TREVANION, John (c.1740-1810), of Austin Friars, London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1774 - 1784
14 Jan. 1789 - 1806

Family and Education

b. c.1740, 2nd s. of Rev. Hugh Trevanion, vicar of West Alvington, Devon.  m. 5 June 1773, Elizabeth, da. of Sir John Boyd, 1st Bt., of Danson Park, Kent, sis. of John Boyd, 1da. and other issue.

Offices Held


In the Royal Kalendar for 1775 John Trevanion is described as a London merchant, trading at 3 Bishopsgate Church Yard. According to Oldfield,1 he was first introduced to Dover by ‘the celebrated Charles Churchill [d. 4 Nov. 1764], in the days of Mr. Wilkes’s popularity’. A local historian writes about Trevanion:2

He took up his residence at Dover in the middle of the eighteenth century ... When he first courted the constituency he promised that if he were elected he would build and maintain a free school for Dover boys.

The school, for fifty sons of Dover freemen, was established in 1771.3

Trevanion contested Dover in January 1770, against a Government candidate, and was beaten by the votes of the out-dwellers. At the by-election of April 1773 he was beaten decisively. At the general election of 1774 he was returned unopposed, together with a Government candidate. He had the support of Peter Fector, a Dover merchant and banker, who had a considerable interest in the borough and who managed the Government interest. ‘Mr. Trevanion is likely to come in at Dover by a manoeuvre of Mr. Fecter’s, who says he means to serve Government’, wrote North’s half-brother, the bishop of Lichfield, to Gower on 8 Oct. 17744—which seems a strange statement in view of Trevanion’s Opposition sympathies: probably Fecter could only ensure the return of a Government candidate if the town were allowed its own choice as to the other seat.

Robinson wrote in his survey for the general election of 1780:

Mr. Trevanion uniformly and consistently votes against, and merits an opposition. Whether it will be right to give him one others must judge and determine, but no one deserves it more.

However, Trevanion and John Henniker, the Government candidate, were again returned unopposed; and Trevanion continued to vote with Opposition until the fall of North.

He voted for Shelburne’s peace preliminaries, 18 Feb. 1783, and was classed by Robinson as a follower of Shelburne. On 7 May 1783 he voted for parliamentary reform. He did not vote on Fox’s East India bill, but was classed by Robinson, January 1784, and by Stockdale, 19 Mar., as an opponent of Pitt. He stood in 1784 with the support of North, lord warden of the Cinque Ports, and was badly beaten; but at the by-election of 1789 he defeated a Government candidate. He voted against Pitt on the Regency, 11 Feb. 1789. There is no record before 1790 of his having spoken in the House.

Trevanion died 21 Apr. 1810.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: John Brooke


  • 1. Hist. Boroughs (1792), iii. 53.
  • 2. J. B. Jones, Annals of Dover, 391-392.
  • 3. Univ. Brit. Directory (1792), ii. 804.
  • 4. HMC 5th Rep. 212.