TREFFRY, William (1559-1603), of Place, Fowey, 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

bap. 18 Feb. 1559, 1st s. of John Treffry of Treffry by his 2nd w. and bro. of Thomas. educ. Oxf. BA 1579. m. 3 Apr. 1589, Ursula, da. and coh. of William Tremayne of Upcott, Devon, 1s. 5da. suc. fa. 28 Jan. 1591.

Offices Held

Duchy of Cornw. farmer of the manor of Fowey by c.1597; j.p. Cornw. temp. rem. 1596, dep. lt. by 1598; master of the ordnance, Cornw. by 1602.


Treffry, the eldest of 16 children, was returned for Fowey through his family’s local standing. He was a follower of (Sir) Walter Ralegh and a friend of Richard Carew, who admired his ‘rare gifts of learning, wisdom and courage’ devoted to the good of his country. He helped Carew with ‘judicious corrections’ to his Survey of Cornwall, where he is described as living in a ‘fair and ancient house, castlewise builded’ overlooking Fowey harbour. He commanded four companies of troops and paid considerable attention to the fortifications, which were largely the result of his ‘providence and direction’.

In 1596 Treffry’s name was omitted from the commission of the peace for Cornwall, perhaps because he and John Rashleigh were accused of fomenting opposition to the tax on pilchards. His relative (Sir) Henry Killigrew wrote to Cecil complaining of this ‘no small disgrace’ and asking to have Treffry restored, as a gentleman ‘of very sufficient living, of sound religion and of learning and judgment fit to execute such authority’ and because there was no other justice in Fowey. As a result, Treffry returned to the commission, perhaps immediately, certainly by 1599.

Treffry made his will 23 Feb. 1603, when he was ill, and died the following day. He wished to be buried at Fowey. After provision for his wife, the sole executrix, two parts of all his property, including more than six manors, went to four daughters until his son John, who was a minor, should attain the age of 24. The daughters received £300 each.

Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 460; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, ii. 252-3; J. Keast, Fowey, 22, 34-43, 51-4; C142/228/59, 280/89; rec. gen. accts. 39-40 Eliz.; APC, xxix. 413; Carew’s Surv. Cornw. ed. Halliday, 154, 155, 209; CSP Dom. 1591-4, p. 464; HMC Hatfield, vi. 335; ix. 152, 320.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: N.M.S.