WILLIAMS, John (d. 1751), of Bodenick, Cornw.
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Family and Education
1st s. of William Williams of Bodenick and Treworgy. unm.1
Sheriff, Cornw. 1703–4.
Williams’ family had been established at Treworgy since the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Thomas Tonkin* noted that Williams’ father had established ‘a good estate by merchandizing’ at Fowey and owned ‘the one good house’ in nearby Bodenick. It was his family’s influence which led to Williams’ election for Fowey at the first 1701 election, his uncle being the portreeve who returned him upon a contested definition of the franchise. It was probably Williams, rather than the Member for Beaumaris, Coningsby Williams, who told on 13 May 1701 in favour of sending the Kentish Petitioners to prison. Successful again in December, he was classed by Robert Harley* as a Tory and was listed as favouring the motion of 26 Feb. 1702 vindicating the Commons’ actions in the previous session against the Whig ministers. He acted as teller on five occasions in this Parliament, including against bringing in a bill to relieve the purchasers of forfeited estates (18 Apr.), and against passing a bill to rebuild and repair Whitby harbour (24 Apr.). Defeated at Fowey in 1702, he petitioned without result. Subsequently he took up residence at Treworgy near Looe, and in 1703 appealed to Harley to secure the release of some captured Fowey seamen. At the election following the accession of George I he was one of the Cornish gentlemen who subscribed the circular letter in support of the two Tory candidates. Williams died on 1 Jan. 1751, his obituary stating that he had served as MP, sheriff of Cornwall and justice of the peace ‘with unanimous steadiness, honour and applause, in a manner every way suitable to his great capacity’.2