CHERNOCK, Sir Pynsent, 3rd Bt. (by 1670-1734), of Holcot, Beds.

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



1705 - 1708
1713 - 1715

Family and Education

b. by 1670, 1st s. of Sir Villiers Chernock, 2nd Bt.†, of Holcot by Anne, da. and coh. of John Pynsent of Carlton Curlieu, Leics. and Combe, Surr., prothonotary of c.p.  educ. I. Temple 1684; Queens’, Camb. 1685.  m. 9 June 1691, Helen (d. 1741), da. and coh. of William Boteler† of Biddenham, Beds., 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 5da. (1 d.v.p.).  suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. Oct. 1694.1

Offices Held

Burgess, Bedford 1693.2


Chernock, the son of a moderate Tory squire who had represented the county in the 1685 Parliament, was a distant cousin of the Catholic convert and Jacobite conspirator Robert Chernock (or Charnock), vice-president of Magdalen College, Oxford under James II and later executed for his part in the Assassination Plot of 1696. Sir Pynsent topped the poll for knight of the shire in his first attempt at a parliamentary election in 1705, standing as a Tory and with the particular backing of the local clergy. His success was in part a reflection of the rising fortunes of the High Church interest in Bedfordshire, under the Bruces of Ampthill, with whom Chernock’s family had always been on good terms; but it was also due to his having been by some months the first candidate in the field, which had enabled him to collect a substantial number of single votes. He was classed as a Churchman in an analysis of the new House of Commons, and his election was accounted a ‘loss’ by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*), so it is no surprise to find him voting on 25 Oct. 1705 against the Court candidate for Speaker. He was subsequently marked as a Tory in two lists of 1708, but he had not been in any respect an active Member, and withdrew at the next election. He may also have been under some financial pressure at this time, for in 1709 he sold one of his Bedfordshire manors, forced into doing so, according to tradition, by the need to meet excessive election expenses. At any rate, it was not until 1713 that he ventured another contest, being returned with John Harvey ahead of two Whigs. This time he was the manager of a bill through the Commons, but it was a measure of strictly local concern, to amend a Bedfordshire highways Act. In the Worsley list he appeared as a Tory. At the next election he canvassed on behalf of Tory candidates in the borough of Bedford as well as standing himself for knight of the shire. Defeat on that occasion marked his last involvement in parliamentary politics, though his name was sent to the Pretender in 1721 as a likely sympathizer.3

Chernock died at Holcot on 2 Sept. 1734, and was buried there. His son Sir Boteler Chernock, 4th Bt., sat for Bedford 1740–7, as a Tory.4

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: D. W. Hayton


  • 1. Burke, Commoners, ii. 104–5; Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 132–3; Beds. N. and Q. iii. 299; Add. 24120, f. 191; VCH Beds. iii. 387; F. A. Blaydes, Genealogia Bedfordiensis, 45, 399; Beds. Par. Reg. xxix. (Holcot) 9.
  • 2. Bedford Bor. Council, Bedford bor. recs. B2/3, corp. act bk. 1688–1718, f. 30.
  • 3. Bull. IHR, xlviii. 67–68; HMC 15th Rep. VII, 188–9, 217; Ailesbury Mems. i. 352; Wilts. RO, Ailesbury mss 1300/998, Ld. Bruce (Charles*) to Ld. Ailesbury (Thomas Bruce†), 30 Jan. 1704[–5]; VCH Beds. 436; P. S. Fritz, Ministers and Jacobitism 1715–45, p. 151.
  • 4. Beds. N. and Q. ii. 144; Beds. Par. Reg. 9.