Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1690-1715, ed. D. Hayton, E. Cruickshanks, S. Handley, 2002
Available from Boydell and Brewer

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen, i.e. householders

Number of Qualified Electors:


Number of voters:

27 in 1689


8 Mar. 1690Samuel Travers
 Sir Peter Colleton, Bt.
Apr. 1694Humphrey Nicoll vice Colleton, deceased
8 Oct. 1695Hon. George Booth
 John Manley
3 Aug. 1698Sir John Pole, Bt.
 John Tregagle
11 Jan. 1701Hon. Francis Robartes
 John Tregagle
 John Manley
21 Mar. 1701Hon. Thomas Watson Wentworth vice Robartes, chose to sit for Tregony
3 Dec. 1701Sir John Molesworth, Bt.
 John Manley
27 July 1702William Hooker
 John Manley
19 May 1705Sir Simon Harcourt
 John Manley
17 May 1708Samuel Travers
 Francis Foote
19 Oct. 1710Hon. Francis Robartes
 John Manley
22 Dec. 1710Henry Campion vice Robartes, chose to sit for Bodmin
9 Sept. 1713Sir William Pole, Bt.
 John Manley
22 Mar. 1714Paul Orchard  vice Manley, deceased

Main Article

Thomas Tonkin* wrote that Bossiney, also known as Tintagel, ‘is a very small village, and contains scarcely 20 houses, and those not better than cottages’ which with the ‘equally mean’ hamlet of Trevenna made up the whole borough. Bossiney was a duchy manor leased by the townsmen and ‘whoever has free land in the borough and lives in the parish is a freeman’. The mayor was chosen at the court leet. The advowson was owned by the dean and chapter of Windsor, and the lessees of the ruined Tintagel Castle also had an interest. The principal families exercising influence appear to have been the Robartes, the 2nd Earl of Radnor (Charles Bodvile Robartes†) having inherited most of the property of John Hender†, the Molesworths, the Nicolls and the Glynns.1

In 1690, Samuel Travers, a government Whig who came from Windsor and was a second cousin of the Earl of Radnor, was returned with Sir Peter Colleton, 2nd Bt., a Country Whig whose mother’s family was connected with the borough (one of them having been a capital burgess under James ii’s charter). On Colleton’s death, Humphrey Nicoll, a Cornish Whig, was elected, although no indenture has survived. The by-election may have been delayed, as in June 1694 the Duke of Shrewsbury, in promoting Robert Molesworth for a place, told the King that ‘he has a relation [Sir John Molesworth, 2nd Bt.*] in the west, by whose interest he is almost sure to come in Sir Peter Colleton’s place in Parliament’. In 1695 Hon. George Booth, the brother-in-law of the Earl of Radnor, was returned with John Manley, a Tory from Truro. At the next election Sir John Pole, 3rd Bt., a Cornish Tory, was elected with John Tregagle, the receiver-general of the Duchy, who had property in Bossiney.2

At the first election of 1701 Tregagle came in with Francis Robartes, Lord Radnor’s uncle, defeating Manley, who petitioned on 14 Feb. alleging that Tregagle had set up a rival mayor who had carried out the election and discriminated against his voters. Further, he accused Tregagle of ‘bribery out of his Majesty’s revenue of the duchy of Cornwall’. The petition never emerged from committee. Meanwhile on 3 Mar. Robartes chose to sit for Tregony, allowing his nephew to bring in Hon. Thomas Watson Wentworth, a Whig outsider. At the second 1701 election Manley was chosen with Sir John Molesworth (Robert’s cousin), a Whig who had also inherited property from the Henders. In 1702 William Hooker, Tregagle’s uncle and assignee of the Tregagle estates, was chosen with Manley. Soon after the 1702 election, Hooker attempted to strengthen his interest by petitioning on 20 Oct. for a lease of Tintagel Castle, the existing term having expired at Midsummer 1701. His claims were opposed by Lord Radnor, who sent in his own petition on 29 Nov. 1703, and also by Lovedy Mitchell, who petitioned on 29 Mar. 1704 for a renewal of the lease possessed by her ancestors. In October, Lord Treasurer Godolphin (Sidney†) called in the parties to adjudicate between them, but no decision appears to have been reached. At the 1705 election Manley was joined by (Sir) Simon Harcourt I, presumably at the behest of the Court.3

Despite reports that Robartes would stand in 1708, the election of that year saw the uncontested return of Francis Foote, a Cornish Whig, and Samuel Travers. George Granville* bemoaned his inability to recover Tintagel, having been unable to intervene owing to ‘a bargain struck up above these two years in Mr Hooker’s name which I could not break through upon any terms, which interest was transferred the morning of the election to Mr Travers’. The terms of the deal are unclear, but Hooker petitioned on 10 June for the office of receiver-general of the Duchy, having bailed out Tregagle, and on the same day Travers petitioned for a lease of Tintagel Castle. Travers was granted a lease on 7 July 1708 and Hooker received the office a year later.4

As early as August 1710 Robartes informed Robert Harley* that ‘at Tintagel all the voices declare for me’, and he was duly elected along with Manley. However, Robartes then chose to sit for Bodmin, thereby precipitating a by-election made more difficult, according to George Granville*, by the ability of Hugh Boscawen II* (warden of the Stannaries for life) to secure the collectorship of Padstow for one of his friends over the recommendation of both Granville himself and Robartes. Nevertheless, Henry Campion, a High Tory from Sussex, was returned unopposed. In his analysis of Cornish constituencies in 1712, John Trevanion* commented that at Bossiney, ‘both for a sum of money [are] sold’. In 1713 Manley was joined by (Sir) William Pole (4th Bt.), and at a by-election on Manley’s death, Paul Orchard, a Cornish Tory was chosen as his replacement.5

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley


  • 1. Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. Cornw. iv. 229; Maclean, Trigg Minor, iii. 191; Willis, Not. Parl. ii. 117, 119.
  • 2. Coxe, Shrewsbury Corresp. 43.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. xvii. 370; xviii. 460; xix. 54–55, 189, 311.
  • 4. BL, Evelyn mss, Mrs Boscawen to John Evelyn II*, 11 May 1708; HMC Portland, iv. 489; Cal. Treas. Bks. xxii. 264, 283–4, 316; xxiii. 247.
  • 5. HMC Portland, 569, 646; Add. 70314–15, Trevanion’s list.