SKEWYS, John, of Skewys in Cury, 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



Sept. 1397

Family and Education

s. of John Skewys of Skewys ?by Mary, da. of Andrew Ferrers of Trelowarin.1 m. Marina.

Offices Held


Skewys came from an old-established Cornish family which derived its name from its place of origin in the parish of Cury. As ‘lord of Skewys’, in 1386 John’s father granted to James Gervase all his property in Benallack in the parish of Constantine (near Helston), a transaction which John himself confirmed. The remainder of the family property scattered throughout Cornwall passed intact to him, and it was at Skewys that, by virtue of a licence granted by Bishop Lacy of Exeter at Helston in June 1437, he was to build his own oratory.2

John and his father were evidently men of means: in 1389 one or the other had pledged as much as 2,000 marks before the justices of assize at Launceston as surety that Richard Rosenbondere would keep the peace. They were also well connected among the gentry of Cornwall: the younger John was often asked to witness deeds and to act as a mainpernor. On 25 Oct. 1397, shortly after the prorogation of the Parliament which he had attended as a burgess for Helston, he stood surety at the Exchequer for William Tregoose when the latter was given custody of the lands of an outlaw in Cornwall. On another occasion he appeared in Chancery on behalf of a cleric who had accepted the benefice of St. Gorran under cover of a papal provision.3 Such appearances suggest that he was a lawyer, and indeed he is recorded as an attorney in the King’s bench in 1402. He could also have had something to do with the administration of the duchy of Cornwall, for in June 1402 he and three others entered into recognizances with the new holder of the duchy, Henry of Monmouth, for the sum of £24. As a result of his aquaintance with Sir John Trevarthian, who had sat for Cornwall in the same Parliament of 1397, Skewys became involved in transactions for the settlement of his estates. In 1399 he was made a feoffee of Trevarthian’s property; and as such five years later he presented a new incumbent to Landewednack church and, in 1405, with Trevarthian’s widow and son, Otto, he authorized a grant of a wardship of one of their tenants. He was also useful to Otto’s kinsman, Sir William Bodrugan*, in agreeing to act as his mainpernor in Chancery in 1420, not only when he was granted the marriages of the St. Aubyn heiresses but also when he was required to provide securities for good behaviour.4

Skewys last appears as a witness to a Cornish deed dated May 1439. In 1447 it was as his widow that Marina Skewys conveyed property in Skewys, ‘Trescrewyn’ and Treranguyth to Ralph Joran.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, ii. 424; iii. 385.
  • 2. Ibid. iii. 333, 410; Feudal Aids, i. 221, 222, 239; Reg. Lacy, ed. Hingeston-Randolph, ii. 45; C1/5/99.
  • 3. JUST 1/1502 m. 170d; CAD, iv. A8710, 10025, 10398, 10425; CCR, 1396-9, pp. 53, 311; 1399-1402, p. 124; 1419-22, pp. 114, 116, 117; CFR, xi. 238.
  • 4. CCR, 1399-1402, p. 398; 1419-22, p. 115; KB27/564 rot. attorneys; CAD, iv. A10321, 10388, 10515; v. 10488; Reg. Stafford, 182; CPR, 1416-22, p. 260.
  • 5. CAD, iv. A10021; Cornw. RO, HD/11/255.