John Trenchard (politician)

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This article is about the Secretary of State. For the writer, see John Trenchard (writer).
John Trenchard
as Chief Justice of Cheshire
18th-century engraving by James Watson
Personal details
Born (1640-03-30)30 March 1640
Lytchett Matravers, Dorset
Died 27 April 1695(1695-04-27) (aged 55)
Kensington, London
Resting place Bloxworth, Dorset

Sir John Trenchard (30 March 1640 – 27 April 1695) was an English politician.


He belonged to an old Dorset family. His father was Thomas Trenchard of Wolverton (1615–1671), and his grandfather was Sir Thomas Trenchard of Wolverton (1582–1657). His grandfather was knighted by James I in 1613.

Born at Lytchett Matravers, near Poole, and educated at New College, Oxford, 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.

When Monmouth landed in the west of England in June 1685, Trenchard fled from England, but was pardoned through the good offices of William Penn, and returned home two years later. 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. 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.


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[edit]


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