TREVANION, Charles (c.1631-1703), of Caerhayes, Cornw.

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



Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

b. c.1631, 1st s. of John Trevanion (d.1643) of Caerhayes by Anne, da. of John Arundell of Trerice, Newlyn. m. Jane, da. and coh. of Sir Maurice Drummond of Westminster, gent. usher of the privy chamber, 2s. 1da. suc. gdfa. by 1660.1

Offices Held

J.p. Cornw. July 1660-July 1688, Oct. 1688-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-80, 1689-90, loyal and indigent officers 1662, dep. lt. 1662-June 1688, 1702-d.; stannator of Foymore 1663, Blackmore 1686; receiver of taxes, Cornw. 1664-8, col. of militia ft. by 1667, capt. to at least 1679, commr. for recusants 1675; common councilman, Truro 1685-Mar. 1688; alderman, Tregony 1685-Apr. 1688.2


Trevanion’s ancestors had held the manor of Caerhayes since the 14th century, and first sat for the county in 1407. Trevanion’s father, who sat for Grampound in the Short Parliament and for Lostwithiel in its successor, was one of the four Cornish royalist heroes of the Civil War until he was slain at the head of his regiment in the storm of Bristol. His grandfather, who continued to support the King as vice-admiral, compounded in 1648, paying a fine of £655, but he remained active in the royalist cause and was arrested in 1653.3

Trevanion was returned for Grampound at the general election of 1661. An inactive Member of the Cavalier Parliament, he was appointed to only seven committees. The most important was for the corporations bill, but in three sessions he was named to the committee of elections and privileges. In 1665 he petitioned for the waiving of entry fines of £1,094 due on his leases under the duchy of Cornwall, mentioning the services of his father and grandfather, who, he claimed, had advanced £4,280 to Charles I. As receiver of the royal aid in Cornwall, he ran into difficulties, and in 1668 he was dismissed. Two years later he still owed £400. He was on both lists of the court party at this time among the independent Members who generally voted for supply. After this he seems to have become disillusioned with the Court. He took very little part in the activities of the Commons, although he was the promoter of the Fal Navigation Act. In 1676 Sir Richard Wiseman included his name in a list of Cornish Members of whom he knew very little, and Shaftesbury classed him as ‘doubly vile’ in 1677-8. George Treby reported his navigation bill on 13 June 1678; but he defaulted on a call of the House in the final session.4

Re-elected at the first general election of 1679, Trevanion was listed as ‘vile’ by Shaftesbury, but Huntingdon marked him as an exclusionist, and in fact he voted for the bill, perhaps under Treby’s influence. His attitude to this measure was probably dictated less by political enthusiasm than by his loathing of Popery. His wife was probably a Roman Catholic, and he disinherited his eldest son for joining the same faith. In the autumn he exchanged constituencies with John Tanner I. Henceforward he sat for Tregony, three miles from his home, and probably abandoned exclusion, since he remained on the Cornish commission of the peace in 1680. No speeches of his have been recorded and he was not appointed to any committees in the three Parliaments. But he joined the syndicate of ‘the knights and burgesses of this present Parliament for Cornwall’ which applied for the Tangier victualling contract in 1681.5

In 1685 Trevanion’s influence at Tregony was greatly increased by the remodelled charter, and he defeated the borough’s patron and lord of the manor, Hugh Boscawen. In James II’s Parliament he was appointed only to the committee on the bill for the relief of poor prisoners for debt. He returned the same evasive answers as Sir John Carew to the questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. His canal project failed, and after the Revolution he took little further part in public affairs. His brother Richard, a naval captain, accompanied James II into exile. Trevanion died on 26 Nov. 1703, and was buried at St. Michael Caerhayes. His son and heir, John, returned to the Anglican Church, sitting as a Tory under Anne and as a Whig after the Hanoverian succession.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Paula Watson


  • 1. Gilbert, Paroch. Hist. Cornw. iii. 337; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, iii. 381, 386.
  • 2. Cal. Treas. Bks. ii. 6, 110; CSP Dom. 1679-80, p. 61; 1685, pp. 71, 80; J. Tregoning, Laws of the Stannaries, 57.
  • 3. Keeler, Long Parl. 364-5; M. Coate, Cornw. in Gt. Civil War, 31, 98-99, 185, 210, 256.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1665-6, p. 164; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 326; ii. 583; iii. 571; Gilbert, i. 278.
  • 5. Bodl. Carte mss 80, f. 817; HMC Laing, i. 449; Cal. Treas. Bks. vii. 148-9.
  • 6. CSP Dom. 1685, pp. 71, 80; HMC Finch, ii. 344; Gilbert, i. 278; iii. 337.