COURTNEY (COURTENAY), Sir Peter (c.1616-70), of Trethurfe, Ladock, Cornw.
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Family and Education
b. c.1616, and but 1st surv. s. of Edward Courtney of Trethurfe by Elizabeth, da. of Tristram Gorges of Butshead, St. Budeaux, Devon. educ. Exeter, Oxf. matric. 21 June 1633, aged 16; L. Inn 1636. m. (1) 27 Dec. 1638, Alice (d. 18 Nov. 1659), da. of Jonathan Rashleigh of Menabilly, Cornw., 1s. 4da.; (2) Amy, da. of Peter Courtney of Penkivel, Cornw., s.p. suc. fa. by 1636; kntd. 28 June 1642.1
Commr. of array, Cornw. 1642; portreeve, Mitchell by Apr. 1660-at least 1661; j.p. Cornw. July 1660-d., commr. for assessment Aug. 1660-9.
Lt.-col. of ft. (royalist) 1642, col. 1643-?46.2
Courtney was descended from a younger son of the Devonshire Courtenays who married a Cornish heiress in the late 15th century. The family regularly sat for Cornish boroughs from Tudor times. Courtney was knighted on the eve of the Civil War at York, to which he had travelled at great hazard to inform the King of the good affection of the Cornish people. He served under Sir Bevil Granville, and compounded in 1648 for a fine of £326. An active royalist conspirator during the Interregnum, he was a member of the western association in 1650 and in the following year he was described as ‘one that is ready to serve upon any insurrection’. The Cornish committee suspected him of complicity in the Booth rising. He himself claimed that throughout this period he had lost some £7,000 by plunder and compositions and undergone ‘seven or eight imprisonments’.3
After the Restoration Courtney was added to the Cornish commission of the peace, but his only other reward was a grant of the farm of the Cornish tin customs at a rent of £3,000 p.a., shortly afterwards rescinded on the discovery of an earlier grant to someone else. Returned to the Convention at a by-election for Tregony in October 1660 he was probably a court supporter, but he made no speeches and was appointed to no committees. In 1665 he petitioned for a pension from the tin farm, mentioning his services and losses for the royalist cause and complaining that he was a prisoner for debt in his own house. Nothing seems to have been done for him. His will was proved on 3 May 1670. His only son died without issue in 1683, leaving his estates to his cousin and brother-in-law, Humphrey Courtney.4