TREWYNNARD, James (c.1505-72 or later), of Budock, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1505, yr. s. of James Trewynnard of Trewinnard by Philippa, bro. of Philippa; bro. of William. m. (1), 1da.; (2) c.1559, Philippa, da. and coh. of Nicholas Carminowe of Trenowth, wid. of Hugh Boscawen of Tregothnan, s.p.2

Offices Held

Dep. capt. Pendennis castle, Cornw. by 1552.3


James Trewynnard was in his twenties when he was returned to Parliament as the senior Member for Liskeard. At the time of his election he was probably a student attending an inn of court, perhaps Lincoln’s Inn since it was the one favoured by Cornishmen: there is no record of his admission to an inn, but in 1544, when he appeared as counsel in a case at the Truro general sessions, he was described as ‘a man greatly studied in the laws of the realm’. His father, who was apparently not long dead in 1529, may have been a dependant of the receiver-general of the duchy of Cornwall, Sir John Arundell, whose support for his master was the subject of a complaint in the court of requests early in the reign of Henry VIII; it was presumably to Arundell that the young Trewynnard was indebted for his first seat. In the spring of 1536 the King asked that those who had sat in the Parliament of 1529 should be re-elected to its successor, and Liskeard probably returned Trewynnard and his fellow Henry Pyne for a second time.4

While he was in London, Trewynnard frequented that haunt of lawyers, the church of St. Dunstan in the West, Fleet Street, and a conversation which he had there with a priest on Sunday 26 Mar. 1536 (during the last session of the Parliament of 1529) about a benefice in the presentation of Lady Russell later became the subject of litigation. Trewynnard and his brother William obtained a lease of this benefice from Lady Russell, and his connexion with the wife of the lord warden of the stannaries and high steward of the duchy of Cornwall helps to explain Trewynnard’s election to Parliament in 1547 and 1554: the same patron may also have favoured his return in 1539 and 1542, two Parliaments for which the names of nearly all the Cornish Members are lost. He had no known personal link with the borough which he and Reginald Mohun represented in 1547, but at Penryn he was a man of some importance, living at nearby Budock and being deputy captain of the royal fort commanding the marine approach to the town; his election there, unlike his fellow Thomas Mathew’s, accorded with Queen Mary’s request that Members should be local men. Unlike Mathew again, Trewynnard was not one of those prosecuted in the King’s bench for leaving this Parliament early and without permission. That he did not sit in the Commons again is perhaps to be explained by the death in the following spring of the 1st Earl of Bedford, who as Baron Russell had probably used his great influence on Trewynnard’s behalf.5

His experience at Pendennis was doubtless of use to Trewynnard when in 1560 he was appointed to survey St. Michael’s Mount: he had probably resigned the post on his marriage to Philippa Boscawen as he went to live with her at Tregothnan higher up the Fal estuary. Soon after this marriage he became involved in a bitter dispute with his stepson John Boscawen and the young man’s guardian John Carminowe over some livestock. Matters came to a head on 8 Feb. 1560 when there was a skirmish between the two parties, in which Trewynnard was injured and his companion Carew Courtenay was killed. Following his wife’s death Trewynnard gave up living at Tregothnan and appears to have left Cornwall for a time; in 1564 or not long afterwards, as James Trewynnard of the county of Devon, he brought an action against Thomas Herle regarding lands in Kenwyn and elsewhere in the neighbourhood of Truro. Herle was a nephew of Trewynnard’s late wife and the lands in question appear to have formed part of the property divided between the elder Nicholas Carminowe’s coheirs Elizabeth Herle and Philippa Trewynnard; as Herle pointed out, Trewynnard had no claim to any part of this inheritance. Five years later Herle had further cause for complaint against Trewynnard who had entered his property at Killifreth in Kenwyn and had carried off 100 gallons of black tin. By this date Trewynnard was probably living at Kenwyn, where on 6 Oct. 1572 he contributed to the subsidy on an assessment of lands worth £5 a year. His activities in his last years are not easily distinguishable from those of his nephew and namesake, but he probably died in the 1570s. His heir appears to have been his daughter Jane, who married Thomas Harris alias Roscrow.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Aged ‘38 or thereabouts’ in 1543, St.Ch.2/31/161. Vis. Cornw. ed. Vivian, 47, 408; Req.2/10/30; C3/31/86; 142/138/13.
  • 3. Stowe 571, f. 45v.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, iii.; C1/1110/5; 142/78/42; Req. 2/3/88; St.Ch.2/18/71.
  • 5. Req.2/10/30; E179/87/172.
  • 6. CPR, 1558-60, p. 319; St.Ch.5/T18/4, T22/31, H77/33; Vis. Cornw. 47, 205, 408; C3/178/1; E179/88/229, m. 2v.