TREWOOFE, John, of Trewoofe in St. Buryan, 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

m. (1) Elizabeth, da. of Michael Lannargh by Margaret Trethake, 2s. 4da.; (2) 1409, Margaret or Madge.

Offices Held

Tax collector, Cornw. Nov. 1386, Nov. 1388, May 1398, Nov. 1404, June 1410.

Commr. of inquiry, Cornw. July, Nov. 1387 (the confiscation of a tin mine) Aug. 1394 (foundation of the chapel of St. Buryan); to close the ports of Mount’s Bay and Mousehole May 1401; of array, Cornw. Nov. 1405, Apr. 1418.

Alnager, Cornw. 23 Nov. 1395-9.


For several years Trewoofe was engaged in lawsuits over lands in Cornwall worth ten marks a year, which were alleged to be part of Sir Robert Tresilian’s estate and therefore liable to be forfeited to the Crown following Tresilian’s condemnation in the Merciless Parliament. Through his first marriage he acquired an interest in property at Harlyn Rescoll and Tregonaun, which after his wife’s death was to pass to their son, James, and it was on James’s behalf that in 1408 he challenged the claims of his wife’s cousin, John Trethake. Soon afterwards, on 17 Apr. 1409, he obtained a dispensation from Bishop Stafford of Exeter for his marriage to a kinswoman named Madge, and in May 1413 together with her and his younger son, John, he was granted a licence by Stafford allowing them to have an oratory in their house in St. Buryan.2

Long before his first known election to Parliament, Trewoofe served on several royal commissions, held office as alnager of Cornwall, and performed various local duties such as jury service at special assizes. One of his earliest royal commissions, an investigation into the ownership of the tin mine known as ‘Cowyswork’, led in 1398 to accusations that over the previous eight years he and his men had often broken into the mine, flooded it by digging a watercourse, and ‘destroyed’ the tin. Trewoofe’s activities as a collector of a half-fifteenth granted in the Shrewsbury Parliament of January 1398 left him vulnerable to charges of peculation. In the Parliament of 1415 the commons of Cornwall alleged that despite Henry IV’s orders that this subsidy should be refunded, Trewoofe had refused to pay back £100 which he had levied in the hundreds of Penwith and Kerrier, and, indeed, had put the money to his own use. (It may well be the case that Trewoofe secured election to this or the next Parliament in order to rebut the charge in person.) A private petition addressed to the chancellor referred to the same matter, but Trewoofe evidently had a personal quarrel with the petitioner, Geoffrey St. Aubyn, esquire, who, he alleged in his turn, had not only encouraged an accomplice, Ralph Vivian, to assault him on his way to church at St. Buryan, but had himself laid an ambush for him at Marazion. It is difficult to discover the true facts behind this welter of claims and counter-claims, especially as a dispute over the ownership of land was also involved. However, there is no evidence that any action was taken by the Crown to bring Trewoofe to trial.3 He is not recorded after 1420. His son and heir, James, adopted his mother’s name, Lannargh.

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: Trewef, Trewoyef, Trewreff, Trewyfe.

  • 1. Or 1416 (Mar.)
  • 2. CPR, 1385-9, p. 545; CIMisc. v. 136; SC8/76/3768; C1/7/295; JUST 1/1502 m. 177, 1519 mm. 94, 115, 116; CCR, 1405-9, pp. 462, 503; Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 282, 357.
  • 3. Feudal Aids, i. 219; JUST 1/129/4; CPR, 1396-9, p. 506; RP, iv. 88; C1/4/157, 5/161, 6/102, 345-6.