CHIVERTON, Henry (1511-74/81), of Bodmin, Lanivet and Trehunsey in Quethiock, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Mar. 1553
Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554
Nov. 1554

Family and Education

b. c.1511, s. of Richard Chiverton. educ. L. Inn, adm. by 1533, called 1539. m. by Jan. 1556, Alice, da. of (?Thomas) Kingdon of Trehunsey, 2s. ?1da.2

Offices Held

Pensioner, L. Inn 1547-8, butler 1549-50, associate to bench 1567.

J.p. Cornw. 1547-64; commr. chantries, Devon, Cornw. 1548, relief Cornw. 1550, assessionable manors, duchy of Cornw. 1553-74, piracy Cornw. 1565; escheator, Devon and Cornw. 1548-9; sheriff, Cornw. 1563-4.3


Henry Chiverton probably came from a younger branch of the Chivertons of Paul, an old west Cornwall family. He received a legal education, but his fortune seems not to have rested so much on his practice as his marriage to one of the two Kingdon heiresses: in 1556 he and Robert Trencreke, a colleague at Lincoln’s Inn who married the other Kingdon daughter, divided the inheritance between them. Early in his career Chiverton probably lived in Bodmin as his residence is given there in official documents of the late 1540s, but by 1555 he had settled at Lanivet some three miles from the town: he remained at Lanivet until the division of the Kingdon estates when he moved to Trehunsey.4

Chiverton was a natural candidate for election at Bodmin and on three of the four occasions that he sat for the borough in Parliament (he had perhaps been chosen there before 1545, but Bodmin’s returns for Parliaments earlier in Henry VIII’s reign are all lost) he took the senior place. In 1545 when he was the town’s second Member he probably owed his election less to his living there than to his connexions at Lincoln’s Inn, among them one with Sir Thomas Arundell, the receiver-general for the duchy of Cornwall. Perhaps even more decisive for his return was the honorary membership of Sir John Russell, Baron Russell, who in the summer of that year visited the town during his inspection of the defences in Devon and Cornwall. Chiverton was certainly known to Russell a few years later, for the Privy Council (of which Russell was a leading figure) entrusted him with several matters of importance in Cornwall during Edward VI’s reign, and on its orders in 1549 he shared £16 0s.4d. with Nicholas Carminowe ‘for coming up from the west parts and discharging money for his majesty’s service’ at the outbreak of the prayer book rebellion. Presumably both Arundell and Russell were, until their deaths, influential in procuring Chiverton’s election to Parliaments summoned after 1545 by Edward VI and Mary.5

In the spring of 1553 Chiverton was chosen as a knight of the shire for the first time: his election was doubtless helped by the sheriff Reginald Mohun, whom he had recently represented in a case before Chancery, and by an earlier link between his family and that of his fellow-knight (Sir) William Godolphin. In the following autumn he voted at the county elections, but it was not until a year later that he entered the Commons again as a knight: on this occasion he incurred displeasure by leaving Parliament early without permission. For this dereliction he was informed against in the King’s bench during Easter term 1555: after being fined 16s. for non-appearance, he presented himself before the court in Michaelmas term 1556 when judgment was deferred until the following term, but no further process was taken against him. This episode notwithstanding, in 1555 Chiverton was re-elected for the shire and again crossed swords with the government by supporting the opposition to a government bill. Perhaps for this reason he did not retain his seat in the following Parliament, the last of Mary’s reign, and the alternative at Bodmin was no longer open to him after his move to Trehunsey. Under Elizabeth his prospects improved and, although the shire was not to be his again, he sat for two other Cornish boroughs.6

While Edward VI lived, Chiverton had cooperated with John Southcote I and several others in purchasing property from the court of augmentations. Much of this property was soon alienated but some, notably the manor of Lanivet, remained in his hands. In 1555 he refused to become a bencher at Lincoln’s Inn and to carry out any readings: there are few references to him at his inn after this, although in later life he did become an associate of its bench. Under Elizabeth he was active in his home county and his duties in local administration probably took up most of his time. Chiverton’s last appearance in Cornish affairs appears to have been in 1574 when he was named to a commission for the duchy. Seven years later on 3 Apr. 1581 he was mentioned in the Star Chamber as ‘now late deceased’.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: J. J. Goring


  • 1. Hatfield 207.
  • 2. Aged 46 ‘or thereabouts’ in 1557, St.Ch.4/4/28. Vis. Cornw. ed. Vivian, 87; C1/1111/46.
  • 3. CPR, 1547-8, p. 82 passim to 1563-6, p. 20; Duchy Cornw. RO, index nominum, 54; APC, vii. 283.
  • 4. C/1111/46; LP Hen. VIII, iv; Truro mus. HK12/27; CPR, 1548-9, p. 176; St.Ch.3/6/89; 5/C27/38.
  • 5. LP Hen. VIII, xx; APC, ii. 204, 302-3.
  • 6. C1/1142/57; 219/21/18; KB27/1176-80; Guildford mus. Loseley 1331/2.
  • 7. CPR, 1548-9, p. 176; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 417n.; Black Bk. L. Inn, i. 315, 355; Duchy Cornw. RO, index nominum, 54; St.Ch.5/C27/38.