TRENEWITH, Ralph II (d.1427), of Fentongollan in St. Michael Penkivel and Trenowth in St. Probus, 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

s. of John Trenewith (prob. d.v.p.) by Joan, da. and coh. of Stephen Treage by Alice, da. of Noel Chenduyt; gds. of Ralph I*. m. (1) bef. 1403, Jane, da. of Sir William Basset (d.1383), 1s.;1 (2) bef. 1420, Maud, da. and h. of John Tregorrick, 5da.2

Offices Held

Commr. of inquiry, Devon, Cornw. Oct. 1397, July 1404 (concealments), July 1412 (a breach of the truce with Brittany); array, Cornw. Aug. 1403.3


If the findings of an inquisition post mortem held in 1426 are to believed, this Ralph Trenewith was then aged 50, and would, therefore, still have been a minor at the time of the Parliament of 1395. But other evidence suggests that he attained his majority before then. The date of his father’s death is not recorded, but his grandfather, Ralph Trenewith I (a former receiver of the duchy of Cornwall who had represented Truro in 1377 and 1393) died before December 1393 and within three years Ralph II had inherited his lands. Some time between 1396 and 1399 Sir Robert Yelverton complained to the chancellor of England that whereas he was lord of the manor of ‘Trenewith and Trewishannes’ in right of his wife, Ralph had gone there on a number of occasions with an armed following, felled a quantity of his timber, taken beeswax and honey, collected the ‘tin-toll’ and generally behaved as if he were lord of the manor. (It would appear that Yelverton had married his mother, and Ralph resented his intrusion.) By 1398 Trenewith was of sufficient standing to act as surety for the appearance of his uncle, William Bodrugan II*, before the King’s Council. His estates included the manors of Trenowth, Fentongollan, ‘Trewethenek, Tregenser, Rust and Powna’, and his mother, as lady of the manor of Fentongollan, had brought to her husband’s family the advowson of St. Michael Penkivel. Ralph’s first marriage was to the daughter of a wealthy knight (Basset left £100 for the marriages of each of his daughters); and in 1405 he and Jane together obtained a licence for an oratory in their ‘mansion’ of Trenowth and in the chapels of the Holy Trinity and of the Blessed Virgin within their demesnes in St. Probus.4

Trenewith attended the shire elections to the Parliaments of 1413 (May), 1414 (Nov.), and 1416 (Mar.), all of which were held at Lostwithiel. In 1417 or 1418 he was the subject of a petition to the chancellor from Oliver Tregasowe, claiming that he had disseised him of various properties in Cornwall during the King’s absence in Normandy. Trenewith himself was to campaign in France, even though he must by now have been in his forties. In May 1419 Henry V granted him and his male heirs for his past and future good service the property of two French rebels, situated in the bailliage of Caen and valued at 50 francs a year, in return for which he was expected to provide a man-at-arms and three archers whenever required. Evidently Trenewith was soon back in England, for he attended the parliamentary elections for Cornwall in 1420, and again did so in 1421 (Dec.), 1422 and 1423.5

In 1426, on the death of John Chenduyt (knight of the shire for Cornwall in the same Parliament of 1395), Trenewith was found to be coheir to his estates (most notably the manor of Bodannan and the office of bailiff of the hundred of Trigg), by virtue of his descent from Alice Chenduyt, his own maternal grandmother. But he scarcely had time to take possession of them: he himself died on 15 Aug. 1427, leaving his son, John, aged 24, as his heir.6 Ralph’s widow was still living in 1451. She was then possessed of lands worth (£4 a year, which if they represented the normal dower portion of one third, would suggest that our Member’s estates had been worth at least £12 annually.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 72, 546; CFR, xv. 228; Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 281.
  • 2. C.W. Boase, Collectanea Cornub. 1065; Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 46; Reg. Lacy ed. Hingeston-Randolph, i. 9.
  • 3. It is possible, however, that the man appointed to these commissions was Ralph Trenewith ‘of Padstow’, who served on a commission to close the ports of Padstow and ‘Le Wadell’ in 1401 and as a j.p. in Cornw. briefly in 1403.
  • 4. C1/3/116 Sel. Cases in Chancery (Selden Soc. x), 50; E175/3/9; C139/123/42; Reg. Lacy, i. 89-90, 280; CIPM, xv. 941.
  • 5. C219/11/1, 4, 8, 12/4, 6, 13/1, 2; C1/4/77; C64/11 m. 54.
  • 6. CFR, xv. 230-2; Maclean, i. 517, 544; C139/33/38. In the following year John also inherited lands which had been Joan Bodrugan’s dower portion from the time of her marriage to Ralph’s grandfather (CFR, xv. 228). He died in 1445 leaving a son named John who sat for Cornw. in 1449 (Nov.).
  • 7. E179/87/92.