TREFUSIS, Samuel (1676-1724), of Trefusis, nr. Penryn, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1698 - 1713
15 Mar. 1714 - 1722

Family and Education

bap. 6 Oct. 1676, 2nd s. of Francis Trefusis of Trefusis by Bridget, da. of Robert Rolle of Heanton Satchville, Devon.  educ. St. Edmund Hall, Oxf. 1695.  m. (1) 13 Dec. 1702, Alice, da. and h. of Sir Robert Cotton*, 1s. 1da.; (2) 9 July 1719, Margaret, da. and coh. of James Craggs I*, sis. of James Craggs II*, s.psuc. bro. Francis Trefusis 1692.1

Offices Held

Stannator, Blackmore 1710.2


Trefusis came from a long-established Cornish family who owned land in Penryn and its surrounding districts, and Trefusis was to become one of the leading developers of Flushing, the port which served the borough. From this property the family derived considerable electoral interest at Penryn, and Trefusis was returned for the borough in 1698, soon after attaining his majority. A comparison of the old and new Commons classed him as a Country supporter, and he was also included on a forecast of likely opponents of the standing army. He was not, however, an active member. On 8 Feb. 1700 he was granted three weeks’ leave of absence. Trefusis was returned unopposed at both 1701 elections but remained inactive. In December 1701 Robert Harley* classed him as a Tory and he was listed as having favoured the motion of 26 Feb. 1702 vindicating the Commons’ proceedings of the previous session against the Whig lords. He retained his seat at Penryn at the first four elections of Queen Anne’s reign, though his recorded contribution to the Commons remained slight. In October 1704 he was forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack, and in order to be certain of his vote Harley deputed Trefusis’ father-in-law, the joint postmaster-general Sir Robert Cotton, to lobby him on this matter. Thus on 28 Nov. Trefusis did not support the Tack. Three days previously he had told in favour of excusing Henry Manaton’s absence from a call of the House. An analysis of the 1705 Parliament listed Trefusis as ‘Low Church’. In the 1705–6 session he continued to support the Court, a course no doubt determined in part by his father-in-law’s place, but also perhaps motivated by the income provided to the port of Flushing by the Post Office’s packet boats. On 25 Oct. 1705 he voted for the Court candidate for Speaker, and in February 1706 supported the ministry in the proceedings on the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill.3

Although he appears to have been a Court supporter, Trefusis was classed as a Tory in an analysis of the Commons dating from early 1708. Trefusis left no record of any significant contribution to the 1708 Parliament, although a report of February 1709 stated that he intended to return to Cornwall ‘to refresh at his Flushing after the great pains he hath undergone this sess[ion] of Parl[iament]’. His endeavours may, perhaps, have been concerned with personal rather than parliamentary matters, as it seems that by 1709 he was experiencing financial problems, possibly incurred as a result of the development of the port at Flushing. Such difficulties may have lessened by the following year, however, when he supported the Tory candidates at the Cornwall election and retained his seat at Penryn. The ‘Hanover list’ classed Trefusis as a Tory, but his only significant activity in the 1710 Parliament was his vote on 18 June 1713 against the French commerce bill. Such dissatisfaction with the ministry may explain Trefusis’ decision not to contest the 1713 Penryn election and to allow the unopposed return of Hugh Boscawen II, but he was successful at a by-election in 1714. He again made no impact on the records of Parliament, though a comparison of the 1713 and 1715 Parliaments classed him as a Whig. In 1715 Trefusis retained his seat at Penryn but he did not stand at the 1722 election. Trefusis died in 1724, and was buried on 4 Apr.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 465.
  • 2. R. Inst. Cornw. Tonkin’s mss hist. Cornw. ii. 244.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. xxi. 306; xxii. 207.
  • 4. Morice mss at Bank of Eng. Sir Nicholas Morice, 2nd Bt.*, to Humphry Morice*, 26 Nov. 1708, 11 Feb. 1708[–9], same to Joseph Moyle*, 4 Mar. 1708–9; Add. 70099, copy of gents’. resolution at Liskeard, 4 Oct. 1710; Vivian, 465.