KAYL (CAYL), Robert (d.c.1446), of Treharrock in St. Kew and Ethy in St. Winnow, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Nov. 1414
Mar. 1416

Family and Education

2nd s. and h. of Ralph Kayl*. m. by 1430, Margaret, da. and event. h. of Thomas Archdeacon* (d.1421) of Leigham, Devon; ?(2) Mary, s.p.1

Offices Held

Tax collector, Cornw. Dec. 1407.

J.p. Cornw. 19 Nov. 1438-9.


Robert Kayl was occasionally described as ‘of Treharrock’, but seems to have had only a small interest in the family lands there. The bulk of his holdings probably came by inheritance after the deaths of his elder brother, Ralph, and their father, although over the years he also made a number of claims to property which had once belonged to his great-grandfather, Robert Stonard, and to his mother’s cousin, William Roger. Then, too, Kayl’s marriage to Margaret Archdeacon eventually brought an unexpected windfall. At the time of the marriage Margaret’s young brothers were both still living and stood to inherit their father’s estates, but by 1443 they had both died, leaving her as sole heir. Kayl subsequently sued Thomas Archdeacon’s widow in Chancery for possession of some 300 acres of land in Leigham and elsewhere in Devon, and also for revenues from the estates amounting to £100.2 By the time of his death about three years later he had accumulated estates of value scattered throughout Cornwall: some 100 messuages, 1,600 acres of land, and rents amounting to £20 p.a., as well as three manors, of which perhaps the most important was that of Ethy in St. Winnow. He may have been the member of his family who in the first half of the 15th century added an aisle to the parish church of St. Winnow for use as a chapel. After Robert’s death, Sir Walter Moyle, j.KB, claimed that his estate had produced an annual income of £100, but this is a suspiciously round figure and, since at the time Moyle was himself fighting a lawsuit for the property, we may safely assume that it was an exaggeration.3

All four of Kayl’s elections to Parliament for Lostwithiel occurred while he was a young man and before his father’s death in 1419, but he was probably then living at his father’s home in the parish of St. Winnow, close to Lostwithiel, and is known to have had contact with John Day* and Tristram Curteys*, both of them prominent figures in the town. Apart from his appointment to collect the one-and-a-half tenths and fifteenths voted in his first Parliament (1407) and his brief appearance many years later in 1438 as a member of the Cornish bench, Kayl’s record of public service was unremarkable. He was, however, included on a list of knights and esquires of Cornwall sent to the King’s Council early in 1420, as being the best able to serve in the defence of the realm. On one occasion, in May that year, he acted as a mainpernor in Chancery: this was on behalf of Thomas Wering, sub-bailiff of the Cornish hundred of Trigg, who, like Kayl himself, had recently been charged with assaulting Joan, widow of John Countevyle. Both men undertook not to molest the lady again. A continued interest in parliamentary affairs is suggested by Kayl’s attendance at no fewer than 11 shire elections held either at Lostwithiel or at Launceston between 1421 and 1442.4

The writ of diem clausit extremum which issued from Chancery following Kayl’s death was dated 28 Feb. 1447; and the husband of one of his heirs must therefore have been mistaken in thinking that he died on 10 Nov. 27 Henry VI (1448). Before his death Kayl had entrusted his estates to John Trevelyan, a prominent duchy official and member of the King’s household, and two well-regarded Cornish lawyers and future judges, Walter Moyle and Nicholas Aysshton*, with instructions that after his death they were to transfer them to his heirs. He left no children, and in the event his heirs were found to be the three daughters of his cousin, John Luccombe, esquire (MP for Lostwithiel in 1425), one of whom married Moyle himself, while the other two became the wives of William Resmoderes and William Deviock. Two Chancery lawsuits over the estate started many years later, in about 1465: firstly, Resmoderes’s widow and Deviock’s son, John, sued Trevelyan for failing to hand over their shares of the property; and then Moyle also brought an action against him on the ground that although Kayl had ordained in his will that the two of them should receive and dispose of the profits of the whole estate for his soul’s welfare, Trevelyan had used the money as his own, not allowing Moyle to touch ‘a peny or ferthyng thereof’.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. JUST 1/1540 m. 98; HP ed. Wedgwood 1439-1509, Biogs. 867 (where Richard Tregoz† is said to have m. bef. 1452, Mary ‘late the wife of Robert Kayl’). Robert is sometimes said, erroneously, to have m. Sibyl, da. and coh. of John Treharrock, but she was the wife of Henry Kayl: Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 724.
  • 2. JUST 1/1518 m. 15, 1540 m. 98; PCC 48 Marche; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 311-12; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 392; C1/15/166-7.
  • 3. Feudal Aids, i. 225, 228-9, 236, 238-9; C1/31/138; C. Henderson, Cornish Church Guide, 205.
  • 4. CCR, 1419-22, p. 106; C219/12/5, 13/1-5, 14/1, 4, 5, 15/1, 2; Add. Ch. 13042; E27/97/6.
  • 5. CFR, xviii. 45; C1/31/119, 138; Maclean, ii. 351. The pedigree given by Vivian in Vis. Cornw. 113 is incorrect: John Luccombe was the s. of Margery, sis. of Kayl’s father, Ralph.