VIVIAN, Hannibal (1554-1610), of Trelowarren, Cornw. and Blackfriars, London.

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

b. 1554, 1st surv. s. of John Vivian of Trelowarren by Anne, da. of Baldwin Malet of ?St. Audries, Som. educ. Clement’s Inn; M. Temple 1573. m. 20 Jan. 1574, Philippa, 2nd da. and coh. of Roger Tremayne of Collacombe, Devon, 7s. inc. Michael 8da. suc. fa. 24 July 1577.

Offices Held

J.p. Cornw. from c. 1583; capt. St. Mawes castle Dec. 1587; v.-adm. Cornw. 1592, sheriff 1601-2; attorney-gen. duchy of Cornw. 1601; dep. warden of stannaries 1608-d.1


In 1582 Vivian bought a one-eighth part of the manor of Plympton, making his first appearance in Parliament for Plympton Erie soon afterwards. In 1586 and 1601 he sat for Helston, near the family seat of Trelowarren, and in 1589 he was returned for Truro, presumably through his family’s standing in the county. His sole recorded appearance on a parliamentary committee was that for the subsidy 11 Feb. 1589.2

As captain of St. Mawes he wrote several times to the Privy Council about the castle, making the usual complaints about its defences. ‘I will not dwell unless I have better supply’ he said in 1595. The Spaniards landed and burned Penzance in that year, and Vivian asked Drake to send down good leaders and prepare ships. In 1597 he was again complaining about St. Mawes, this time to Sir Robert Cecil, disclaiming responsibility if enemy action took place there. A memorandum among Cecil’s papers in that year contains reasons for not pricking Vivian sheriff of Cornwall; ‘because he has a lawsuit of 25 years’ continuance [see Cosgarne, John], has many children, and is captain of St. Mawes castle’. Nevertheless he became sheriff in 1601. Vivian’s concern over the fortifications at St. Mawes continued, and was the cause of a quarrel with Sir Nicholas Parker, captain of the neighbouring Pendennis castle.3

From the time of his appointment as attorney-general of the duchy of Cornwall, any anxiety about provision for his family must have been at an end. He died 4 Feb. 1610 in London, where he had been living at ‘Gibson’s house’, Blackfriars. He was buried 20 Feb. at St. Dunstan-in-the-West. His will was proved in 1610 and an inquisitor post mortem was taken in the following year.4

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: P. W. Hasler


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Devon, 749; PRO Index 6800; HMC Hatfield, iv. 256; Gabriel thesis, 644; M.T. Recs. i. 196, 260; Add. 36767, f. 212.
  • 2. J. Brooking-Rowe, Hist. Plympton Erle, 24; Trans. R. Hist. Soc. (1950), article on the Vyvyan fam. by Miss M. Coate; Roberts thesis, 170; D’Ewes, 431.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 46; A. L. Rowse, Tudor Cornw. 405, 407; Tudor and Stuart Proclamations, i. 99; HMC Hatfield, vii. 491, 536; ix. 207, 316; xii. 457.
  • 4. Coll. Topog. iv. 123; PCC 83 Wingfield; Vis. Cornw. (Harl. Soc. ix), 257; Wards 7/36/173.