The first St Quintin to arrive in England was Herbert who was one of William the Conqueror ‘s knights, and came from the capital of Picardy which was an ancient region of northern France. Herbert St Quintin was duly granted lands in the East Riding of Yorkshire towards the end of the 11th century. The St Quintin family were extensive landowners in the region for centuries, and in the 13th century they acquired land at Harpham, near Driffield, that the family still owns today. Harpham remained the family’s base in Yorkshire until late in the 17th century when the manor of Scampston was acquired.
Until the seventeenth century the St Quintin's remained a middling ancient gentry family of the East Riding but William St Quintin (b.1579) broke this mould by going into public office. He was created a baronet 1642 and died 1649. His eldest son, Henry St Quintin (b. 1605), succeeded his father as 2nd baronet. He moved the family from Harpham to Scampston and all that now remains of the original manor house is earthworks at Harpham, though the family continued to be transported to Harpham for burial.
The 3rd baronet, William St Quintin (b.1662) had a career in public office that made a considerable difference to the family's wealth. St Quintin entered Parliament in 1695 as member for Kingston upon Hull, and served as the city's MP in eleven parliaments. A capable official, he held a series of responsible and lucrative posts: from 1698 to 1701 he was a Commissioner of Customs, from 1706 to 1713 he was a Commissioner of Revenue in Ireland and from 1714 to 1717 a Lord of the Treasury. In 1717 he became Commissioner of the Alienation Office, and in 1720 was appointed joint Vice-Treasurer, Receiver General and Paymaster of Ireland, extremely lucrative offices which he held until his death.
The estates and title passed to another William St Quintin (b. 1699), the son of William St Quintin senior's younger brother, Hugh St Quintin, and his wife Catherine Chitty. He became MP for Thirsk in 1722 and in 1724, a year after the death of his uncle, William St Quintin married Rebecca Thompson, daughter and heiress of Sir John Thompson (later lord mayor of London). He carried on the expansion of the estates in the East Riding using his wife's money, and between 1724 and 1748 and employed Lancelot 'Capability' Brown to landscape the grounds at Scampston. Of their eight children, only two survived their father, William St Quintin (b.1729) and Mary St Quintin (b.1735). William St Quintin junior had married Charlotte Fane, who was vastly wealthy. However, they had had no children and William St Quintin had no surviving brothers, so the baronetcy expired when he died in 1795.
He was succeeded to the family estates by his nephew, William Thomas Darby (b.1770), the son of Mary St Quintin and her husband, Admiral George Darby, who assumed the surname and arms of the St Quintin family in 1795 and held the estates until his death in 1805. However, the assets he inherited from his grandfather had been depleted by mounting debts - £126,550 in 1785 when Sir William St Quintin had had to flee abroad and then sell quite a lot of property.
William Thomas (Darby) St Quintin followed his uncle's example, selling off estates in the 1790s, particularly to the Sykes family whose Sledmere estate was just to the south of Scampston. However, instead of consolidating his position he went on to build the new St Quintin house at Scampston 1795-1800 and his son, Matthew Chitty Downes St Quintin (b.1800), inherited the problem.
Matthew Chitty Downes St Quintin was a JP and colonel of the 17th Lancers. He married Amy Elizabeth Cherry in 1850 and their son, William Henry St Quintin was born a year later. They had no more children until their other sons were born in 1859 and 1861 respectively. The years intervening were tragic. Matthew St Quintin had succeeded to badly mismanaged estates when only five years old and he spent years squandering away £90,000 of what was left. He had not married until he was 50 years of age and it quickly became apparent to his wife that he was mentally ill. With the help of the rest of the family she tried to get him certified, keeping a full diary of his condition and the prognoses of doctors in 1857. His symptoms suggest manic depression (with his mania focused on selling estates) either solely caused by or complicated by diabetes. He was paranoid, manic and frantically excited at times, and at other times passive and childlike causing one doctor to name his condition as 'imbecility'. The children were born after his wife had succeeded in legally transferring the management of the estates to relatives.
William Herbert St Quintin (b.1851) married Violet Helen Duncombe in 1885 and they had one daughter, Margery Violet St Quintin. William Herbert St Quintin had a long career in local politics, being a JP from 1875 through to his death and an alderman from the time of the formation of the Council in 1889. He was High Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1899 and Deputy Lieutenant of the East Riding. He was a naturalist with abiding interests in hunting, fishing, falconry, ornithology and entomology. His collection of rare birds included snowy owls from Norway and secretary birds from the Transvaal. He also had one Tui from New Zealand. The centre of the collection was great bustards from Spain, which he successfully bred. This bird, ironically, had been hunted to extinction in the East Riding only a few decades before. William Herbert St Quintin died in 1933 when the St Quintin name itself became extinct.
Violet St Quintin outlived her husband by ten years when the estates passed into the L'Estrange Malone family through her daughter's marriage to Lt Col E G S L'Estrange Malone. In 1959 the estates passed to their daughter, Lady Legard, wife of Sir Thomas Legard, 14th Bart (grandparents of the present owner, Christopher Legard).
The Legard family originate from Anlaby near Hull (since 1100's) and more recently (since 1630) from Ganton which is just a few miles up the road from Scampston.