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|1558/9||JOHN SMITH 1|
|SIR THOMAS CHAMBERLAIN 2|
|13 Dec. 1562||WILLIAM PARTRIDGE|
|27 Apr. 1572||GEORGE GRENVILLE II|
|1581||(? FRANCIS DRAKE) vice Gifford, deceased|
|1 Nov. 1588||ARTHUR GORGES|
|4 Oct. 1597||WILLIAM CARNSEW II|
|27 Sept. 1601||WILLIAM CARNSEW II|
|1 Sept. 1601||ANTHONY TURPIN|
Camelford, a duchy of Cornwall borough in the parish of Lanteglos, north of Bodmin, received its first charter from Henry III. The borough probably began to send Members to Parliament in the reign of Edward VI. Queen Mary confirmed its privileges in 1553.3 The principal officer was the mayor or portreeve whose post was apparently hereditary: Christopher Cock appears as mayor on every surviving parliamentary return between 1555 and 1563, and his son John from 1572 to 1604.4 The 1588 election return was signed by 18 persons, though other returns have fewer signatures. By 1597, Camelford had adopted the practice of making out a separate return for each Member: the returns for the last Parliament of the reign are dated nearly a month apart.
As lord warden of the stannaries and lord lieutenant of Cornwall, the Earl of Bedford enjoyed considerable influence, but he does not seem to have found seats at Camelford for as many dependants as he did in the adjacent borough of Bossiney. Several of the outsiders elected seem to have had closer ties with other court patrons, particularly William Cecil, with whom Bedford worked intimately in the early period.
The 1559 MP, John Smith, has not been identified. Possibly he was one of the Smiths of Tregonack, near Liskeard, in which case a connexion with both Bedford and Cecil could be found through Edmund Tremayne, one of the Earl’s west country followers. Smith’s colleague was Sir Thomas Chamberlain, a diplomat who apparently regarded Cecil as his closest friend at court. William Partridge (1563), a Kent country gentleman, probably owed his election to Cecil, his ‘singular good master’, though he must presumably have been known also to Bedford through his former employer, Sir Thomas Parry. The puritan courtier Dru Drury (1563) was probably a direct Bedford nominee. Edward Williams (1571), a Welshman living in London, was a former servant of Sir Ambrose Cave and must therefore have been known to Bedford and Cecil; at the time of his election he was in the service of Henry Knollys, whose father Sir Francis had once been MP for Camelford himself. Another outsider was John Gifford (1572), a Hampshire man in the service of Sir Henry Sidney, who may have arranged his election; alternatively Gifford may have known, Bedford through his Hampshire relatives, the Kingsmills, a strongly puritan family. Gifford’s early death necessitated a by-election in 1579, but the return has not been found. The new Member could have been Francis Drake, who is known to have been in the Commons in 1581 and who almost certainly owed his seat in the next Parliament to Bedford’s patronage.
Of the Cornishmen elected at Camelford during this period, Nicholas Prideaux (1571), George Grenville II (1572) and Emanuel Chamond (1584) were all members of prominent county families. A branch of the Prideaux family was living near Camelford at this date and Nicholas’s father, a country gentleman and local official, knew John Cock, its mayor. In addition, the family was closely related by marriage to John Peryam of Exeter and Sir John Chichester, two of Bedford’s principal west country supporters. Prideaux’s brother-in-law, George Grenville II, who lived at Penheale, near Launceston, bore one of the most famous names in Elizabethan Cornwall: Bedford placed much reliance on his family in county administration and almost certainly nominated him in 1572. Emanuel Chamond, a London lawyer, probably owed his return to his father Richard, knight for Cornwall on several occasions. Richard Trefusis, related to many leading Cornish families, and elected to three consecutive Parliaments, was also a lawyer, resident in London.
Camelford continued to elect outsiders after the Earl of Bedford’s death in 1585, but it is unlikely that any one patron inherited his influence. Francis Walsingham may have supported the return of his puritan relative Geoffrey Gates in 1586, but Gates, a lawyer from Essex, had already sat for two other Cornish boroughs and it is possible that Burghley was the immediate patron. Richard Leeche (1593), a Sussex gentleman, also looks like a Cecil nominee: little is known of him, but he was closely connected with Lord Buckhurst and the Earl of Nottingham. On the other hand, Arthur Gorges (1589), the courtier and soldier, probably owed his seat to his friend (Sir) Walter Ralegh lord lieutenant of Cornwall and warden of the stannaries, while the patron of Humphrey Michell (1593) and Jerome Horsey (1597) may have been Sir William Peryam, the judge, who was a friend of the Earl of Bedford and seems to have inherited some of his influence in Camelford. Michell, a former royal official living at Windsor, calls Peryam his ‘very good and honourable friend’ in his will, while Horsey was Peryam’s cousin. William Carnsew II (1597, 1601) was a local country gentleman living at Bokelly who probably needed no patron. His colleague in the last Parliament of the reign, Anthony Turpin, has not been identified.