Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Trevor, Thomas (1586-1656)

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TREVOR, Sir THOMAS (1586–1656), judge, born at Trevalyn in Denbighshire on 6 July 1586, was the fifth son of John Trevor of that place, by his wife Mary, daughter of Sir George Bruges of London. His elder brother, Sir Sackvill Trevor [q. v.], is separately noticed. Thomas was admitted a member of the Inner Temple at an unusually early age in November 1592, was called to the bar in 1603, and became reader of his inn in 1620. He was knighted at Whitehall on 19 June 1619, and was appointed solicitor to Prince Charles. On 28 April 1625 he was nominated serjeant-at-law, and on 12 May he was advanced to a seat in the exchequer in the place of George Snigge. On 17 Dec. 1633 he was placed on the commission to exercise ecclesiastical jurisdiction in England and Wales. On 7 Feb. 1636–7 Trevor was one of the twelve judges who returned an answer favourable to the right of the crown to collect ship-money, and he followed up his opinion in 1638 by delivering judgment in favour of the government in the case of Hampden (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1636–7, pp. 416–18). On the meeting of the Long parliament proceedings were taken against the judges for their declaration in regard to ship-money, and in December 1640 Trevor and four others were required to give security in 10,000l. each that they would appear for judgment whenever called for (Lords' Journals, iv. 115; Whitelocke, Memorials, p. 47). He was impeached in July following with Sir Humphrey Davenport [q. v.] and Richard Weston (1620?–1681) [q. v.], when Edward Hyde (afterwards Earl of Clarendon) opened the case against them (Mr. E. Hyde's Speech at a Conference between both Houses, London, 1641). On 19 Oct. 1643 he was fined 6,000l. and sentenced to imprisonment at the pleasure of the House of Lords. The fine was immediately paid, and Trevor was released and allowed to resume his place in the exchequer (Lords' Journals, vi. 261–5; Whitelocke, p. 76). He was finally freed from his impeachment on 20 May 1644 (Lords' Journals, vi. 562; Commons' Journals, ii. 154, 194, 196–8, 200, iii. 251, 280, 282).

On the outbreak of the civil war Trevor was content to recognise the authority of parliament. He was one of the three judges who remained in London, presiding at the exchequer, while Sir Francis Bacon (1587–1657) [q. v.] was alone in the king's bench and Edmund Reeve (1585?–1647) [q. v.] at the common pleas. At Michaelmas 1643 he and Reeve were served with writs from Charles requiring their attendance at Oxford, but instead of complying they committed the messengers, one of whom was afterwards executed as a spy (Clarendon, History of the Rebellion, 1888, iii. 252). The execution of the king, however, aroused his displeasure, and on 8 Feb. 1648–9 he refused to accept the new commission offered him by the authorities. He died on 21 Dec. 1656, and was buried at his manor of Leamington Hastings in Warwickshire. Trevor was twice married: first, to Prudence, daughter of Henry Boteler; and, secondly, to Frances, daughter and heiress of Daniel Blennerhasset of Norfolk. By the former he had an only son Thomas, who was created a baronet in 1641, and died without issue on 26 Feb. 1675–6, when his estate descended to Sir Charles Wheler, bart., grandson of Trevor's sister Mary.

[Foss's Judges of England, vi. 367–9; Dugdale's Hist. of Warwickshire, i. 309; Cobbett's State Trials, iii. 1125; Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges, vi. 294; Gardiner's Hist. of England, vii. 129, viii. 278; Gardiner's Great Civil War, i. 244; Williams's Eminent Welshmen; Smyth's Obituary (Camden Soc.), p. 44.]

E. I. C.