TRENCHARD, Henry (c.1652-94), of Lytchett Matravers, Dorset.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1652, 5th but 4th surv. s. of Thomas Trenchard of Wolveton, Charminster by Hannah, da. of Robert Henley of Henley, Som.; bro. of John Trenchard and Thomas Trenchard I. educ. Trinity, Oxf. matric. 29 Mar. 1667, aged 15; M. Temple 1668, called 1675. unm.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Dorset, Poole and Mdx. 1679-80, Dorset 1689-90; freeman, Poole 1679, recorder Aug.-Oct. 1688; dep. lt. Dorset May-Oct. 1688 j.p. June 1688-d., commr. for encroachments, New Forest 1691.2


According to the government interrogators in 1683, Trenchard was initiated into high politics by his brother John at an early age, and received 1,000 guilders from du Moulin for his services in dispersing Dutch propaganda among Members during the third Dutch war. A lawyer, he became a member of the Green Ribbon Club and the King’s Head Club, and was ordered to be taken into custody on 25 June 1678. The cause and duration of his first spell of detention are not known, but he was presumably released in time for the general election. He was returned to the three Exclusion Parliaments for Poole. It was probably John Trenchard who sat on at least the majority of the 48 committees to which ‘Mr Trenchard’ was appointed in these Parliaments, though Trenchard himself was marked by Shaftesbury as ‘honest’, voted for the first exclusion bill, and was certainly named to the committee of elections and privileges in 1679 and 1680. An information was lodged against him in July 1683, alleging that he had spoken factiously about setting up Monmouth and the ‘black box’. He surrendered himself, and was bound over in his own recognizance of £1,000 and two sureties of £500 each, which he seems to have found without difficulty. He was discharged at the beginning of Michaelmas term, and applied for leave to go overseas in December. If he did leave the country, he returned for the 1685 elections. It is not known whether he stood himself at Poole against the Tory William Ettrick, but he canvassed for the Whigs at Christchurch, where Ettrick’s father was eventually elected. Orders were again issued for Trenchard’s apprehension on 19 May.3

Trenchard was prominent locally in James II’s attempted reconciliation with the dissenters in 1688. He appears to have given the requisite undertaking in favour of the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws, for he was nominated as recorder of Poole in the new charter and approved as court candidate. He lost his recordership when the old charter was restored to Poole, but nevertheless finished top of the poll in 1689. He appears to have regarded his record as ‘prison graduate’, not to mention loans to the Government of £4,000 on the security of the present aid, as deserving of some reward, in spite of his tergiversation in 1688, for he petitioned for the auditorship of crown revenues in Wales. He was not active in the Convention, but if all the references in the Journals are to Trenchard rather than to his youthful nephew Thomas Trenchard II, he may have served on nine committees, including those for suspending habeas corpus, restoring corporations and hearing the petition of his kinsman George Speke. He obtained leave for a fortnight on 31 Dec., though he supported the disabling clause in the bill to restore corporations. He was not re-elected, though it is clear that he was highly prosperous. He bought an estate at Hilfield, and took over Bloxworth from the heirs of (Sir) George Savage. He died on 2 Oct. 1694, leaving all his property to his brother John.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Hutchins, Dorset , iii. 327.
  • 2. Poole archives, B17; CSP Dom. 1687-9, pp. 201, 290-1; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1329.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1678, p. 246; July-Sept. 1683, pp. 146, 189, 222, 444; 1683-4, p. 174; 1685, p. 157; Clarendon Corresp. i. 182.
  • 4. Dorset RO, D60/T103, f.28; Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 1170, 1971, 1973, 1978, 1985; APC Col. ii. 164; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 79; Bloxworth par. reg.; Luttrell, iii. 385.