TRENGOVE, alias NANCE, Henry (by 1521-61), of Nance in Illogan, Cornw.

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



Oct. 1553

Family and Education

b. by 1521, 2nd s. of Alexander Trengove of Nance by Margaret, da. and h. of Henry Gilly of Cornw. m. Cheston, da. of Henry Nanspan of Pulsack in Phillack, 1s.1

Offices Held

Clerk of the coinage, Cornw. by 1542-d.; bailiff, Tywarnhayle stannary by 1547-54.2


Henry Nance, as he was generally known, succeeded his father at Nance, the family property situated some ten miles north of Helston, although he had an elder brother Richard, one of whose daughters married John Courtenay and later Thomas Arundell. He was one of the three clerks of the coinage: the other clerks, John Caplyn and Thomas Carnsew, held their offices under the receiver-general of the duchy and the comptroller of the coinage, but Nance was responsible to Sir William Godolphin, vice-warden of the stannaries and the leading landowner in west Cornwall. In 1543 Nance and Carnsew were accused of fraudulent behaviour in the exercise of their offices. John Grenville, who drew on information provided by William Chambers, submitted a memorandum to the Privy Council regarding ‘certain deceitful peising of tin’ in Cornwall. He alleged that, when weighing their own tin and that of their ‘secret friends’, the two clerks used a false balance which made the tin appear to be lighter than it was with the result that ‘the King’s majesty loseth the third penny, which amounteth near to the sum of £160 loss every coinage, and at some coinages the king’s highness doth lose the one half of his grace’s duty by that false means’. In their reply Nance and Carnsew stated that the charge arose from a misunderstanding of the procedure of the Cornish coinage. They claimed that it had long been the custom to weigh the tin first with the ‘King’s beam’ and then with the ‘merchants beam’: the first figure was the official one for purposes of taxation and the second was an unofficial one which was recorded at the request of those wishing to sell their tin in the market. After further investigations Nance was evidently acquitted since he continued to exercise his clerkship until his death.3

In February 1553 Nance was one of the freeholders present at the election of Godolphin’s eldest son and Henry Chiverton to the second Edwardian Parliament, and in the following autumn he himself took the second place for Helston, one of the coinage boroughs (where he owned some property) in the first Marian Parliament. He is not one of the Members known to have opposed the reunion with Rome. Three years later Nance was outlawed for failing to settle a debt, but on surrendering himself to the Fleet he was pardoned this misdemeanour. He lived to witness the accession of Elizabeth and died on io Nov. 1561 seised of over 2,400 acres which passed to his son John, married to a daughter of Sir John Arundell of Trerice.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Vis. Cornw. ed. Vivian, 485.
  • 2. St.Ch.2/31/161; Duchy Cornw. RO, 224, m. 3; information from G. Haslam.
  • 3. C142/134/184; St.Ch.2/31/161.
  • 4. C142/134/184; 219/20/21; CPR, 1555-7, pp. 426-7.