John Trenchard (politician)

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Sir John Trenchard
  • as Chief Justice of Cheshire
  • 18th-century engraving by James Watson
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
In office
Preceded by The Earl of Nottingham
Succeeded by The Duke of Shrewsbury
Personal details
Born (1649-03-30)30 March 1649
Lytchett Matravers, Dorset
Died 27 April 1695(1695-04-27) (aged 46)
Kensington, London
Resting place Bloxworth, Dorset

Sir John Trenchard (30 March 1649 – 27 April 1695)[1] was an English politician and landowner.


He belonged to an old Dorset family. He was born on 30 March 1649 at Lytchett Matravers, near Poole, to Thomas Trenchard of Wolverton (1615–1671), and his wife Hannah née Henley (d. 1691).[1] His grandfather was Sir Thomas Trenchard of Wolverton (1582–1657), who was knighted by James I in 1613.[2]

He was educated at Winchester (1661-1665) and at New College, Oxford (1665-1667).[1] In 1667, he entered the Middle Temple and was called to the bar in 1674. John Trenchard entered parliament as member for Taunton in 1679. He associated himself with those who proposed to exclude the Duke of York from the throne, and attended some of the meetings held by these malcontents. It is possible he was concerned in the Rye House Plot. In fact, he was arrested at all of the events in July 1683, but no definite evidence was brought against him so he was released.[2]

When Monmouth landed in the west of England in June 1685, Trenchard fled from England to Groningen, Netherlands.[3] Around 1687-1688, he was pardoned through the good offices of William Penn, and able to return home. Again he entered parliament, but he took no active part in the Revolution of 1688, although he managed to secure the good will of William III. On 29 October 1689, he was knighted by the king, and made Chief Justice of Chester. In 1692, he was appointed Secretary of State. He and the government incurred much ridicule through their failure to prove the existence of a great Jacobite plot in Lancashire and Cheshire in which they had been led to believe.[2]


On 10 November 1682, he married: Philippa Speke (1664–1743), daughter of George Speke of White Lackington, Somerset, with 4 sons and 3 daughters including:

  1. George Trenchard (d. 1758)
  2. Maria Trenchard (1687-)
  3. William Trenchard (12 October 1694-)

Sir John died on 27 April 1695 at Kensington, London, and is buried at Bloxworth, Dorset.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "TRENCHARD, Sir John (1649-95), of Lytchett Matravers, nr. Poole, Dorset". The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 14 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Chisholm 1911.
  3. IGI: Baptism of Maria Trenchard to John and Philippa on 18 Mar 1687 at Nederlands Hervormde Kerk, Groningen, Netherlands


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). [ "Trenchard, Sir John" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Encyclopædia Britannica. 27 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  •  Seccombe, Thomas (1899). [ "Trenchard, John (1640–1695)" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 57. London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>, which gives his year of birth incorrectly as 1640.
  • Clifton, Robin. "Trenchard, Sir John (1649–1695)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27705.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir William Wyndham, Bt
Sir William Portman, Bt
Member of Parliament for Taunton
with Sir William Portman, Bt1679
Sir John Cutler, Bt 1679–1680
Edmund Prideaux 1680–1685

Succeeded by
Sir William Portman, Bt
John Sanford
Preceded by
William Harbord
Sir Francis Guybon
Member of Parliament for Thetford

Succeeded by
Sir Francis Guybon
William Harbord
Preceded by
Henry Trenchard
Sir Nathaniel Napier, Bt
Member of Parliament for Poole
with Sir Nathaniel Napier, Bt

Succeeded by
Sir Nathaniel Napier, Bt
Lord Ashley
Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Nottingham
Secretary of State for the Northern Department
Succeeded by
The Duke of Shrewsbury
Secretary of State for the Southern Department
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir Job Charlton
Chief Justice of Chester
Succeeded by
John Coombe