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Sir John Trevor

Engraving of Sir John Trevor

In office
1689 – 1695
Monarch William III and Mary II
Preceded by Henry Powle
Succeeded by Paul Foley
In office
1685 – 1687
Monarch James II
Preceded by Sir William Williams
Succeeded by Henry Powle

Born c. 1637
Died 20 May 1717
Nationality British
Residence Brynkinalt, Denbighshire, Wales
Alma mater Ruthin School
Occupation Politician and lawyer
For other people of the same name, see John Trevor

Sir John Trevor (c. 1637 – 20 May 1717) was a Welsh lawyer and politician. He was Speaker of the English House of Commons from 1685 to 1687 and from 1689 to 1695. Trevor also served as Master of the Rolls from 1685 to 1689 and from 1693 to 1717. His second term as Speaker came to an end when he was expelled from the House of Commons for accepting a substantial bribe. He remained the most recent Speaker to be forced out of office until Michael Martin resigned in 2009.


Early life

John Trevor was born around 1637 or 1638, the exact date of his birth being unrecorded. His father, also called John Trevor, was the son of Sir Edward Trevor; his mother was Margaret Jeffreys. The family lived at Brynkinalt in the Welsh county of Denbighshire.[1]

Trevor was educated at Ruthin School he started his career as a clerk for his relative Arthur Trevor.[2] From there he worked his way up with the help of the patronage of George Jeffreys until he was appointed a king's counsel by Charles II.[2]

Political and judicial appointments

In 1685 he was appointed to the high offices of Master of the Rolls and Speaker of the House of Commons by James II.[2] Being a tory and a partisan of James II, the accession of William III saw Trevor deprived of his office. In 1690, however, he once again returned to parliament as Speaker. From 1693, he also once again held the judicial office of Master of the Rolls. Between 1692 and 1695, he represented Newry in the Irish House of Commons.

As Speaker he was memorable for being severely cross-eyed—the affliction was so confusing to members of the House that they were frequently uncertain as to which of them had "caught the Speaker's eye", and would try to speak out of turn.[3]


On 7 March 1695, he was found guilty of accepting a bribe of 1000 guineas (£1050, but equivalent to around £1.6 million in 2009[4]) from the City of London to aid the passage of a bill through the house.[2] This was judged to be a "high crime and misdemeanour" and he was expelled from the House of Commons[5], a move which he initially resisted on the ground of ill-health. He was not asked to refund the bribe[2] and retained his judicial position until his death at the age of 79 or 80 on 20 May 1717.[2]


Sir John Trevor

Trevor married Jane Mostyn, the daughter of Sir Roger Mostyn. They are known to have had four children: Edward, Arthur, John and Anne. Trevor's wife predeceased him, dying in August 1704.[1]

Through his daughter Anne, Sir John was the ancestor of the Hills, Marquesses of Downshire, and of the family of Hill-Trevor, Viscounts Dungannon.


  1. ^ a b Lundy, Darryl (2008-05-01). "Person Page - 3657". Retrieved 2009-05-19.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f Jeaffreson, John Cordy (1867). A Book about Lawyers. G.W. Carleton. pp. 106–109.  
  3. ^ King, Anthony (19 May 2009). "MPs' expenses: even as a scapegoat, Michael Martin is a failure". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 May 2009.  
  4. ^
  5. ^ "17th Century Speaker's downfall". BBC News. BBC. 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2009-05-19.  
Parliament of England
Preceded by
Sir John Maynard
Sir William Bastard
Member of Parliament for Bere Alston
1679 – 1681
With: Sir William Bastard
Succeeded by
Sir Duncombe Colchester
John Elwill
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Myddelton
Member of Parliament for Denbighshire
1681 – 1685
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Myddelton
Preceded by
Sir John Salusbury
Member of Parliament for Denbigh
1685 – 1689
Succeeded by
Edward Brereton
Preceded by
Fitton Gerard
Sir Robert Holmes
Member of Parliament for Yarmouth (Isle of Wight)
1690 – 1695
With: Charles Duncombe
Succeeded by
Henry Holmes
Charles Duncombe
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Member of Parliament for Newry
1692 – 1695
With: Frederick Porter
Succeeded by
Frederick Porter
Robert Echlin
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir William Williams
Speaker of the House of Commons
1685 – 1687
Succeeded by
Henry Powle
Preceded by
Henry Powle
Speaker of the House of Commons
1689 – 1695
Succeeded by
Paul Foley
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir John Churchill
Master of the Rolls
1685 – 1689
Succeeded by
Henry Powle
Preceded by
Sir Henry Powle
Master of the Rolls
1693 – 1717
Succeeded by
Sir Joseph Jekyll
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Thomas Whitley
Custos Rotulorum of Flintshire
1691 – 1714
Succeeded by
Sir Roger Mostyn, 3rd Baronet


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