Jonathan Trelawny (1650-1721) was one of seven bishops imprisoned by King James II in 1688, when he issued his second Declaration of Indulgence.

Born in the Cornish village Pelynt, Trelawny went on to be educated at Westminster School, entered Christ College Oxford in 1668 and took holy orders in 1673. His older brother died in 1680, which left him in line to become third baronet following his fathers death in 1685. That same year, on the 8th of November, he was consecrated bishop of Bristol. This was in part due to his support for James II during the Monmouth rebellion.

Trelawny's support and loyalty towards the king lasted until the first Declaration of Indulgence, by which liberty of worship was granted to all. This was seen as a challenge to the authority of the Church of England. A second Declaration of Indulgence was made in 1688, which was to be read in all churches by order of the king. At this point, Trelawny joined with six other bishops to petition against this matter. Their protest led them to be imprisoned in the Tower of London.

On 30th June 1688, following three weeks of imprisionment, the seven bishops were brought before the king, and charged with seditious libel. The jury they were tried before acquitted them of the charge, and they were all released. In an attempt to regain the Trelawny's support, James II offered him the see of Exeter. However, around the sametime, the Glorious Revolution led to William of Orange taking the throne.

There is some debate as to whether Trelawny was one of the actual signatories on the invitation to William of Orange, although he certainly welcomed his arrival. The offer of the see of Exeter was quickly confirmed by the new king, but despite this, it was not long before Trelawny became estranged from the new king. He favoured Princess Anne, the second daughter of James II, who was next in line to the throne.

Five years after Anne became Queen, in 1707, she made Trewlany the bishop of Winchester and also prelate of the Order of the Garter. During these years, he took a much less active role in politics, until he died on 19th July, 1721. His wife, Rebecca Hole, had died just over 10 years earlier, in 1710.

His was buried in the family vault in Pelynt.

His period of imprisonment has been immortalised in the Cornish National Anthem.



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