COURTNEY (COURTENAY), Humphrey (1641-96), of Tremeer, Lanivet, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



17 Dec. 1689
12 Nov. 1690
14 Dec. 1695 - Mar. 1696

Family and Education

bap. 4 Aug. 1641, o.s. of Richard Courtney of Tremeer by Philippa, da. of Humphrey Prouze of Chagford, Devon. educ. Balliol, Oxf. 1659, I. Temple 1659, called 1677. m. 27 Dec. 1666, Alice, da. of Sir Peter Courtney of Trethurfe, Cornw. and h. to her bro. William, 2s. 9da. suc. fa. 1660.1

Offices Held

Commr. for assessment, Cornw. 1665-80, 1689-90, recusants 1675; j.p. Cornw. to 1680, Devon and Cornw. July 1688, Oct. 1688-d.; freeman, Bodmin 1685-Sept. 1688; stannator of Blackmore 1686.2


Courtney came from a junior branch of the Trethurfe family. His father fought for the King in the West Country in the first Civil War, compounded in May 1646 on a fine of £457 at one-sixth, and left him an estate valued at £1,200 p.a., including property in Mitchell. Unlike his uncle Nicholas Courtney, who arranged for his call to the bar, he does not seem to have been a practicing lawyer, though he was described as ‘a knowing justice’ and ‘of great estate’ when he was removed in 1680 from the Cornish commission of the peace, after contesting West Looe as an exclusionist. His interest at Mitchell was strengthened when his wife inherited Trethurfe in 1683, and he again became a j.p. under James II. But he gave the same negative answers as Sir John Carew on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws in 1688, and was removed from local office. Nevertheless Lord Bath recommended him as court candidate for Lostwithiel, and suggested that he should be ‘treated with’ for his interest.3

Courtney stood unsuccessfully for Mitchell in 1689, and petitioned against the return of Charles, Viscount Fanshawe. After Fanshawe’s expulsion from the House, he did not prosecute his petition, preferring to fight a by-election. He was defeated by William Coryton and again petitioned. On 12 Dec. the elections committee reported that Courtney had been duly elected and should have been returned, and after two divisions carried by ultra-Whig tellers the House agreed. An inactive Member of the Convention, he was appointed to two committees, one for the sale of the Duke of Buckingham’s estates and the other to allow surgeons to administer medicine. He represented Mitchell, after protracted election contests, in the next two Parliaments as a Tory, though he signed the Association shortly before his death. He was buried in the Temple Church on 25 Mar. 1696, leaving his estates mortgaged up to the hilt. His son William was returned for Mitchell in December 1701, but eventually had to sell everything except Tremeer.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 115; Gilbert, Paroch. Hist. Cornw. iii. 19.
  • 2. J. Wallis, Bodmin Reg. 169; PC2/72/235; J. Tregoning, Laws of the Stannaries, 57.
  • 3. Gilbert, iii. 11, Cal. Comm. Comp. 1278, M. Coate, Cornw. in Gt. Civil War, 370, PCC 107 Nabbs; Add. 18448, f. 31.
  • 4. 4 & 5 Anne, cap. 63.