COLYN, John (d.1444), of Helland, 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



May 1421

Family and Education

s. and h. of Thomas Colyn*. m. c.1411, Elizabeth, da. of John Nicoll* of Bodmin, Cornw., 1s. 1da.1

Offices Held

Coroner, Cornw. to d.2


Under a settlement made in 1411, probably at the time of John’s marriage, his father arranged that he and his wife should inherit all of his property, including the manors of Helland and Helset and the advowsons of Helland and St. Pinnock. No contemporary valuation of these holdings has survived, but at the time of the death of John’s son Otto, in 1463, they were estimated to be worth some £16 a year. John probably also had landed interests in Devon.3

In May 1420 Colyn was preparing to serve in France as a man-at-arms in the retinue of Sir John Arundell† of Trerice, but he did not spend much time abroad, returning home less than a year later. Although he is only known to have sat in one Parliament, Colyn took an interest in local parliamentary elections: he was present at those for the shire held at Lostwithiel prior to the Parliaments of 1423, 1427, 1429, 1433, 1435 and 1437; and he allowed his name to be given as mainpernor for certain burgesses-elect ( John Polreden†, Richard Penpons†, Thomas Giffard† and Nicholas Aysshton*). He continued to move in the Arundell circle, appearing as a witness to arrangements for (Sir) John Arundell I* of Lanherne’s foundation of a chantry, as well as for the marriage of one of (Sir) Thomas Arundell’s* daughters. Other formal transactions involving him were concerned with the property of his brother-in-law, Otto Nicoll†.4 Exactly how long Colyn served as a coroner in Cornwall cannot yet be stated, though it is known that he was occupying the post at the time of his death, which occurred shortly before 8 Feb. 1444. Before this, he had arranged with his feoffees ( Sir John Colshull†, John Nanfan† and others) that his daughter, Elizabeth, should inherit his manor of ‘Penvrane’. The wife of Thomas Treffrey of Fowey, Elizabeth was to achieve local fame a few years later when the French raided the Cornish coast, for ‘with her men [she] repellid [them] out of her house in her housebandes absence’.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, ii. 7, 41.
  • 2. CCR, 1441-7, p. 172.
  • 3. Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 891; C140/21/36; Feudal Aids, i. 458, 470.
  • 4. E101/49/34; C219/13/2, 5, 14/1, 4, 5, 15/1; CCR, 1429-35, p. 37; 1441-7, pp. 72, 73; CAD, iv. A1006; Cornw. Feet of Fines, 1037.
  • 5. Maclean, ii. 7; J. Leland, Itin. ed. Toulmin Smith, i. 204.