CORNEWALL, Henry (c.1654-1717), of Bredwardine Castle, Herefs. East Bailey Lodge, Enfield, Mdx.

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



11 June 1689
Feb. 1701

Family and Education

b. c.1654, o.s. of Edward Cornewall of Moccas Court, Herefs. by Frances, da. of Sir Walter Pye of The Mynde, Much Dewchurch, Herefs. wid. of Henry Vaughan of Bredwardine; half-bro. of Roger Vaughan. m. (1) 11 Oct. 1683, Margarita (d. 26 Nov. 1692), da. and h. of Laurentius Huyssen, Lord of Weelde, Zeeland, 2s. (1 d.v.p.); (2) lic. 27 Apr. 1695, Susanna, da. and coh. of Sir John Williams, 2nd Bt., of Pengethley, Herefs., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 1da. suc. fa. 1709.1

Offices Held

Page of honour to the Duke of York c.1669; equerry to Princess Mary 1677, master of the horse by 1683-5.2

Ensign, Admiralty (Duke of York’s) regt. 1672, lt. by 1676; capt. of ft. R. Eng. Regt. (French army) 1675-6, Holland Regt. (later The Buffs) 1677-82; capt.-lt. R. Horse Gds. (The Blues) 1682, capt. 1682-5; col. (later 9 Ft.) 1685-Nov. 1688.3

Commr. for assessment, Herefs. and Hereford 1689-90; j.p. Herefs., Brec. and Rad. 1699-?d.; dep. lt. Herefs. 1701-?d.


Cornewall’s father, like his uncle Humphrey, fought as a Royalist in the Civil War. Compounding before his marriage to a wealthy widow, he was fined a nominal £5. Soon after the Restoration he was made sub-commissioner of excise at the unanimous request of the Herefordshire Members. He was expected to be returned for Leominster in 1670, but the vacancy did not materialize. Cornewall was bred a courtier. When his half-brother was killed at Sole Bay, he cleared his debt to the crown and took over the remainder of the Vaughan estates. He was probably the Captain Cornewall serving under Monmouth in the French army in 1676; in that year his English commission was respited because he had not taken the oaths. There seems no reason to suppose that he was anything but an Anglican, however, and he took them in 1677, when he accompanied Princess Mary to Holland on her marriage. His duties carried him backwards and forwards between the two countries, and he is unlikely to have seen much more active service until 1685. In that year he took a crown lease of one of the lodges in Enfield chase. He was returned for Weobley, some six miles from Moccas, at the general election. Probably a moderately active Member of James II’s Parliament, he may have served on six committees, including those to recommend expunctions from the Journals and to consider a naturalization bill. Although his wife was included in this measure, he can hardly have attended the sittings of the committee, since he was engaged in raising a regiment in Herefordshire to resist the Duke of Monmouth’s invasion. His recruiting activities were regarded as little short of trespass by the Duke of Beaufort (Henry Somerset), who was outraged to find his own regiment compelled to yield precedence. It is noteworthy that all Cornewall’s officers, including the second-in-command, Sir John Morgan, Sir Francis Edwards and Jeremiah Bubb, were firm Protestants, and by the spring of 1687 he himself had become so uneasy about James’s policy that he determined to send in his papers. Nevertheless he was recommended as court candidate for Weobley, and his resignation was not accepted until after William’s landing in 1688.4

In the Revolution Cornewall took no part, his personal loyalties being deeply committed to both sides, although he was probably the ‘Captain Cornwall’ mentioned in French dispatches as William’s chief agent in the army. Under Bubb, most of his regiment went over to William without opposition. Cornewall did not defend his seat at the general election which followed. Anthony Rowe blacklisted him as voting to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant, but he did not enter the House till four months later, when his success at the Hereford by-election dismayed the local Whigs. He was an inactive Member, acting as teller for a proviso in the interests of the Earl of Kent to the Wye and Lugg navigation bill, and being named only to the committees to inquire into war expenditure and to consider a naturalization bill. Cornewall held neither military nor court office after the Revolution, and in Parliament he was usually reckoned a Tory; some inconsistency in his record may be ascribed to unfulfilled hopes of a place. He died on 22 Feb. 1717 in his 64th year and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His surviving son by the first marriage was elected for Hereford as a Whig in 1747, while by his second marriage he was father of Velters Cornewall, who sat for the county as a Tory in seven Parliaments from 1722 to 1768, and of James Cornewall, twice returned for Weobley as a government supporter.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: Edward Rowlands


  • 1. Foljambe and Reade, House of Cornewall, 102-5; Lysons, Environs, ii. 290; C. J. Robinson, Mansions and Manors of Herefs. 119, Reg. of Dutch Church, Austin Friars, 205.
  • 2. Robinson, Castles of Herefs. 20; CSP Dom. 1677-8, p. 532; PCC 87 Fane.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1676-7, p. 412; J. Childs, Army of Charles II, 246.
  • 4. Cal. Comm. Comp. 2024; Cal. Treas. Bks. i. 329-30, 333; vii. 373; CSP Dom. 1672-3, p. 342; 1677-8, p. 244; 1680-1, pp. 387-8; Denizations and Naturalisations (Huguenot Soc. xviii), 169, Hatton Corresp. (Cam. Soc. n.s. xxiii), 67; Ellis Corresp. i. 302; Bodl. Carte 130, f. 24.
  • 5. E. R. Jones, Revolution of 1688 in England, 286; Browning, Danby, i. 417; BL Loan 29/75, Mary Foley to Sir Edward Harley, 10 May 1689; D. Rubini, Court and Country, 46, 58-59; IHR Bull. xxxiii. 227; Westminster Abbey Reg. (Harl. Soc. x), 289.