TREFUSIS, Richard (d.1611), of Lincoln's Inn, London and Lanleake, 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 Nicholas Trefusis of Landewe, Cornw. by Grace, da. and coh. of William Millington. educ. New Inn. m. Anne, da. of Peter Edgecombe, s.p.

Offices Held

L. Inn 1579, called 1587, bencher 1604, marshal and reader 1605-6, keeper of the Black Book 1610-11.


No connexion has been found between the Richard Trefusis who became a parliament man and the borough he represented in three consecutive Parliaments without—as far as is known—contributing to the business of any of them. The Trefusis family had been seated at Trefusis, overlooking Falmouth harbour, ‘ever since the Conquest, if not before’ yet until 1584 it seems not to have sent a Member to the House of Commons. There is consequently some ground for thinking that the honour on its first occurrence would have fallen to or been claimed by the then head of the family, the Richard who at the age of 17 or more had succeeded his grandfather Thomas Trefusis, and whose will (no longer extant) was possibly the one proved at Exeter on 5 June 1594. However, there was another Richard in the family, Richard of Lanleake, a practising lawyer resident in London and, it may be thought, suitably qualified—as assuredly he was better placed—to represent a small and distant borough.

Somewhat younger than Richard of Trefusis, to whom he was cousin, Richard of Lanleake was descended from their common grandfather Thomas, but by Thomas’s second wife. He was already a barrister of New Inn when he was admitted to Lincoln’s Inn on 12 Apr. 1579 in company with Thomas Trefusis, possibly his elder brother. Thomas then disappears from the records of the inn, but Richard’s career there is clearly outlined: in Nov. 1586 his call to the bar ‘next term’ was agreed upon; in 1594 he was fined £5 for the stewardship of the reader’s dinner; other appointments followed. The will which he himself wrote out in July 1607 and later subjected to some ‘interlining, rasure and alteration’ because of an agreement concluded with Sir Richard Edgecombe, named two members of the inn among his overseers, Giles Tooker and Richard Waltham: to each he left six of his best printed law books and 40s. to be bestowed in rings, praying them to aid first his dear and well-beloved wife, and next his heirs with their best advice, help and counsel. He died on 30 Aug. 1611. His will was proved on 5 May following, after his nephew Nicholas, Thomas’s son, had tried to overturn it.

Vis. Cornw. (Harl. Soc. ix), 64, 135, 223-4; D. Gilbert, Paroch. Hist. Cornw. iii. 389; Devon Wills (Brit. Rec. Soc. Index Lib. xlvi), 207; PCC 48 Capell; C142/333/13.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: E.L.C.M.