CERGEAUX (SERGEUX), Sir Richard (d.1393), of Colquite, Cornw.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Sir Richard Cergeaux† of Colquite by Margaret, da. and h. of Sir John Seneschal of Predarwolas, Cornw. m. (1) bef. 1362, Elizabeth, da. and h. of Sir William Bodrugan† (1311-c.1362), of Bodrugan, Cornw., 1da.; (2) by 1379, Philippa (d. 13 Sept. 1399), da. and coh. of Sir Edmund Arundel, e. but bastardized s. of Richard Fitzalan, earl of Arundel (d. 1376), 1s. 4da. Kntd. by 1365.1
J.p. Cornw. 8 Mar. 1364-Feb. 1367, July 1368-76, May 1384-d.
Commr. of array, Cornw. Feb. 1367, May 1375, Feb. 1385, s. of Eng. July 1385; inquiry, Cornw. July 1376 (extortions by Richard Lyons†), Jan. 1386 (concealments), Nov. 1389 (feudal services at Tintagel), Mar. 1390 (piracy), Cornw., Devon Mar. 1393 (concealments); to put down rebellions, Cornw. June, Dec. 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382; of arrest July, Aug. 1383, July 1384; oyer and terminer, Som. July 1387.
Collector of parliamentary subsidies levied on parishes, Cornw. June 1371.
Sheriff, Cornw. 1 Oct. 1375-26 Oct. 1376, 1 Dec. 1388-15 Nov. 1389.2
Steward of the duchy of Cornw. in Devon and Cornw. 12 July 1376-20 July 1377.3
The Cergeaux family was established in Cornwall by the early years of Edward I’s reign, and by 1346 their estates were valued at £11, though this is clearly an incomplete assessment, the valuation relating only to Lanreath, Lansallos, Colquite and ‘Kilgath’. Richard inherited the family property some time after 1367 (up to which date he was still called ‘junior’), having already increased his holdings substantially by his marriage to the Bodrugan heiress, which brought him the bulk of the Bodrugan estates. These included the Cornish manors of Tremodret, Restronguet and Trevelyn, as well as seven other manors in the county, all of which he continued to hold until he died, being entitled to do so ‘by the courtesy’ after the death of his wife. He even managed to secure from his wife’s uncle, Otto Bodrugan†, a grant of two of the Bodrugan properties to be held jointly with his second wife Philippa, with succession to their children. Altogether, Cergeaux held at least 22 manors in Cornwall. In addition, before 1387 he acquired that of Chipping Norton, in Oxfordshire, where there were then reported to be eight oxen, four horses, 200 rams, 65 hoggerels, 129 ewes, 15 acres of land sown with wheat and 23 acres with other crops, appraised at £38 16s.9d. These chattels, together with the manor, itself extended at £46 15s.8d., had been taken into the King’s hand because of a debt Cergeaux and his then father-in-law, Sir Edmund Arundel, had contracted with Sir Matthew Gournay. Cergeaux disputed the debt and received the property back in July 1387, while the case was pending. He and others also had landed interests, probably as feoffees of Sir Robert Tresilian†, c.j.KB, in and around Oxford, which were granted in 1389 to William of Wykeham for the latter’s foundation of New College. In the same year he received custody of the lands late of Thomas Carminowe, with the marriage of his heir, Joan, for which he paid 260 marks, but the child died, unmarried, soon afterwards. Cergeaux’s interests were not solely in property: he also had shares in a tin mine called ‘Tye’ where, in February 1390, Thomas Kendale and others, armed with knives and hauberks, succeeded in ‘dividing the tin water by filling and raising his own tin work’, thereby wasting ‘five thousand [pounds] of tin, value 50 marks’.4
Little is known of Sir Richard’s early career, although he probably saw some military service overseas in the retinue of the Black Prince, for in 1368 he is recorded among the prince’s followers at Northampton. If Cergeaux’s first marriage increased his estate, his second improved his social position. The connexions of Philippa, grand daughter of the earl of Arundel (even though her father had been bastardized when the earl discarded his first wife), must have opened up wider opportunities for Cergeaux than were provided just by his estates, substantial though these were. His promotion as steward of the duchy of Cornwall lands in Devon and Cornwall, which gave him an additional annual income of £40 and the custody of Lydford castle and Dartmoor Chase, also enhanced his standing in the locality, even though he only held it for a year. It is not surprising that he made some enemies. Early in 1379 it was alleged in the King’s bench that Cergeaux had, over the previous 13 years, committed several criminal offences in Cornwall: according to his detractors, he had sheltered felons at Colquite, raped Isabel Trenylwyth, kept to his own use a stranded whale worth 100 marks (which should have been sent to the King) and, lastly, that in 1372 he had conspired with ‘Fernando of Spain’ and other emissaries of ‘the King of Spain’ (Henry II of Castile) to launch an armed assault on the port of Fowey. Cergeaux established his innocence of all charges. His later appointments to public commissions, his frequent activities as surety and witness, his business transactions, and even his appointment as a principal captain and leader of men-at-arms in case of invasion in 1385, were such as might concern anybody of his wealth and position in the area. More significant is the grant he made in London on 27 Sept. 1393, when on his deathbed, of all his goods and chattels to those who were to dispose of them. They were his wife’s uncle, Thomas Arundel, archbishop of York, Edward Courtenay, earl of Devon, Master Michael Cergeaux, dean of the Arches (his brother), and his son Richard. The witnesses included William, Lord Botreaux, and Guy Mone (later keeper of the privy seal and bishop of St. Davids).5Cergeaux died three days later. As a result of his son’s death shortly afterwards (in 1396), his estates were divided between his daughters, one of whom, Alice, became the wife of Richard de Vere, earl of Oxford, while another, Elizabeth, was already married to Sir William Marney*.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, ii. 503-4, 507; CP, x. 235-6. CP, i. 244 follows Maclean in erroneously stating that Philippa was the earl’s daughter rather than his grand daughter. See CCR, 1396-9, pp. 72, 84.
- 2. He was also appointed in Nov. 1371, but the patent was subsequently revoked: CFR, viii. 147; CCR, 1369-74, p. 271.
- 3. CFR, viii. 355; CCR, 1374-7, pp. 407, 421.
- 4. Maclean, ii. 502; Feudal Aids, i. 213-14; CIPM, vii. 327-8; Reg. Black Prince, ii. 12, 176, 195, 201, 205; CCR, 1385-9, pp. 339, 674; 1389-92, p. 88; CFR, xi. 105; CPR, 1388-92, pp. 15, 398; Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 702, 723, 725, 728, 757-9; CAD, ii. C2372; iv. A8752; C146/9343; C136/82/9.
- 5. KB27/472 rex m. 18; CCR, 1381-5, p. 270; 1385-9, p. 490; 1392-6, p. 231; CPR, 1385-9, p. 80.
- 6. CFR, xi. 118; C136/82/9; C137/3/14, 4/23, 24. Sir Richard’s widow m. Sir John Cornwall, afterwards Lord Fanhope, although this, Cornwall’s 1st marriage, is not mentioned in CP, v. 254.