SMITH, John (d.1620), of Tregonack in Duloe, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

2nd s. of Robert Smith (d.1569) of Tregonack by his 1st w. Elizabeth (d. c.1566), da. and h. of John Skenock of Trewint. m. aft. Mar. 1572, Anne (d.1592), da. of Richard Coffin of Portledge, Devon, wid. of Roger Tremayne of Collacombe, Devon, s.p.

Offices Held


The above identity for the 1559 Camelford Member is suggested on the grounds that some of his family held duchy of Cornwall offices, and that his own marriage connected him with the Tremayne family, while his brother Robert’s connected him with the Killigrews. Edmund Tremayne was known to the Courtenays and to the 2nd Earl of Bedford, and the Killigrews to Sir William Cecil, with whom Bedford co-operated over west-country patronage, so that, one way or another, a seat at Camelford might easily have been found for Smith. The only references to him in the journals concern a question of privilege. On 24 Feb. 1559 the London merchant John Marshe stated in the House that Smith had

deceived divers merchants in London, taking wares of them to the sum of £300, minding to defraud them of the same, under colour of the privilege of this House.

A committee, headed by Sir John Mason, upheld the charge and it was established that a writ of outlawry had been issued against Smith following a suit for debt. As to whether Smith should have privilege, ‘by the more number of voices it seemed that he should not have privilege’. However, on a division, 112 Members voted for privilege, 107 against, ‘and therefore it was ordered that he should still continue a Member of the House’.

Nothing further has been ascertained about Smith other than that he was involved in a Chancery case of 1595 concerning a settlement of the manor of Rake, and in 1597 deposed that the borough of East Looe ‘found burgesses for the Parliament’. He died—if we are still dealing with the same man—on 7 Jan. 1620, and three days later was buried at Duloe. An Ashmolean manuscript has his will being proved by a great-nephew, also John Smith of Tregonack, but no such will is known to have been proved in Bodmin, Exeter or London.

Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 215, 427, 617; Vis. Devon, 209; PCC 11 Crymes; CJ, i. 55; E134/28 Eliz./Hil 8; C2.Eliz. F. f. 4/54.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N. M. Fuidge