The founder of the family was Thomas Mildmay who was a merchant that manned his own stall in Chelmsford market, and then he prospered sufficiently to buy the principal house in the town from Richard Rich in 1527.
Nothing has been discovered about Thomas Mildmay’s early life and education.
Presumably he learnt the rudiments of accountancy and at his father’s prompting he obtained his first post in augmentations through his father’s dealings with Rich, who was the court’s first chancellor.
Henry Mildmay [1593-1668] was a grandson of Thomas. He was brought up at court and excelled in all manly exercises. He was once described as a “great flatterer of all persons in authority, and a spy in all places for them”. He was knighted at Kendal for his part in arranging King James’s only visit to Scotland in 1617.
In 1619 Henry married Anne Halliday, “through the king’s good offices” and bought Wanstead House in Essex from George Villiers, Marquess of Buckingham where he entertained the king in June of that year.
Henry sided with Parliamentarians during the Commonwealth period. He had his property confiscated at the Restoration though it was later restored unto his descendants. His grandson Benjamin in 1667 claimed the title of Baron FitzWalter, but at his death in 1771 his property passed to a cousin Carew Mildmay and then to his grand daughter Jane Mildmay.
Carew Hervey Mildmay [1691-1784] was the eldest son of Carew Hervey Mildmay [1596-1676] who had been adopted as heir of his uncle Sir Gawen Hervey of Marks in Essex.
He died at the age of 93 having also inherited estates in Somerset and Dorset on the death of his first wife.
Carew left his “immense possessions” to his spinster daughter Anne as her brother Carew [1717-1768] had died before her.
On Anne’s death five years later, the estates passed to her niece Jane Mildmay.
Jane Mildmay [1764-1857] inherited the Islington estate in 1784.
In 1786 she married Sir Henry Paulet St. John [1764-1808]. He added Mildmay to his name to ensure continuity of the property ownership.
Jane lived for fifty years after the death of her husband and in the 1840’s she leased property to build houses on the estate.
Jane St John-Mildmay sold land to the new railway that was built through the estate. The East and West India Docks and Birmingham Junction Railway opened in 1850 and was renamed The North London Railway in 1853.
Mildmay House became 9 & 10 Newington Green and later became a home for the Pennyfather’s nurses.