TRELAWNY, Edward (1699-1754), of Hengar, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1715-1754, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1970
Available from Boydell and Brewer



20 Jan. 1724 - Dec. 1732

Family and Education

bap. 9 July 1699, 4th s. of Sir Jonathan Trelawny, 3rd Bt., bp. of Winchester, by Rebecca, da. and coh. of Thomas Hele of Bascombe, Devon; bro. of Sir John Trelawny, 4th Bt.. educ. Westminster 1713-17; Ch. Ch. Oxf. 1717. m. (1) s.p.; (2) 8 Nov. 1737, Amoretta (d. Nov. 1741), da. of John Crawford, 1s. d.v.p.; (3) 2 Feb. 1752, Catherine, wid. of Robert Penny, attorney-gen. of Jamaica, s.p. suc. uncle Brig.-Gen. Charles Trelawny at Hengar 1731.1

Offices Held

Commr. of victualling Jan. 1726-32; commr. of customs [S] Dec. 1732-7; gov. Jamaica June 1737-Sept. 1752; col. 49 Ft. Dec. 1743-53.


Returned for East Looe on the Trelawny interest, Trelawny was given a job in the victualling office. He spoke on the Government’s side in a debate on supply on 21 Feb. 1727, but voted against the Administration on the civil list arrears in 1729, the Hessians in 1730, and the army in 1732, writing subsequently that he would not be thought of ‘as a party man, which I think I am as little as any one, perhaps too little to please any one’.2 A friend of Sir Charles Wager’s, he vacated his seat on being given a place in the customs at Edinburgh by Walpole in 1732, when his sister described him as ‘much fallen away ... and but in an ill state of health’ which, she believed, proceeded ‘from uneasiness: his not rising where he would be and conscience not agreeing together, and wish his new place may be for life’.3 In 1734, having left Scotland to join the Imperial army against the French in the war of the Polish succession, he was elected in his absence for both East and West Looe, on which he wrote to Thomas Robinson from Wiesenthal, 3 July 1734:

The elections, you know, are void of course upon account of my place. If Sir Charles does not get me out before a new election can be made, I can’t receive the benefit of the Looers’ favour so voluntarily bestowed on the mad volunteer: but I have left everything to Sir Charles Wager and whether I am to be senator, commissioner, or neither, I shall be easy under his decision and management.4

Both elections were declared void. In November 1735 his elder brother, Sir John, being deeply in debt, Edward gave £5,000 of his own money to pay the creditors, Wager putting up the rest of the sum required by way of mortgage, on the security of Trelawne and other Cornish estates, including the properties at East and West Looe, which were made over to Edward.5 In 1737 he was appointed governor of Jamaica, repaying the whole of the mortgage to Wager and Wager’s widow by 1744 out of his salary.6 During his absence he entrusted the management of his electoral interest at the Looes to Wager’s protégé, Francis Gashry, filling the seats with government nominees in return for suitable payment to himself, except in 1741 when he insisted that his nephew James Buller, a Tory, and his friend Benjamin Keene should be returned.7

Trelawny took part in the campaign in the West Indies with Admiral Vernon, to whom Pulteney wrote (27 Mar. 1740):

Pray make my compliments to Mr. Trelawny: when I consider how my country has been used for many years, and what a poor figure she has made, it is the greatest joy to me to consider that her honour will be retrieved and her trade restored, by the union of two such worthy men as he and you, similar in your characters, for honour, bravery and disinterestedness.

In the summer of 1742, he had a violent quarrel with Sir Chaloner Ogle, during which Vernon reported, he ‘drew his sword, turned as pale as the wall with rage, and looked as wild as a madman’.8 In 1748 he took part in the capture of Port Louis in San Domingo. In November 1751 he arranged to marry the widow of the late attorney-general in Jamaica with a fortune ‘reported to be between £30,000 and £40,000’ in Jamaican money.9 Shortly afterwards, he asked to be relieved of his post owing to ill-health,10 leaving Jamaica in November 1752, with the thanks of the House of Assembly for his ‘just administration’ and the ‘many important services’ he had rendered to the island.11 He died 16 Jan. 1754, bequeathing Trelawne and the Looe properties to his brother, Sir John, for life, and afterwards to his cousin and brother-in-law, Harry Trelawny, of Butshead, Devon, later the 5th Bt.12

Ref Volumes: 1715-1754

Author: Eveline Cruickshanks


  • 1. PCC 316 Isham.
  • 2. To Wager, 1 June 1740, Add. 28558, f. 13.
  • 3. Trelawny Corresp. Letters between Myrtilla and Philander, 92.
  • 4. Add. 32791, f. 202.
  • 5. Trelawny Corresp. 106-7; Add. 19030, f. 350; PCC 60 Pinfold.
  • 6. Add. 19030, f. 350.
  • 7. See Edw. Trelawny to Francis Gashry, 19 July 1753, Vernon-Wager mss in library of Congress; Wager to Keene, 25 Feb. 1737, Add. 32794, f. 161, and Wager to mayor of East Looe, 24 Mar. 1741, East Looe Town Trust.
  • 8. Vernon Pprs. (Navy Recs. Soc. xcix), 79-80, 263.
  • 9. Edw. Trelawny to Pelham, 2 Nov. 1751, Newcastle (Clumber) mss.
  • 10. Edw. Trelawny to
  • 11. Jnl. of the House of Assembly of Jamaica, 25 Nov. 1752. For his governorship, see R. Pares, War and Trade in the West Indies.
  • 12. PCC 60 Pinfold.