VINCENT, Henry I (1653-1717), of Trelavan, nr. Fowey, 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



Mar. 1681
1685 - 1687
2 Feb. 1689 - 1713

Family and Education

bap. 9 July 1653, 1st s. of Walter Vincent† of Truro, Cornw. by Jane, da. of Edward Nosworthy† of Ince Castle, Cornw.; bro. of Walter Vincent*.  educ. Exeter, Oxf. 1667; I. Temple 1667, called 1674.  m. lic. 22 Oct. 1679, Rebecca, da. of Henry Searle of Wanstead, Essex, 3s. (1 d.v.p.).  suc. fa. 1680.1

Offices Held

Alderman, Penryn, Tregony and Truro 1685–7; freeman, East Looe and Mitchell 1686; stannator, Tywarnhaile 1686, 1703.2

Commr. victualling 1699–1711; taking subscriptions to land bank 1696; dep.-paymaster of the army 1705–6.3


Vincent had a strong interest at Truro, which he seems to have exercised in tandem with the Boscawens (see TRURO, Cornw.). Following his return in 1690 he was classed as a Tory and Court supporter by the Marquess of Carmarthen (Sir Thomas Osborne†). Three ‘Mr Vincents’ sat in this Parliament, although Shadrach Vincent was usually distinguished by his military rank of major, and his brother Walter died in 1692. ‘Mr Vincent’ occasionally appears on drafting committees during this Parliament. In December 1690 Vincent’s name appeared on a list of those likely to defend Carmarthen from parliamentary attack. In December he was also involved in negotiations surrounding the Searle estate bill. In April 1691 Robert Harley* classed him as a Country supporter.4

Returned again in 1695, Vincent was forecast in January 1696 as likely to oppose the Court in the divisions on the proposed council of trade, but signed the Association promptly. In the following session he voted against the attainder of Sir John Fenwick† on 25 Nov. On 13 Jan. 1697 he received leave of absence for five weeks. In June that year, after an initial application four years earlier, he obtained an exclusive 31-year patent to prospect for copper mines on duchy lands despite opposition from the Copper Miners’ Company of England. He and his partner, Francis Scobell*, were described as ‘gentlemen of reputation and interest in the county of Cornwall and for that reason are more capable of encouraging the working of such mines than strangers’. Vincent was classed as a Court supporter in a list of about September 1698, although a subsequent list marked him as more doubtful. He was chosen as a commissioner of the victualling office in August the following year, a post worth £400 p.a. James Vernon I* commented: ‘Mr [Charles] Montagu* will be well satisfied that Harry Vincent has succeeded, being a very honest man in the Saxon [i.e. West country] corner’. In an analysis of the House in the first half of 1700 he was classed as a placeman. He was listed in February 1701 as likely to support the Court over the ‘Great Mortgage’, and he was classed as a Whig by Harley in December 1701. He voted on 13 Feb. 1703 for agreeing with the Lords’ amendments to the bill for enlarging the time for taking the oath of abjuration. On 27 Nov. he was named to draft a bill to increase the number of seamen and in November 1704 presented information from the victualling office to the House. He was forecast as a probable opponent of the Tack and did not vote for it on 28 Nov. 1704.5

Vincent was appointed deputy to John Grobham Howe* as paymaster to the army in 1705, a natural appointment given his role in the victualling office. He handled various clothing contracts for the forces in Spain. Classed as a ‘Churchman’ and a placeman in 1705, he voted for the Court candidate as Speaker on 25 Oct. and supported the Court over the ‘place clause’ of the regency bill on 18 Feb. 1706. In January 1707 he managed through the House a bill making L’Amazon a free ship. Early in 1708 he was classed as a Whig. In the 1708 Parliament he was joined by his eldest son, Henry II, thereby making identification difficult. On 17 Jan. 1709 he presented accounts on victualling the navy in Spain and Portugal, and later in the session voted for naturalizing the Palatines. On 7 Apr. he may have been a teller against going into committee on considering the trade to Africa. He presented a report from the victualling commissioners in February 1710 and also his accounts as deputy-paymaster, and voted for the impeachment of Dr Sacheverell. In May he was in Barcelona preparing to hand over his office, but it seems he was not dismissed. He was classed as a Tory in the ‘Hanover list’ in 1710, though probably because he had retained his office. In November 1711 he relinquished this to his eldest son, having initially hoped to hand it on to his younger son, Nicholas†. It seems that following his retirement from administration, Vincent took a back seat in Parliament, and he may have been the ‘Mr Vincent’ accorded six weeks’ leave on 17 May 1712. Indeed, he was also absent from the division on the French commerce bill on 18 June 1713. However, Vincent showed his continuing support for the Harley ministry by joining with Lord Lansdown (George Granville*) in efforts to curtail the electoral potency of Hugh Boscawen II and the Cornish Whigs at such boroughs as Truro in 1713, even though he himself retired at that election. After Queen Anne’s death, he was able to reach an agreement with Boscawen over Cornish elections, which helped to ensure his son’s continuance in office. His nephew Thomas Tonkin* wrote that ‘having a very plentiful fortune by his wife and one of his own acquiring too’, Vincent made over Trelavan and most of his other Cornish estates to his eldest son in 1706 and lived in retirement at Chelsea in a house which had belonged to Dr Atterbury, bishop of Rochester. Vincent died ‘in Fleet Street in London, at the house of Dr Humphry Colmer, his physician, December 28th 1717, of an apoplectic fit, a misfortune which many of his family had been subject to’.6

Ref Volumes: 1690-1715

Authors: Eveline Cruickshanks / Stuart Handley


  • 1. St. Mary’s Truro Par. Reg. (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. ), i. 202; G. C. Boase, Collectanea Cornubiensia, 1149; London Mar. Lic. ed. Foster, 1389; R. Inst. Cornw. Tonkin’s ms hist. i. 119–20.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1685, pp. 71–74, 80; T. Bond, Sketches of Looe, 4; J. Tregoning, Stannary Laws, 57, 118.
  • 3. CSP Dom. 1699–1700, p. 254; Cal. Treas. Bks. xx. 85, 408; xxi. 68, 248; CJ, xii. 510.
  • 4. Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 359–62.
  • 5. Cal. Treas. Bks. xii. 219–20, 232; Vernon–Shrewsbury Letters, ii. 344–5; Add. 40774, ff. 70–71.
  • 6. Chandler, v. 91; G. Holmes, Pol. in Age of Anne, 356; Tonkin, 119–20; Boyer, Pol. State, xiv. 624.