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The Trelawney Family

Cornish Legends and Myths





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22 July 2010

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Trelawney is a Cornish family tracing back to Saxon days.


1668-Jonathan Trelawney became Dean of St Buryan afterwards Bishop of Rochester and one of the seven Bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London and subject of the great Cornish song "And shall Trelawney die"


1673-Bishop Trelawney was ordained at the age of 23.


Bishop Trelawney inherited his baronetcy the debts which his Fathers Royalist activities had incurred, but marrying an heiress, he was able to benefit his old college at Oxford where he obtained his M.A. financially when Wren was at work on Tom Tower.


During Monmouth's rebellion Bishop Trelawney organised the military defence of his wavering county, and was rewarded with the bishopric of Bristol at the age of 35.


Bishop Trelawney remained mute on the Romanising practices of James, until he was bidden to read the Declaration of Indulgence throughout his diocese. Then venturing his life for Protestantism, he went to his trial with six other bishops, and with them was triumphantly acquitted.


James sought to conciliate Bishop Trelawney by offer of the bishopric of Exeter.


But Trelawney welcomed William of Orange at Torbay to whom he took the oath of allegiance. William confirmed his appointment to Exeter , and on his way down, the new Bishop exercised his right to visit Exeter college Oxford. Finding the door barred against him by a dishonest rector, Trelawney deprived him of his office, and suspended ten of the fellows. This led to the famous action in the courts in which he was finally vindicated. Although he sturdily resisted all attempts of the crown to encroach on Episcopal Prerogative, Trelawney was prompted to Winchester, and there he finished the building of the palace .

Remembering Oxford again he placed a statue to Wolsey over the gateway of the hall of Christ Church.


1756-The later Revd. Sir Henry Trelawney Bart Born. Sir Henry received his early education at Plympton Grammar school.


1770-Sir Henry entered Westminster School.


1772-Sir Henry Trelawney Bart became Seventh Baronet.


Henry though bred an Anglican and of a well known Anglican family, whose greatest luminary was the afore said Bishop Trelawney, he commenced preaching while still at Westminster School and his dissenting principles prevented his taking a degree at Oxford in those illiberal days.


1777-Sir Henry Trelawney was ordained Minister in the Presbyterian Chapel he built himself at Looe.


1781-Sir Henry Trelawney ordained Deacon and Priest in the Church of England.


1791-Sir Henry Trelawney was presented to the living of St. Allen in Cornwall.


1793-Sir Henry Trelawney remained at the living of St. Allen until this year,


1810-Sir Henry Trelawney became a Roman Catholic.


1830- On the 30th May Sir Henry Trelawney was ordained priest in the Roman catholic Church. The Holy Father appointing him as Bishop in partibus infidelium. To be thus thrice ordained must be something of a record.

The hero of the Cornwall's National Anthem - Song of the Western Men. Born at Pelynt The Duke of Monmouth's failed rebellion against James II in 1688, led to seven bishops being imprisoned in the Tower of London. The were put on trial for their lives as they refused to sign a document bringing back Roman Catholicism as the state religion. They said they were loyal to the king, but their consciences would not let them sign. The seven bishops were tried, acquitted and freed. Trelawney became Bishop of Exeter on the accession of William of Orange to the throne, and died in 1721 as Bishop of Winchester.  When he died in 1721 his body was brought back to Pelynt for burial.


Cornwall's National Anthem


A good sword and a trusty hand,

A merry heart and true!

King James's men shall understand

What Cornish lads can do.

And have they fixed the where and when?

And shall Trelawney die?

Here's twenty thousand Cornish men

Will know the reason why!


Chorus:  And shall Trelawney live?

Or shall Trelawney die?

Here's twenty thousand Cornish men

Will know the reason why!


Out spake their Captain brave and bold:

A merry wight was he:-

'If London Tower were Michael's hold,

We'll set Trelawney free!

We'll cross the Tamar, land to land,

The Severn is no stay:

With 'one and all' and hand in hand,

And who shall bid us nay?


Chorus:  And shall Trelawney live?

Or shall Trelawney die?

Here's twenty thousand Cornish men

Will know the reason why!


'And when we come to London Wall,

A pleasant sight to view,

Come forth! come forth ye crowds all,

Here's men as good as you!

'Trelawney he's in keep and Hold:

Trelawney he may die:

But twenty thousand Cornish bold,

Will know the reason why!'


Chorus:  And shall Trelawney live?

Or shall Trelawney die?

Here's twenty thousand Cornish men

Will know the reason why!



This song was written a century later, and was not contemporaneous.

It was composed by Parson Hawker, Vicar of Morwenstow.







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