John Ridgely (1790-1867) was the first child born in Hampton Hall and third master of the estate. He became the heir after the untimely death of his elder brother, Charles Carnan Ridgely, Jr. (1783-1819). When his father Charles Carnan Ridgely died in 1829, the Hampton “empire” was largely reduced. John's inheritance encompassed only a courtesy entail of about 4,500 acres. John's life was not marked by the ambition or prominence of Hampton's first two masters. He never held public office; his interests were largely confined to his estate and its development and improvement. A family member later observed, “He had a great passion for horses and the out door life” and for driving carriages at “full speed,” whereby he “was accustomed to do the [10-mile] distance from the City to Hampton in an hour or less.” The leading American portraitist Thomas Sully (1783-1872) painted this flattering yet accurate depiction late in his lengthy career.

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