperor of the East.'

[Foster's Alumni Oxon. (1500-1714); Maxwell-Lyte's Dunster and its Lords, p. 37; State Papers, 1625 et seq.; Forster's Sir John Eliot, passim; Epistolæ Ho-Elianæ, ed. Jacobs, i. 290-292; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. i. 364, iii. 1285.]

W. P. C.