TROTMAN, Fiennes (?1752-1824), of Siston, Glos.
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Family and Education
b. ?1752, 2nd s. of Rev. Samuel Trotman, vicar of Siston and Newton Purcell, by Mary, da. of Thomas Newsham of Butlers Marston, Warws. m. bef. 1780, his cos. Hester, da. of Sanderson Miller of Radway Grange, Warws., 3s. 4da. suc. uncle Fiennes Trotman of Siston and Bucknell, Oxon. 2 Dec. 1782.
Fiennes Trotman1 is something of a mystery man at Northampton, and information about him has come largely from hostile sources. Lord Spencer wrote to his mother on 29 Mar. 1784 about a opposition started at Northampton to his father-in-law, Lord Lucan:
Bouverie [Edward Bouverie] stands ... supported by a few of the malcontents of the Compton interest and all that description of people who are always desirous of a third man.
And the next day:
The scene is now quite changed at Northampton. The malcontents had a meeting in the town hall yesterday and finding that Mr. Bouverie would only lend them his name but did not appear in person, they have set up a Mr. Trotman, a little man who lives in the town and was formerly a silk weaver but having lately had a fortune of six or seven thousand pounds left him is living away upon it.2
Similarly, Joseph Hall, a strong Spencer partisan, in his now missing ‘Political Chronicle’, described Trotman as ‘a riband weaver who had lately had some money left him’.3 But silk weaving is nowhere recorded as an 18th century Northampton industry; and Trotman was of an old gentry family with estates in Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.4 The origin and character of his connexion with Northampton is not clear. He settled, probably in 1780, in a fair-sized house in what was then a residential district of Northampton; the name of his son Samuel appears in the All Saints’ baptismal register in November 1780; and he himself in the St. Giles’ parish church rate book in March 1781; but his name is absent from it after 1785, which suggests that he left Northampton that year. He defeated Lucan by 500 to 433 votes, and the hard core of his supporters were forerunners of the party in the borough ‘conservative of church and state’, while the Spencer interest formed the nucleus of the future Whig-Liberal party.
In May 1784 Trotman was classed by William Adam as a follower of Pitt. No speech or vote by him is recorded. In 1788 he signed the third party circular. In 1789 he presented addresses from his constituents to Pitt and the King. He did not stand again in 1790: according to Hall because he found Parliament a situation ‘unfit for him’; while he himself gave ill-health as his reason.5
Trotman died 19 June 1824, aged 71.