Sir John  Mendenhall

Sir John Mendenhall

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Sir John Mendenhall
Born in Little, Wiltshire, , Englandmap
[sibling(s) unknown]
Husband of — married in Englandmap
Died in Ajmer, Rajasthan, Indiamap
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Name John Jr Mildenhall Born 1560 Great Bedwyn, Wiltshire, Eng Gender Male Died Jun 1614 Ajmer, India Buried Agra, India Person ID I36463 Mendenhalls of European Descent (v.2013-09-22) Last Modified 8 Dec 2010

Father John Mildenhale, b. Abt 1536, Marridge Hill, Wilts, Eng Family ID F16660 Group Sheet

Family 1 Elizabeth Bates, b. Abt 1562, England , d. 1602, Little Bedwin, Wilts, Eng

Married Abt 1579 England


1. Thomas Mildenhall, b. 1580, Marridge Hill, Wilts, Eng , d. 19 Mar 1639, Marridge Hill, Wilts, Eng

2. Robert Minolde, b. Abt 1582, England Family ID F10017 Group Sheet

Family 2 (Unknown), b. Abt 1560

Married Persia


1. (Son) Mildenhall, b. Abt 1586

2. (Daughter) Mildenhall, b. Abt 1588

John gained a good deal of experience on merchant ships and became aships captain in the employ of Richard Staper, a merchant of London. He hadtraveled as far as Constantinople and the Mesopotamian region by 1598. Latethat year he returned to London.

In Feb 1599, he set sail on an epic, ten year journey to the Far East. Heset sail first for Constantinople in the "Hector" and arrived in October.During that winter he heard that an expedition sponsored by Queen Elizabethto launch a British trading venture with India had failed. John decided todo it himself.

England wanted to enhance its economic and political power. To do thisthey had set up the British East India Company to establish trade rightsand possible monopolies with the Persians and the old Mogul Emperors ofIndia. Privy Council Papers of 1599-1600 record letters from QueenElizabeth to Sir John Harte, Alderman Banninge and their fellow adventurerssetting off for India. She wished them well and gave a few instructions.They had six ships financed by the Crown.

Previously in 1583 and in 1591 the British Levant Company had sentexpeditions to India and had failed. The 1599 expedition likewise failed,not even succeeding in getting around the Cape of Good Hope.

Meanwhile John was at Constantinople and decided to travel the overland route to reach the Mogul Emperor Akbar. He organized a large caravan of 600 persons.

John spent some time in Persia and bought and sold in order to augmenthis funds. He finally arrived in Lahore, India in 1603. His plan was toclaim to be the Queen's personal ambassador in order to arrange tradeconcessions. He could then greatly profit by offering these tradingprivileges to the English Crown. He spent three years in Agra. He saw theMogul and presented him 29 Persian horses and jewels and was veryconvincing as an ambassador. He requested trade facilities like thePortuguese had and non-interference in the war the British were fightingthen with the Portuguese. The Mogul refused. There were Portuguese Jesuitsthere who opposed the Englishman. The Mogul offered some money and sometrading privileges but John refused, deciding to wait him out.

While waiting he learned the language and in six months got all herequested from the Emperor. He even promised to have Queen Elizabeth'sambassador come to live there as a hostage for the peaceable behavior ofhis countrymen. They signed papers and then also signed papers with Akbar'sson, Emperor Jahangir, who ruled in Eastern India at that time.

This accomplished, John started on his way back to England in Oct 1606.He stopped over again in Persia and sent a letter to the East IndiaCompany. In it he declared what privileges he had obtained. He offered hisdocuments and services in exchange for £1500 and a high position in theEast India Company. The company deferred its decision saying John's demandswere unreasonable, particularly his demand for a high position. By 27 Jul1609 he was back in England and appealed to King James directly. He said hehad just completed ten years of travel and had discovered great trade inthe dominions of the Great Mogul. He even asked if he could conduct thetrade privileges himself. Finally the Company gave in and appointed him asa factor and paid him a substantial sum.

Within two years the English began establishing trading stations on theeast coast of India. From there the company grew to dominate the FarEastern trade and eventually the British Empire itself developed from that.

John remained at odds with the East India Company and couldn't wait toget out of London again. He sailed with a shipment from Staper and otherLondon merchants. He went to Constantinople and this time tried to sail onfarther, through the Black Sea. But the Turks attacked him there andpursued him for many miles. Finally they captured him and accused him ofbeing a Persian spy because he spoke their language. He was saved by thenearest English ambassador and continued on his journey. This was only thesecond journey by an Englishman through the Black Sea. He arrived in Apr1614 at Ajimer where the Indian Royal Court was located. But he became illand died within two months. Before he died he sent a letter back to London.It read, "English cloth will not sell; it is only bought by great men tocover their elephants and make saddles for their horses; for garments theyuse no such thing in these parts, neither in rain nor in cold."

John had married a Persian woman and kept her in Persia. In addition tothe children of his first wife he had two children by his Persian wife.When he died he left his estate to the children of his Persian wife. He wasburied in Agra, India in the Catholic Cemetery. It is the oldest knowngravestone of a Mendenhall and is the oldest English monument in India. Hewas the only Englishman to visit both of the royal courts of the EmperorsAkbar and Jahangir.

Name: Sir John /Mendenhall/[1]


  1. Source: #S-2050775427 Page: Ancestry Family Trees Data: Text:
  • The Mendenhalls: A Genealogy, Henry Hart Beeson, 1969
  • WikiTree profile Mendenhall-129 created through the import of 2010-09-14.ged on Jul 28, 2011 by Bob Carson. See the Changes page for the details of edits by Bob and others.
  • Source: S-2050775427 Title: Ancestry Family Trees Publication: Name: Name: Name: Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.;;;; Note: Ancestry Family Trees (Name: Name: Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.;;), Ancestry Family Trees (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Original data: Family Tree files submitted by Ancestry members.), _APID: 1030::0 CONT This information comes from 1 or more individual Ancestry Family Tree files. This source citation points you to a current version of those files. Note: The owners of these tree files may have removed or changed information since this source citation was created. CONT .

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Kevin Bacon - genealogy connections Sir John is 41 degrees from Kevin Bacon, 46 from AJ Jacobs and 62 from JK Rowling on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.