POMEROY, Henry (by 1565-c.1624), of Tregony, Cornw.
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Family and Education
b. by 1565, 2nd s. of Hugh Pomeroy (d. 23 Sept. 1565) of Tregony and Joan, da. of Thomas Bowerman of the I.o.W. m. 15 Apr. 1600, Elizabeth, da. of John Bonython of Cury, Cornw., 5s. 2da. admon. 18 Jan. 1625.1 sig. Henrye Pomerye.
Mayor, Tregony 1620, chief burgess and j.p. 1621-d.2
A Norman family in origin, the Pomeroys were granted Tregony manor soon after the Conquest, and dominated the town for the next five centuries, obtaining its first charter, and constructing a castle, church and priory. By the mid-sixteenth century, however, these structures were all decaying, and the family itself was in similar decline.3 Pomeroy’s father Hugh and his uncle Sir Thomas purchased numerous dissolved Cornish chantries in the 1540s, but Sir Thomas, who narrowly escaped execution for his part in the 1549 Western Rebellion, sold major ancestral estates in Devon. Hugh, a younger son, also apparently overreached himself, retaining little of his patrimony other than Tregony when he died in 1565.4 Pomeroy’s elder brother in turn disposed of Tregony manor in 1609.
Pomeroy lived in Tregony itself, where in 1599 his estate was valued for subsidy purposes at £4, one of the town’s highest assessments.5 Nevertheless, his landed income was apparently insufficient to satisfy him, as he set about to defraud others of their money by means of rigged games of cards and dice. In a lawsuit of 1602, in which the plaintiff described him as ‘little better than a common setter of matches and cosener, whereby he hath gotten a great estate’, it was shown how Pomeroy and his associates, mostly Tregony residents, extracted from one victim £173 in cash and bonds. Similar scams were allegedly perpetrated quite regularly around the local fairs and markets, ‘a thing notoriously known throughout the whole county’.6 The outcome of this case is not known, but it did nothing to prevent Pomeroy’s election to Parliament for the borough two years later. Pomeroy left no mark on the Commons’ records, but as a Cornish burgess he was entitled to attend six bill committees, whose subjects included the pilchard trade (20 June 1604) and timber supplies in Devon (25 June 1610).7
Pomeroy served as mayor of Tregony in 1620. When the borough was incorporated in 1621 he was named as the senior capital burgess, which empowered him to act as a town magistrate. He died intestate, probably towards the end of 1624, since administration of his estate, estimated for probate purposes at £1,000, was granted to his widow on 18 Jan. 1625. On the death of his childless son and heir in 1674, the Cornish branch of the family was extinguished, its remaining property passing to a distant cousin, Roger Pomeroy†.8
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Author: Paul Hunneyball
- 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 382; Cornw. RO, FET 44; P489.
- 2. Vis. Cornw. (Harl. Soc. ix), 285; C66/2246/16.
- 3. J. Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. of Cornw. i. 278, 81; C. Henderson et al. Cornish Church Guide, 206-7.
- 4. A.L. Rowse, Tudor Cornw. 269; Vivian, 382; C142/144/173.
- 5. E179/88/260; C2/Jas.I/L10/14; C2/Jas.I/P16/30.
- 6. STAC 5/W76/22.
- 7. CJ, i. 243a, 340b, 417a, 421b, 429b, 443a.
- 8. Cornw. RO, P489; Vivian, 382.