Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tremayne, John

TREMAYNE or TREMAINE, Sir JOHN (d. 1694), lawyer, eldest son of Lewis Tremayne, lieutenant-governor of Pendennis Castle, who married Mary, daughter and coheiress of John Carew of Penwarne in Mevagissey, was born in the parish of St. Ewe, Cornwall. He was brought up to the study of the law, by 1678 was a man to be consulted (Fitzherbert MSS., Hist. MSS. Comm. 13th Rep. App. vi. p. 8), and soon acquired considerable practice. His name frequently occurs in cases before the House of Lords from 1689 to 1693 (Lords' MSS. ib. 12th, 13th, and 14th Reps.); he was counsel for the crown against Sir Richard Graham, otherwise Lord Preston, and others for high treason, January 1690–1 (Howell, State Trials, xii. 646), was engaged for Sir John Germaine in the action brought against that adventurer by the Duke of Norfolk for adultery with the duchess (ib. xii. 883), and he acted for the crown on the trial of Lord Mohun, a brother Cornishman, for the murder of Mountford the actor, January 1692–3 (ib. xii. 950).

Tremayne was called with others to be serjeant-at-law on 1 May 1689, was made king's serjeant, and next day took the oaths, when he and his colleagues entertained the ‘nobility, judges, serjeants, and others with a dinner at Serjeants' Inn in Fleet Street,’ London. He was knighted at Whitehall on 31 Oct. 1689, and in 1690 was returned to parliament for the Cornish borough of Tregony. In June 1692 he was a candidate for the recordership of London, but was beaten at the poll. It is recorded by Luttrell on 20 Feb. 1693–4 that Tremayne was dead. He died issueless; his brother's descendant now lives at Heligan, near Mevagissey (where the serjeant rebuilt the family mansion), and inherits the ample estates in Cornwall and Devon (Courtney, Parl. Rep. of Cornwall, p. 173).

His useful volume, ‘Placita Coronæ, or Pleas of the Crown in matters Criminal and Civil,’ was published in 1723, many years after his death, when it had been ‘digested and revised by the late Mr. John Rice of Furnival's Inn.’ An English translation by Thomas Vickers came out in two volumes at Dublin in 1793. A collection by Tremayne of ‘entries, declarations, and pleadings’ in the reigns of Charles II and James II, numbering in all 182 pages, is at the British Museum (Lansd. MS. 1142).

[Woolrych's Serjeants-at-Law, i. 416–19; Le Neve's Knights (Harl. Soc.), p. 429; Luttrell's Hist. Relation, i. 529, 598, ii. 476, iii. 272–3; Boase and Courtney's Bibl. Cornub. ii. 777.]

W. P. C.