TREWYNNARD, William (by 1495-1549), of Trewinnard, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Family and Education

b. by 1495, prob. 1st s. of James Trewynnard of Trewinnard by Philippa; bro. of James. m. (1) by 1530, Jane, wid. of Robert Shilston, 2s. 1da.; (2) Thomasin, da. of Sir Thomas Stukely of Affecton in East Worlington, Devon, wid. of John Bere (d.1531) of Huntsham, Devon. suc. fa. by 1530.2

Offices Held


William Trewynnard was probably the eldest son of a small landed proprietor who seems to have been a dependant of the Arundells of Lanherne. On his father’s death he succeeded to the family home at Trewinnard, some ten miles from Helston, but most of his father’s lands were left in the dower of his mother and became the subject of a suit made to Chancellor Audley by a Cornishman, John Skewys. Skewys pressed his claims on Trewynnard who presumably to evade them sought election to the Parliament of 1542. Trewynnard was sued successfully by Skewys in the King’s bench for the recovery of a debt of £74 15s., and a writ was issued for his arrest until he had satisfied Skewys’s claims. Sir Hugh Trevanion, sheriff of Cornwall (1542-3) was unable to serve this writ on Trewynnard (who could not be discovered in the county although he had been present at the Helston coinage in the autumn of 1542) so he returned it to the court, and on 13 June 1543 Skewys obtained a second writ which led Trewynnard to deliver himself to the sheriff. Trewynnard did not comply any further with the court’s orders and remained in custody. When Richard Chamond succeeded Trevanion as sheriff, Trewynnard was transferred to his keeping. The third session of the Parliament opened on 14 Jan. 1544 and a writ of privilege was issued on 21 Feb. whereby a month later on 20 Mar., only eight days before the dissolution, Trewynnard was released by Chamond. Skewys died soon afterwards and after his executors had failed to obtain redress against Chamond in the King’s bench (the sum involved being now £84 15s., to include damages) the matter was brought before Chancellor Wriothesley. Trewynnard’s subsequent release raised the question ‘whether he was discharged by the order of the common law ... or no’ but as ‘the parties desired to have the matter determined without further trouble’ and as Trewynnard ‘ought not in conscience to be discharged’, Wriothesley ruled on 7 June 1546 that he should pay the executors £66 13s.4d.3

Trewynnard, a practicing lawyer, was himself a frequent, if not a compulsive, litigant, a trait which he seems to have shared with his father. The actions brought against him by his relatives, neighbours, and business associates (who included John Giles) during the last 20 years of his life were largely for debt. Early in 1549 he was obliged to pawn plate and jewellery to meet creditors. Later that year during the western uprising his lands were ravaged and his goods despoiled by the rebels. He took refuge at St. Michael’s Mount, but in an attack on the island he received ‘a great hurt and mortal wound’. He died intestate; the administration of his estate was granted to his son Matthew and his brother James.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. C78/1, no. 36.
  • 2. Aged ‘48 years and above’ in 1543, St.Ch.2/31/161. St.Ch.5/T34/32; C1/448/46, 1074/61; Req.2/10/30; Vis. Devon ed. Vivian, 60, 340.
  • 3. C1/1074/61, 1111/34; 78/1, no. 36; 142/78/42; LP Hen. VIII, iii; St.Ch.2/31/161; 5/T22/12; Hatsell, Precedents, i. 59-65; J. Dyer, Reps. (1794), i. 59b-61b; PCC 8 Pynnyng.
  • 4. C1/448/46, 581/88, 995/38-39, 1164/32, 1233/5, 1476/44; St.Ch.5/T34/32.