MOUNSTEVEN (MOUNTSTEVEN), John (1644-1706), of Westminster and Lancarfe, Bodmin, Cornw.

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



Feb. 1701
1705 - 19 Dec. 1706

Family and Education

bap. 1644, 2nd s. of John Mounsteven (d.1672) of St. Mabyn, Cornw. by Elizabeth, da. of one Tamlyn. educ. Bodmin sch.; Christ Church, Oxf. matric. 7 Dec. 1666, aged 18, BA 1671. unm. suc. bro. Hender 1696.1

Offices Held

Under-sec. of state (north) 1679-80, 1683-4, (south) 1680-1, 1684-Oct. 1688.

Provost marshal, Jamaica 1684-9; freeman, Bodmin 1685; j.p. Cornw. by 1701-d.; sub-commr. for prizes, Plymouth 1702; commr. for tin, duchy of Cornw. 1703-d.2


Mounsteven’s family, which was of humble origins, was established in the parish of St. Mabyn by the early 17th century. Mounsteven’s ability attracted the attention of the schoolmaster of Bodmin, who made him an usher, and from thence he went to Oxford as a servitor, and so graduated. He entered government service as under-secretary to Lord Sunderland.3

In 1684 Mounsteven was nominated provost marshal of Jamaica, with power to appoint a deputy. In the following year he purchased Lancarfe near Bodmin, and was named as freeman of that borough in its new charter. His brother, who held a local post in the customs, was christened Hender, which suggests a connexion with the Robartes family, and it was probably on this interest that he was returned for Bossiney in the same year after a contest. His only committee in James II’s Parliament was on the bill to enable the Duke of Ormonde’s grandson to make a jointure on his marriage. Lord Bath recommended him for re-election as court candidate in 1688, and he was also spoken of as a candidate for Bodmin. Left ‘at six and seven’ by Sunderland’s dismissal and flight he eventually attached himself to the Trelawny interest, sitting for West Looe under William III as a Tory and refusing to sign the Association in 1696. He cut his throat in a Westminster coffee house on 19 Dec. 1706. No other member of the family entered Parliament.4

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 300; PCC 35 Bond.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1684-5, p. 219; 1685, p. 79; C66/3325; J. Wallis, Bodmin Reg. 169; Cal. Treas. Bks. xvii. 356; xviii. 91.
  • 3. DNB; Gilbert, Paroch. Hist. Cornw. i. 79; iii. 205; Sidney Diary i. 97; HMC Downshire, i. 105.
  • 4. Maclean, i. 216, 262; Cal. Treas. Bks. v. 307; Duckett, Penal Laws (1883), 215, 217; Luttrell, vi. 119; Gilbert, i. 79.