WREY, Sir Bourchier, 4th Bt. (c.1653-96), of Trebeigh, St. Ives, Cornw. and Tawstock House, Devon

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer



18 Feb. 1678 - Jan. 1679
1685 - 1687
1689 - 28 July 1696

Family and Education

b. c.1653, 1st s. of Sir Chichester Wrey, 3rd Bt.†, of Trebeigh and Tawstock by Lady Ann, da. and coh. of Edward Bourchier, 4th Earl of Bath, wid. of James Cranfield†, 2nd Earl of Middlesex.  m. 3 May 1681, Florence, da. of Sir John Rolle† of Stevenstone, Devon, 2s. 1da.  KB 23 Apr. 1661; suc. fa. as 4th Bt. 14 May 1668.1

Offices Held

Lt. of ft. Admiralty Regt. 1666, capt. 1668, maj. 1680–3; capt. vol. horse 1685, col. 1690.2

Freeman, Barnstaple 1684, Liskeard 1685–Sept. 1688, Oct. 1688–d.; stannator of Foymore 1686; commr. for forfeited estates, Devon 1686, for drowned lands 1690; alderman, Liskeard 1689–d.3


Wrey, whose Cornish estates lay near Liskeard, had joined William of Orange in 1688 but during the Convention voted against declaring the throne vacant. Having retained his seat at the 1690 election, he was classed a Tory and Court supporter by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†), but was an inactive Member who left no record of any significant activity in this Parliament. In August 1690 he was given a pass to go to the West country, and commanded a volunteer regiment of horse at Torbay. In December he was listed among those thought likely to defend Carmarthen from parliamentary attack, and an analysis of the House by Robert Harley* in April 1691 listed him as a Court supporter. The following year he was included on a list of placemen and on a list of government officials in the Commons. This second list noted that Wrey was in receipt of a pension, but it may not have secured his loyalty to the Court as in the spring of 1693 Grascome listed him as a placeman but not a Court supporter. On 2 Apr. 1694 Wrey was granted three weeks’ leave of absence, and in June that year he fought a duel, at Falmouth, with James Praed*. Reports that Wrey had died from injuries sustained in this duel proved to be unfounded, and during the 1694–5 session he was included on Henry Guy’s* list of ‘friends’, in connexion with the Commons’ attack upon Guy. On 1 Mar. 1695 Wrey was granted three weeks’ leave of absence. He retained his seat at the 1695 election, and in January 1696 was forecast as likely to oppose the Court on the proposed council of trade. Wrey’s move into opposition did not lead to his refusing the Association, but his subscribing was his last notable action. On 29 Feb. Wrey was granted three weeks’ leave of absence, and he died later the same year on 28 July. He was buried at Tawstock on 13 Aug. and was succeeded by his eldest son and namesake, who sat for Camelford in Anne’s reign.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 564–5.
  • 2. CSP Dom. Jan.–June 1683, p. 224.
  • 3. T. Wainwright, Barnstaple Recs. i. 74; CSP Dom. 1685, p. 66; J. Tregoning, Stannary Laws, 57; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 546; ix. 794; HMC Lords, ii. 176; J. Allen, Liskeard, 272.
  • 4. HMC Lords, 176; A. Browning, Danby, iii. 184; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iii. 322, 324.