BOSCAWEN, Edward (1628-85), of Worthevale, Minster, Cornw. and Kensington, Mdx.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1660-1690, ed. B.D. Henning, 1983
Available from Boydell and Brewer



5 May 1660
16 May 1661
Mar. 1679
Oct. 1679

Family and Education

bap. 21 Nov. 1628, 5th s. of Hugh Boscawen of Tregothnan, Penkevil, Cornw. and bro. of Charles Boscawen and Hugh Boscawen. m. 5 Jan. 1665, Jael (bur. 18 Apr. 1730), da. of Francis Godolphin of Godolphin, Breage, Cornw., 1s. 2da.1

Offices Held

Commr. for militia, Cornw. Mar. 1660, assessment, Cornw. 1661-3, 1664-80, Westminster 1677-80; member, corp. for propagation of the Gospel in New England 1661; j.p. Cornw. ?1667-70; freeman, Levant Co. 1670; stannator, Tywarnwhaile 1673; commr. for recusants, Cornw. 1675.2


Boscawen was apprenticed to a Turkey merchant in 1648, subsequently transferring to the service of John Rolle, well known for his resistance to tunnage and poundage. He acquired the manors of Worthevale and Roscarrock in North Cornwall, and had probably given up trade when he first entered Parliament in 1659 for the family borough of Tregony. At the general election of 1660 he was involved in double returns for Truro, three miles from Tregothnan, and Tregony, and seated for both boroughs on the merits of the returns, eventually choosing the former. Classed by Lord Wharton as a friend, he was probably overshadowed by his eldest brother throughout his political career. In the Convention he was appointed by full name only to the committee to supply defects in the poll bill.3

At the general election of 1661 Boscawen was again involved in a double return at Truro, but the House decided in favour of the corporation franchise, and he retained his seat. Although he can seldom be positively distinguished from his brother, he probably remained inactive in the Cavalier Parliament, with 34 committee appointments, including the committee of elections and privileges in ten sessions. He was named to the abortive committee of public accounts in 1666, and on the fall of Clarendon he was among those ordered to bring in a public accounts bill, to inquire into the miscarriages of the war, and to hear the petition from the merchants trading to France. Less flexible than his brother, he left the Cornish commission of the peace after the second Conventicles Act, and may then have moved to the outskirts of London. The brothers acted as tellers for taking into custody the election agent of Edward Backwell, the government financier, on 21 Mar. 1673. In the following year Boscawen was among those instructed to bring in an electoral reform bill. He was listed by Sir Richard Wiseman among the Cornish opposition in 1676, and marked ‘thrice worthy’ on Shaftesbury’s list.4

Boscawen was re-elected to the Exclusion Parliaments, and classed as ‘worthy’ by Shaftesbury. Otherwise his only certain activity was on the elections committee at Oxford, where he had great difficulty in finding accommodation. He served on the Middlesex grand jury which brought in a true bill against Danby of complicity in the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey ‘upon the single and uncertain evidence’ of Edward Fitzharris. He died suddenly on 28 Oct. 1685, and was buried at St. Mary Abbot, Kensington. Roger Morrice described him as ‘a very useful man to those that knew him well, and my particular acquaintance. ... He has left one son and one daughter, and, I believe, a great estate.’ The son, Hugh, succeeded to Tregothnan and an extensive electoral interest in 1701, and sat as a Whig for various Cornish constituencies including the county until he was created Viscount Falmouth in 1720.5

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Authors: M. W. Helms / Paula Watson


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 46-48; Boase, Coll. Cornub. 95.
  • 2. PC2/55/217; information from Miss Sonia P. Anderson; Add. 6713, f.377.
  • 3. Information from H. Horwitz; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 564, 628; CJ, viii. 12, 13, 69, 137.
  • 4. CJ, viii. 250, 306; D. R. Lacey, Dissent and Parl. Pols. 380-2.
  • 5. Add. 28052, f. 90; Add. 28047, f. 285; R. Morrice, Entering Bk. 1, p. 487; Lysons, Environs, iii. 214.