COURTNEY, William (1678-1716), of Tremeer and Trethurfe, Cornw.

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



Dec. 1701 - 1702

Family and Education

bap. 24 Nov. 1678, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Humphrey Courtney*.  educ. I. Temple 1695.  m. 19 June 1704, Susannah (d. 1716), da. of John Kelland† of Painsford, Devon, wid. of Moses Gould of Hayes, Mdx., sis. of Charles Kelland†, coh. of nephew John Kelland (d. 1712), 3s. 1da.  suc. fa. 1696.1

Offices Held

Stannator, Foymore 1703.2


Courtney succeeded his father to heavily indebted estates. On 2 Dec. 1696 he petitioned the Commons, stating that unless these debts were satisfied his estate would ‘be swallowed up with interest’ and requesting a bill to allow his trustees to sell enough land to satisfy his father’s debts. A committee was appointed to prepare such a measure, and though the bill was committed on 14 Jan. 1697 it was never reported, the complications raised by three petitions to the House by Courtney’s creditors (30 Dec. 1696, 18 and 26 Jan. 1697) presumably causing the bill’s failure. In May 1700 the £10,000 mortgage upon Courtney’s estates was transferred to John Williams* and Hugh Boscawen I*, but despite his continuing financial problems Courtney was returned for Mitchell to the second 1701 Parliament. Lord Spencer (Charles*) classed his election as a ‘loss’ and Robert Harley* listed him with the Tories. Both assessments were borne out when Courtney voted in favour of the motion of 26 Feb. 1702 vindicating the Commons’ proceedings in the previous Parliament against the Whig lords. Nothing more is known of his activity in the Commons, and, having lost the support of Sir Richard Vyvyan, 3rd Bt.*, he was defeated at Mitchell at the 1702 election. His petition against this return was never reported from committee. The remainder of Courtney’s involvement with Parliament concerned his financial affairs. On 14 Nov. 1704 the Commons received a petition requesting an estate bill to allow the executors of the estate of his wife’s first husband to pay the £5,000 portion due to her. A second petition was entered from a man who described Courtney’s marriage as ‘pretended’, alleging that the widow had contracted a marriage to him prior to her arrangement with Courtney and that a case concerning this matter was pending in the court of Arches. However, the bill received the Royal Assent in January 1705. In the following session a bill was introduced to allow all Courtney’s estates in Cornwall and Devon to be vested in trustees and sold for the payment of debt. It passed in March 1706, and after the consequent sales Tremeer was one of the few manors to remain in Courtney’s possession. However, in 1712 his fortunes were enhanced by his wife’s inheritance of a fourth part of her family’s Devon estates. Courtney died in 1716, his will being proved on 8 Apr. He was succeeded by his elder son William, and his wife married a third time, to Arthur Champernowne†. In 1719 Courtney’s younger son Kelland† succeeded to the family estates.3

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 115; Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. Cornw. iii. 19; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 508–9.
  • 2. J. Tregoning, Laws of Stannaries, 118.
  • 3. HMC Lords, n.s. vi. 248, 391–2; Vivian, Vis. Devon, 164, 422, 508–9.