BORLASE (BURLAS), Andrew (d.c.1413), of Borlase 'Frank' in St. Wenn, Cornw.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
s. and h. of Noel Frank by Agnes, da. of Desiderata Trevysek. m. Amy, 2s. inc. Mark†.
The home of the Borlase family, some 15 miles from Truro, was long known as Borlase ‘Frank Taillefer’ after the first members of the family to settle in Cornwall. The Taillefers came from Angouleme and owed their lands in England to a grant made by William Rufus. In Richard II’s reign, after the death of John Frank Taillefer, Andrew’s grandfather, it was alleged that, as an alien, he had acquired his property unlawfully, and in 1397 it escheated to the Crown and was farmed out at the Exchequer. A year later Andrew managed to secure temporary possession pending a decision in the King’s bench as to whether or not the lands ought to pertain to the Crown, and in November 1399 Henry of Monmouth, prince of Wales and duke of Cornwall, renewed the grant. But the question of the nationality of Borlase’s ancestors and their legal right to own land in England continued to be debated. It was always Borlase’s contention (and one which is supported by other evidence) that his ancestor, William Frank Taillefer, who had been born in Cornwall, had died possessed of the vill of Borlase Frank in the late 13th century, and that he himself stemmed from a line of true liegemen of the kings of England.1 Andrew had become heir to the family property only after the deaths of his cousin Alice (who was the last to use the name Taillefer) and his father Noel, both of whom had died before his election to the Parliament of 1395. From his mother he inherited land in ‘Trevysek’ near ‘Pencarowe’ and by marriage he acquired property in Penryn and Fowey.2
In the defence of his rights against the Crown in a prolonged lawsuit, Borlase put to good use several years’ personal experience of litigation. Since 1380 he had appeared on many occasions in the courts at Westminster as an attorney speaking on behalf of litigants from Cornwall and Devon.3 He was fortunate that an early attachment to the faction formed by John Trevarthian* and John Penrose of Escalls (whose crimes both before and after the latter’s appointment as a judge in the King’s bench earned them notoriety) did not do irreparable harm to his career, for it led to his participation in at least one indictable offence. In 1383 a long-standing feud between the Trevarthians and the Eyr family came to a head when Richard Eyr was found murdered in Surrey. Borlase was indicted with Penrose and the two John Trevarthians before the justices of oyer and terminer for his part in the crime, but he refused to surrender to justice and continued to evade arrest as late as March 1384. Somehow he managed to clear his name, and in January 1385, when Penrose was appointed chief justice of the King’s bench in Ireland, he agreed to act as his attorney during his absence overseas. It would seem, however, that Borlase dissociated himself from the judge before a rekindling of the feud with the Eyrs led to further excesses. Nor is he known to have had dealings with the Trevarthians after 1389; indeed, he even sued one of their followers for debt.4
Much evidence survives of Borlase’s activities as a lawyer in the 1390s and the first decade of the 15th century. On one occasion, for example, he acted on behalf of John Tregoose* when the latter was engaged in his suit against Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. Nor was it unusual for him to be in court for litigation arising from his own personal mishaps: there was a burglary on his property at ‘Tregenethe’, his crops were laid waste at Tregarne, one of his servants was assaulted, and he had to take legal action against his debtors. A more important suit in the King’s bench lasted for several years, in the course of which it was alleged by John Colard of Saltash, a servant of Bishop Henry Beaufort, that Borlase should pay £100 under the terms of a bond, sealed in 1397, for the unhampered arbitration of Colard’s dispute with a third party.5 Borlase may well have been absent from the courts for a few months in 1401, however, for he then took out royal letters of protection as accompanying the lieutenant of Ireland, Thomas of Lancaster, to the province, and in September 1407 he was at home in Cornwall attending the shire elections held at Grampound.6
Borlase died before Michaelmas 1413, and in that year or early in the next his widow married John Botreaux of ‘Botreaux-Mesek’. His heir was his son Mark (MP for Helston in 1433), and the Andrew Borlase who settled his descendants at Borlase ‘Burgess’ was probably another son of his.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Genealogist (ser. 2), ii. 130 errs in stating that this Andrew Borlase was born in 1358, on the ground that he was aged 45 in 1403 when he provided evidence that John Lanhergy had attained his majority. In fact, the proof of age referred to (C138/24/60) took place in 1416 and not in 1403, so the Andrew Borlase then present must have been somebody else.
- 1. Genealogist, ii. 1-14, 129-33; CPR, 1396-9, p. 241; CFR, xi. 233, 274; SC6/819/10, 11; KB27/552 rex m. 5.
- 2. Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 873; Cornw. RO, Rashleigh of Menabilly mss, DDR 138/1, 2; JUST 1/1519 m. 96.
- 3. KB27/476 m. 51, 495 m. attorneys; Genealogist, ii. 130.
- 4. CCR, 1381-5, pp. 385, 412; CPR, 1381-5, pp. 352, 423; 1385-9, p. 9; 1391-6, p. 682; Sel. Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxviii), 77-80.
- 5. CAD, iv. A9157; CPR, 1385-9, p. 293; 1399-1401, p. 498; Yr. Bk. 1387-8 ed. Thornley, 92, 145; CCR, 1385-9, p. 466; 1392-6, pp. 64, 244; 1396-9, p. 67; 1399-1401, p. 291; 1401-5, pp. 301, 476; KB27/514 m. fines, 553 m. fines, 569 m. 55, 573 m. 64, 581 m. 15d, 595 m. 26; CFR, xi. 171.
- 6. CPR, 1399-1401, p. 511; C219/10/4.
- 7. E368/186 m. 90.