St Austell Brewery chief executive, James Staughton, is to be awarded the Trelawny Plate in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Cornwall.

The plate originally belonged to Bishop Trelawny who was arrested and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1688.

It has been donated by the Bishop’s descendant Sir John Trelawny and is a replica of the three hundred-year old pewter plate and will be presented in July 2019.

The Trelawny Plate Award is made biennially to the person judged by a senior and representative panel “to have contributed most to the spirit of Cornwall”. The dinner plate made from pewter was the Bishop’s personal property and is kept in the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.  Recipients receive a replica created by the St Justin company from Penzance.

Staughton joined St Austell Brewery in 1980 and is the great-great grandson of the founder Walter Hicks.  As the chief executive, he runs one of Cornwall’s highest profile and successful businesses. He combines this business leadership with a myriad of community and voluntary activities which benefit Cornwall, such as the St Austell Bay Economic Forum and the Cornwall Place Board.

After the announcement, he said: “I regard being selected for the Trelawny Plate Award as the greatest honour. I am passionate about Cornwall and feel privileged to be in a position to champion all things Cornish. I will continue with great pride to try and make a positive difference to the future well-being and success of this very special ‘county’.”

Jonathan Trelawny was born in the parish of Pelynt in 1650 and ordained in 1673.  He was one of seven bishops charged with high treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London for refusing to implement King James II’s Declaration of Indulgence granting religious tolerance to Catholics. Bishop Trelawny was held for three weeks, then tried and acquitted.  He died in 1721 and was interred in the family vault at Pelynt Church.

Welcoming the decision to award the plate to Mr Staughton, Sir John Trelawny, the 14th baronet and direct descendant of the bishop, said: “James Staughton is a very astute businessman, a family man and a Cornishman through and through, who has spent many years championing the culture and community of Cornwall.  James is the perfect choice to receive the Trelawny Plate.”

The Plate will be presented to James Staughton at a special Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration at Pelynt Church.