Changes to the laws of inheritance combined with the traditional system of male entail facilitated the rise or maintenance of a small leisured class which could participate in the political community and the church. It seems likely that Nicholas Trist of Harberton and Totnes (1668-1741) leveraged his lucky double inheritance from his brother and maternal uncle to enhance his business interests. These could well have been in the woollen serge industry then enjoying its boom years. He was Mayor of Totnes twice and his son Browse Trist (1698-1777) represented the town as one of its two Members of Parliament, Totnes being one of the notorious Pocket Boroughs of eighteenth-century politics.
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