TREVANION, John (1741-1810), of Dover, Kent and New Windsor, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1774 - 1784
14 Jan. 1789 - 1806

Family and Education

bap. 1741, 2nd s. of Rev. Hugh Trevanion, vicar of West Alvington, Devon by his w. Utricia.1 m. 5 June 1773, Elizabeth, da. of John Boyd of Danson, Kent, 2s. 1da. at least.2 suc. uncle Nicholas Trevanion of New Windsor 1778.3

Offices Held


On a vacancy in 1789 Trevanion, a friend and political associate of Wilkes, regained his seat for Dover, where he had a house and had built up a strong personal interest during the previous 20 years. Although he never joined the Whig Club or Brooks’s, he voted with opposition on the Regency and attended their gathering at Burlington House on 11 May 1790. At the general election the following month he was successful at Dover in the fifth of the eight contests which he fought there between 1770 and 1806.

Trevanion voted against government on Oczakov, 12 Apr. 1791 and 1 Mar. 1792, and was listed favourable to repeal of the Test Act in Scotland in 1791; but he was named in Windham’s provisional list for the ‘third party’ early in 1793 and transferred his support to government on the outbreak of war. He attended the meeting summoned by Pitt at Dover in 1794 to raise funds for national defence and subscribed £100.4 He was listed ‘pro’ in the ministerial survey drawn up for the general election of 1796, when he was again returned for Dover, as he was in 1802. He voted against abolition of the slave trade, 15 Mar. 1796, and, in an echo of his radical past, for Grey’s parliamentary reform motion, 26 May 1797. No further votes are recorded in his name and he is not known to have spoken in the House. He was listed under ‘Fox’ in March 1804, among the ‘doubtful’ by Pitt’s second ministry in May and under ‘Pitt’ in their lists of September 1804 and July 1805.

The nature of the business which Trevanion conducted from South Sea House, Broad Street, where he was listed as a merchant in the London directories between 1781 and 1795 (having previously traded from addresses in Bishopsgate), is not clear, but in 1806 Charles Jenkinson, who opposed him at Dover on the lord warden’s interest, described him as ‘originally a West Indian’. Jenkinson went on to say that ‘he has dissipated whatever property he possessed and bears in other respects a very broken reputation’.5 He went to the poll against Jenkinson and a candidate backed by the Grenville ministry, but finished a distant third. He died 21 Apr. 1810.6

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Lawrence Taylor


  • 1. Devon and Cornw. N. and Q. xxiii. 265.
  • 2. Gent. Mag. (1773), 303; (1793), ii. 963; Alumni Cantab. PCC 176 Hay.
  • 3. PCC 176 Hay.
  • 4. J. B. Jones, Dover (1907), 157.
  • 5. Add. 38458, f. 180.
  • 6. Gent. Mag. (1810), i. 497; Devon and Cornw. N. and Q. xxiv. 132-3.