WREY, Sir Boutchier, 4th Bt. (c.1653-96), of Trebeigh, St. Ive, Cornw. and Tawstock, Devon.

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



18 Feb. 1678
1695 - 28 July 1696

Family and Education

b. c.1653, 1st s. of Sir Chichester Wrey, 3rd Bt., and bro. of Chichester Wrey. m. 3 May 1681, Florence, da. of (Sir) John Rolle of Stevenstone, Devon, 2s. 1da. KB 23 Apr. 1661; suc. fa. 14 May 1668.1

Offices Held

Lt. of ft. Admiralty Regt. 1666, capt. 1668, maj. 1680-3.

Commr. for assessment, Cornw. 1673-80, Cornw. and Devon 1689-90; j.p. Cornw. 1680-July 1688, Devon 1687-July 1688, Cornw. and Devon Oct. 1688-d.; freeman, Barnstaple 1684, Liskeard 1685-Sept. 1688, Oct. 1688-d.; capt. vol. horse, Cornw. 1685, col. 1690; stannator of Foymore 1686; commr. for rebels’ estates, Devon 1686.2

Commr. for drowned lands 1690.3


Probably the youngest knight at Charles II’s coronation, Wrey owed the honour to Lady Bath. He started his military career at an even earlier age than his father, and after several years in command of an under-strength company in Sheppey, one of the most unpopular of home postings, served under Monmouth at the siege of Maastricht. Wrey was returned at a by-election in 1678 for the family borough of Liskeard, four miles from his Cornish residence. He did not speak in the Cavalier Parliament or serve on any committees, but acted as teller against the resolution that the proceedings in the Commons had not occasioned a peace (1 June).4

As one of the ‘unanimous club’, Wrey is unlikely to have stood for the Exclusion Parliaments, and seems to have transferred his political activities to Devon, where he had inherited most of the estates of the Bourchier Earls of Bath. With Sir Edward Seymour and Sir Coplestone Bampfylde he presented the loyal address from the county in 1681, and after his retirement from the army he was elected for it as a Tory in 1685. But he was not negligent of his interest at Liskeard, presenting the corporation with a flagon bearing a convivial Latin motto: ‘Who fails in tippling fails in everything’. In James II’s Parliament Wrey was added to the committee for examining the accounts of the disbanding commissioners. On the news of Monmouth’s invasion, he raised a volunteer troop of horse which was responsible for the apprehension of Richard Goodenough. His answers to the lord lieutenant’s questions on the Test Act and Penal Laws followed the standard Devon negative pattern set by Seymour. Nevertheless he was expected to be returned for Liskeard in 1688 with the support of the Earl of Bath, until removed as freeman in September.5

When William of Orange landed, Wrey came in to him at Exeter, and advanced him £500. Returned again for Liskeard at the general election of 1689, he was appointed to the committee to bring in a list of the essentials for securing religion, law and liberties, and voted to agree with the Lords that the throne was not vacant. Apart from one private bill, he is not known to have taken any further part in the Convention, and he twice applied for leave. Wrey voted Tory under William III until his death on 28 July 1696. He was buried at Tawstock. His son, the fifth baronet, sat for Camelford as a Tory in two of Queen Anne’s Parliaments.6

Ref Volumes: 1660-1690

Author: John. P. Ferris


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 564-5.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1680, p. 380; Jan.-June 1683, p. 224; 1685, p. 66; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 546, 1317; HMC Lords, ii. 176; T. Wainwright, Barnstaple Recs. i. 74; J. Tregoning, Laws of the Stannaries, 57.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. ix. 794.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1672, p. 141; HMC 5th Rep. 146.
  • 5. Luttrell, i. 122; W. P. Courtney, Parl. Rep. Cornw. 255-6; Cal. Treas. Bks. viii. 278; ix. 29, 111; PC2/72/735.
  • 6. HMC 7th Rep. 416.