Available from Boydell and Brewer
|1558/9||WILLIAM GIBBES I 1|
|JOHN CARNSEW 2|
|22 Dec. 1562||HENRY CHIVERTON|
|RICHARD GRENVILLE I|
|1571||GEORGE GRENVILLE I|
|21 Apr. 1572||GEORGE 3 GRENVILLE I|
|14 Nov. 1584||ROWLAND WATSON 4|
|4 Oct. 1588||ROWLAND WATSON|
|GEORGE GRENVILLE II|
|12 Oct. 1597||HERBERT CROFT 5|
|WILLIAM BOWYER III 6|
|12 Oct. 1601||JOHN PARKER II|
‘Those buildings commonly known by the name of Launceston’, wrote Richard Carew, ‘consist of two boroughs, Dunheved and Newport’. Dunheved was the old borough around Launceston castle, Newport the more recently enfranchised borough by the ruins of Launceston priory. The Elizabethan returns and Crown Office lists were usually consistent in making the distinction, political commentators of later periods less so.’
Dunheved was the county town, where the assizes were held, a duchy of Cornwall borough and a stannary town. Incorporated as the mayor and commonalty of Dunheved in 1556, the borough was, by Cornish standards, a place of some prosperity. A group consisting of the mayor, recorder, deputy recorder and eight aldermen governed the’ free tenants’,’ burgesses’ or commonalty. The returns were made by the ‘mayor and commonalty’ or the mayor and ‘alios burgenses’. As with other Cornish boroughs, some names were inserted on the returns in a different hand from the remainder of the document, in Dunheved’s case four names out of ten. In the remaining cases the returns are missing.
The 2nd Earl of Bedford does not loom large as a parliamentary patron, though no doubt care would have been taken not to put forward a candidate displeasing to him. The Cecils, father and son, however, were influential through their relations the Killigrews, one of whom, William Killigrew, was constable of Launceston castle from 1576. The Cecil/Killigrew connexion accounts for the return of John Carnsew (1558), Sampson Lennard (1571), George Blyth (1572), John Spurling (1586, 1588), and William Bowyer III (1597). William Gibbes I (1558) owed his return to Sir Gawain Carew (a friend of Bedford), and the Carews also seem to have been behind Rowland Watson (1584, 1586, 1588, 1593) and Gregory Donhault (1601). Henry Chiverton (1562) was a Cornish gentleman who owed his seat to the Trevanions; John Glanville (1584) was a lawyer, a servant of the Russell family, and the son of a local merchant. The local Grenville family of Penheale, one of whom was recorder of the borough, took one of the Dunheved seats in the Parliaments of 1563, 1571, 1572 and 1593. The two remaining MPs are odd men out—Herbert Croft, a courtier (1597) and John Parker II (1601), a relative of the captain of Pendennis castle.
No evidence survives as to whether Dunheved paid its MPs: the charter of 1555 formally stipulated that it should.7
Author: P. W. Hasler
- 1. E371/402(1).
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. C219/28/14 gives Richard in error.
- 4. Add. 38823, ff. 17-21.
- 5. Folger V. b. 298.
- 6. Ibid.
- 7. Carew’s Surv. Cornw. ed. Halliday, 185; A. L. Rowse, Tudor Cornw. 92, 351, 433, 435; A. F. Robbins, Launceston (1888), 96-97; R. and O. B. Peter, Launceston and Dunheved, 31-32, 55-56; Weinbaum, Charters, 14; CPR, 1555-7, pp. 174-8; HMC 6th Rep. 524; Lewis, The Stannaries, 126.