PENDARVES, Alexander (1662-1725), of Roskrow, 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



1689 - 1698
16 Jan. 1699 - 1705
1708 - 1710
1710 - 2 Mar. 1714
12 Apr. 1714 - 1715
11 Jan. 1721 - 8 Mar. 1725

Family and Education

bap. 11 Nov. 1662, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of John Pendarves of Roskrow by Bridget, da. of Sir Alexander Carew, 2nd Bt.†, of Antony, Cornw.  educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1682; G. Inn 1682.  m. (1) Lady Dorothy, da. of Richard Bourke, 8th Earl of Clanricarde [I], 1da.; (2) 17 Feb. 1718, Mary, da. of Bernard Granville I*, s.p.  suc. bro. 1693.1

Offices Held

Director, Land Bank 1696.2

Commr. prizes Sept. 1703–July 1705; surveyor-gen. of crown lands Jan. 1714–Jan. 1715.3

Stannator, Tywarnhaile 1703; commr. for sewers, Tower Hamlets 1712.


During the Convention, Pendarves had voted against declaring the throne vacant, and shortly after his return for Penryn in 1690 was classed by Lord Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†) as a Tory and Court supporter. He was an inactive Member of the 1690 Parliament, though he was included in December 1690 on Carmarthen’s list of likely personal supporters, and in April 1691 was listed as ‘doubtful’ by Robert Harley*. His only notable activity in this Parliament was to tell on 23 Feb. 1695 against a motion to set a date for the next hearing of the ways and means committee. Unopposed at Penryn at the 1695 election, Pendarves was forecast in January 1696 as likely to oppose the Court on the proposed council of trade, signed the Association in February and voted against fixing the price of guineas at 22s in March. In May he was granted a pass to go to Ireland, presumably in connexion with the affairs of his wife’s father and brother who had been, respectively, outlawed and attainted for their support for James II in the early 1690s. Pendarves remained in Ireland throughout the summer, during which he wrote to Sir William Trumbull* requesting his recommendation to ‘the present governor of this kingdom. One word from Mr Secretary . . . would set me on a sure foundation.’ He was absent from the division of 25 Nov. 1696 on the attainder of Sir John Fenwick†, but had returned to Westminster by 10 Dec. when he was teller for an adjournment motion. In March 1698 he managed through its early stages a bill for the better discovery of estates given to superstitious uses. At the 1698 election Pendarves chose not to oppose James Vernon I* at Penryn, but when Vernon opted to sit for Westminster and proposed his son at the consequent by-election Pendarves resolved to contest the by-election. Despite suggestions that he should instead stand at Saltash, Pendarves took the Penryn election to the poll and defeated James Vernon II*. A little more than a month after his return Pendarves was nominated to prepare a bill naturalizing three army officers with English parents (21 Feb. 1699), but he was otherwise inactive during this Parliament. Having retained his seat at the first 1701 election Pendarves was listed in February 1701 as likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’. On 23 Apr. he reported on a petition requesting a bill for the repair of Minehead harbour, which he was then nominated to prepare, and later reported it from committee. Pendarves was later blacklisted as having in this session opposed the preparations for war with France, but he nevertheless retained his seat at the second election of the year and in December was listed by Harley as a Tory. On 18 Feb. 1702 he told in favour of a motion, aimed at Lord Cutts (John*), for a committee to determine precedents in relation to Members chosen for several places who made their choice of constituency when not having taken their oaths. He was listed as having favoured the motion of 26 Feb. vindicating the Commons’ recent proceedings in the impeachments of the King’s Whig ministers. Pendarves told on a further two occasions in this session: on the Tory side in the division upon the Bishop’s Castle election case (31 Mar.), and against recommitting the bill to make provision for the Protestant children of his in-laws the Earl of Clanricarde and Lord Bophin (8 Apr.).4

Pendarves retained his seat at the 1702 election, and on 13 Feb. 1703 voted against agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill enlarging the time for taking the Abjuration. The following autumn he was appointed to the prize commission, at a salary of £500 p.a. On 30 Oct. 1704 he was forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack, and on 25 Nov. William Lowndes* was deputed by Lord Godolphin (Sidney†) to lobby Pendarves on this measure. Three days later he did not vote for the Tack. In early 1705 Pendarves was included upon a list of placemen, though appears to have chosen not to stand at that year’s election. On 6 Mar. 1707 he petitioned the Commons, claiming that the Act for the provision of the Protestant children of the Earl of Clanricarde and Lord Bophin had stated that the trustees for their forfeited estates were to pay Pendarves the £5,000 plus interest he was owed for his wife’s marriage portion, but that no such payment had yet been made. He requested that a bill be brought in to allow the trustees to sell part of the forfeited estates in order to satisfy this debt, and this petition was referred to committee. The result was an estate bill which passed the Commons later in March. Pendarves returned to the Commons in 1708, being elected for Saltash upon the Buller interest. He was classed by Lord Sunderland (Charles, Lord Spencer*) as a ‘loss’ and in 1710 voted against the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. His only notable activity in this Parliament was to petition on 24 Jan. 1710 for a bill to extend the duration of the 1707 estate Act. Though a committee was appointed to draft the measure, no bill was presented.5

Pendarves welcomed the ministerial revolution of 1710, and in August was writing to inform Harley of ‘what it has cost me and my family for the service of the crown’ and to request some mark of government favour. In the autumn he supported the Tory candidates for Cornwall and was himself returned for Saltash and Penryn, being classed in the ‘Hanover list’ as a Tory. Pendarves made his choice to sit for Penryn, and in 1711 was listed as both a ‘Tory patriot’ who had opposed the continuation of the war, and a ‘worthy patriot’ who had helped discover the mismanagements of the previous ministry. This second list also marked him as a member of the October Club. By this time he was also an established member of the ‘Board of Brothers’. That Harley had taken some notice of Pendarves’ plea for office is suggested by a memorandum of June 1711 in which Harley listed him as a possible candidate for a place in the administration of the tin, but no such office appears to have been forthcoming. In January 1712 Pendarves was one of the members of the ‘Brothers’ thanked by the board for ‘their good attendance and service’ during the debate of 24 Jan. on the censure of the Duke of Marlborough (John Churchill†). Pendarves continued to aspire to government office, and in August 1712 wrote to the Earl of Oxford (as Harley had become) to request appointment as a lord of Trade. Despite his claim still to be paying interest on a loan made by his grandfather to the Royalist cause in the Civil Wars, Pendarves’ pretensions were not satisfied by Oxford. He nevertheless voted with the Court on 18 June 1713 in favour of the French commerce bill, and retained his seat at the 1713 election. In January 1714 he obtained, with the support of Lord Lansdown (George Granville*), the post of surveyor-general of the crown lands and was defeated at the consequent by-election necessitated by his appointment in March. The following month he returned to the House at the Helston by-election, though on 22 Apr. he nevertheless petitioned against his defeat at Penryn. Pendarves’ only notable activity in this session was his appointment on 21 June to draft a bill continuing the Act allowing the Queen to grant leases in the duchy of Cornwall, a measure he presented four days later. He was classed in the Worsley list as a Tory.6

A Jacobite under George I, Pendarves died ‘in Beaufort Buildings, in the Strand’, on 8 Mar. 1725. His second wife, Lansdown’s niece, left a picture of him as a gruff, morose man with a florid complexion, but his friend Thomas Tonkin* wrote of him that ‘for good humour, good sense, for a true and sincere adherence to the interests of his country, and for a harmless merry disposition, he left not many his equals, and none that exceed him in this country’.7

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 355–6; M. Delany, Autobiog. and Corresp. i. 22–24.
  • 2. NLS, Advocates’ mss, Bank of England pprs. 31.1.7, ff. 98–99.
  • 3. Cal. Treas. Bks. xvii. 315, 371; xx. 15; xxviii. 89; xxix. 338.
  • 4. CSP Dom. 1696, p. 189; Lodge, Peerage of Ire. i. 139–40; CP, iii. 233–4; HMC Downshire, i. 679; Add. 40772, ff. 49–50, 112–13.
  • 5. Luttrell, Brief Relation, v. 313, 318, 336; Bull. IHR, xlvi. 182.
  • 6. Add. 70204, Pendarves to Harley, 10 Aug., 7 Oct. 1710, 10, 19 Dec. 1713, 14, 25 Jan., 18 Feb. 1713[–14]; 49360, ff. 16, 18, 49, 68, 94, 100; 70332, memo. 4 June 1711.
  • 7. The Gen. n.s. vi. 182; Delany, 22–24; Polsue, Complete Paroch. Hist. Cornw. ii. 80.