TRELAWNY, Richard (c.1389-1449), of Trelawny, 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



Family and Education

b.c.1389, prob. s. of John Trelawny I*. m. (1) by 1418, Joan; (2) aft. 1436, Agnes Henwood, 2da.

Offices Held

Commr. of inquiry, Devon, Cornw. Mar. 1442 (estates of (Sir) John Arundell I*), Cornw. Sept. 1443 (piracy).


In 1411, the year of his only known election to Parliament, Richard was party to a transaction regarding lands at St. Keyne (a parish situated on the River Looe near Menheniot, one of the Trelawny family properties). The same lands were again acknowledged to belong to him many years later, in 1439, probably about the time that he inherited the Trelawny estates. The previous head of the family, is presumed brother, (Sir) John II*, a veteran of the Normandy campaigns, was still alive in 1437, but died before 1447, when Richard presented an incumbent to the living at Menheniot. Other landed holdings came to him through his marriage: his first wife held property in west Cornwall of the inheritance of Thomas Beville*.1

Trelawny attended the shire elections for Cornwall held prior to the Parliaments of 1431, 1432, 1433 and 1442, on the last occasion being designated ‘esquire’. He continued to take an interest in the affairs of Launceston, the borough which he had represented in the Commons and which in any case was within easy reach of the family seat at Trelawny. In January 1437, for instance, he and his brother, John III*, served as jurors at the inquest held at Launceston into the suspected suicide of Edward Burnebury, who had accompanied Richard to Parliament at Westminster long before. A few years later another Cornish MP, William Trethewy, alleged in a petition to Chancery that in August 1442 Trelawny, suported by some 60 persons all arrayed in a warlike fashion, had broken down the weirs adjacent to his mills at ‘Trenerbyn’, thus putting all three (a corn mill, a tucking mill and a ‘mille to blow tynne’) out of action.2

Trelawny died shortly before 5 July 1449, leaving two young daughters as heirs to the estate. In 1455, however, following a complaint by their mother of defamation, namely, that her marriage to Trelawny had not been lawfully contracted and that the girls were therefore illegitimate, Bishop Lacy of Exeter ordered an inquiry to be made into the case. But this was by no means the last of their anxieties: in ‘the troble tyme’ (in 1459 or 1460), the feoffees of Trelawny’s manors of Trelawny and Woolston (who included Walter Lyhert, bishop of Norwich) were evicted by the deceased’s brother and nephews, allegedly maintained by Thomas Courtenay, earl of Devon; and then later, in 1465, one of the girls was abducted by her uncle from the home of her intended husband, Sir Thomas Burgh.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Date of C139/89/67. Vivian (Vis. Cornw., 475) suggested that there were two Richard Trelawnys, but this cannot be substantiated.

  • 1. Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 898, 936, 1020, 1046; Reg. Lacy (Canterbury and York Soc. lxi), 370.
  • 2. C1/16/373; C219/14/2-4, 15/2; C145/306/7.
  • 3. CFR, xviii. 97; C1/28/298; Reg. Lacy (Canterbury and York Soc. lxii), 212.