Boscawen, Family of (DNB00)


BOSCAWEN, Family of.— According to Hals, one of the Cornish historians, the first Boscawen who settled in Cornwall was an Irishman whose name does not appear to be now known; but whatever it may have been, it was soon exchanged for that of the place (which still bears the same name) in the parish of St. Buryan, a few miles from the Land's End, where he took up his abode, viz. at Boscawen Ros — the valley of elder trees. Other branches of the Boscawens settled in later times at Tregameer, in St. Columb Major, and at Trevallock in Creed, or St. Stephen's. All traces of the marriages of the earliest Boscawens seem to be lost until we reach the reign of Edward I, when Henry de Boscawen (about 1292) took to wife Hawise Trewoof. In 1335 John de Boscawen. by marrying an heiress, Joan de Tregothnan, acquired the Tregothnan property on the banks of the river Fal, where the family seat still is; the present building, however, dating only from 1815. John's son likewise married an heiress, Joan de Albalanda, or Blanchlnnd, whose lands were situated on the opposite side of the river to Tregothnan, in the parish of Ken; and other marriages between members of this family and Dangrous of Carclew, the Tolvernes, the Trewartnenicks, and the Tregarricks, extended and consolidated the interests of the Boscawens on and near the banks of the Fal. They also intermarried with other Cornish families, such as the Arundells, the Bassetts, the St. Aubyns, the Lowers, the Godolphins, the Carminows, the Trenowiths, and the Trevanions. At the coronation of Henry VII, Richard Boscawen paid a fine of 5l. in order to escape the trouble and expense of going to court, and of being made a knight of the Bath; and his grandson, Hugh, did the same at the coronation of Queen Mary. All the earlier Boscawens, though wealthy, were unambitious and undistinguished. The first who claims notice is Hugh, the great-grandson of the last-named Hugh Boscawen, who appears to have formed that intimate connection between Truro and his family which has so long subsisted. This Hugh was recorder of the borough, knight of the shire for Cornwall in 1626, and was 'Chief of the Coat Armour' at the herald's visitation of 1620. He married Margaret Rolle, and died in 1641. Of his sons, (1) Edward, a rich Turkey merchant, was M.P. for Truro in each of Charles II's parliaments; married Jael Godolphin, and their son Hugh [q.v.] became the first Viscount Falmouth. Another son, (2) Nicholas, a parliamentarian officer, died unmarried when only twenty-two years of age, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. At the Restoration his remains were flung into a common pit in St. Margaret's churchyard. Of his offspring the most noteworthy were Hugh, the second viscount, who died in 1782, a shrewd electioneerer, but otherwise of no particular ability; Nicholas, a doctor of divinity and dean of Buryan; John, a major-general in the army; George, who was at Dettingen and Fontenoy; and Edward, Pitt's 'Great Admiral' [q. v.] By his marriage with Anne Trevor, General George Boscawen had a son named William [q. v.], of some literary note. George Evelyn, third Viscount Falmouth, youngest son of the admiral (issue having failed through the admiral's two elder brothers), entered the army, was present at Lexington, and in 1787 distinguished himself at Truro by the admirable manner in which he succeeded in pacifying a large and riotous mob of angry miners. He died in 1808. Of his elder brothers, Edward Hugh, who was M.P. for Truro, died abroad in 1774; and William Glanville, an officer in the navy, was drowned at Port Royal, Jamaica, when only eighteen years of age, in 1769. The third viscount's sister, Frances, married the Hon. John Leveson Gower, secretary to the admiralty; her sister Elizabeth's husband was Henry, fifth duke of Beaufort. Edward Boscawen [q. v.], the son of the third viscount, became first earl of Falmouth. His son, George Henry, by his wife Anne Frances Bankes, was the fifth viscount and second (and last) earl. He was a man of considerable ability, taking in 1832 a double first-class at Oxford. He died unmarried in 1852. He was succeeded in the viscounty by his cousin Evelyn, grandson of the third viscount by his second son, John Evelyn, canon of Canterbury.

[Playfair's British Family Antiquity (1809), ii. 11-13; Sir E. Brydges' Collins's Peerage, vol. vi.; Chester's Registers of Westminster Abbey; Vivian's Annotated Visitations of Cornwall, pt.ii. p. 46, &c; Lysons's Magna Britannia (Cornwall); Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall; Tregellas's Cornish Worthies.]

W. H. T.