TREGOOSE, John (d.1406), of Tregoose, 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



Oct. 1383
Jan. 1397

Family and Education

s. and h. of David Tregoose by Margaret, da. of John Rostourek.1 m. Margaret, 1s. 1da.

Offices Held

Under sheriff, Cornw. c. Mich. 1387-8, 1399-1400.2

Steward of the hundred of Penwith, Cornw. by 12 July 1390-d.3

Commr. of inquiry, Devon, Cornw. June 1394 (shipwreck) Apr. 1398 (piracy), Cornw. Mar. 1403 (forfeited estates).

Coroner, Cornw. Feb. 1400-d.4


Tregoose, the seat of the family of that name, lies two miles south-west of St. Columb Major, and some eight miles west of Bodmin. Although John did not inherit the place until after his parliamentary service had ended, he clearly made his mark in the locality. (In 1478 William of Worcestre recorded visiting the ‘turris in parochia Sancte Columbe quondam Johannis Tregose armigeri’.) And he increased the family holdings by an acquisition of land in the parishes of St. Austell, St. Mewan and Colan.5

In 1378, the year before his first return to Parliament, Tregoose acted as an attorney in the court of common pleas on behalf of a man from Fowey, and in the 1380s, as his legal practice expanded, he made a number of appearances in the Exchequer, Chancery and King’s bench for other Cornishmen. He himself was not always on the right side of the law, however: in a suit brought in the common bench in 1388 it was alleged that he had plotted with others to disseise one Ivo Crabbe of land at Tregoose and had kept him prisoner at Grampound until, under duress, he had ratified the necessary deeds.6 Tregoose’s first royal appointment was as under sheriff of Cornwall, and in June 1388, during his term of office, he and Sir John Kentwood*, the steward of the duchy, were sent instructions to prepare for the defence of Trematon castle in view of the threat of French invasion. The date of his appointment as steward of Penwith is not known, but he was already holding the office by royal licence in July 1390 when formal letters patent confirming his tenure were issued.

Tregoose’s personal connexion with the chief justice, Sir Robert Tresilian, meant that in 1388 and 1389 when royal commissioners came to Cornwall to investigate claims to Tresilian’s estates, following their forfeiture by judgement of the Merciless Parliament, he was able to provide them with detailed information. On his own account, however, he asserted that four messuages and three acres of land in Carvath (in St. Austell) and Tresithney, which he had acquired by purchase, had been seized by mistake as belonging to Tresilian’s estate; and although the matter was settled in his favour, he subsequently found that he had to fight a lawsuit against John Hawley I* of Dartmouth to retain possession. Tregoose later served on a jury required to give evidence about the landed interests of the chief justice’s widow, Emmeline. Incidentally, at the shire elections to the Parliament of 1397 (Jan.), he stood surety for her third husband, John Colshull I, whom he then accompanied to the Commons (this being his own sixth Parliament).7

It could have been Tregoose’s association with Tresilian which led to his own persecution by one of the Lords Appellant, Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. In 1392 the earl, alleging that he and his father, David, were bondmen from his manor of Carnanton, Cornwall, seized him on the Thames near Westminster palace and took him to Warwick castle where he was held prisoner. But the Tregooses had powerful friends, at whose instigation the administration of the Beauchamp estates in Cornwall was disrupted, orders were sent to the sheriff to detain the earl’s chattels, and Warwick was forced to promise David Tregoose a fair hearing before the King’s bench. Moreover, in May 1393, at the instance of Sir John Rodney* of Somerset and friends from Cornwall, John was not only released but also granted his supplication to the King for a proper trial of the question of his free status. However, the earl himself petitioned the Parliament which met in February 1394, complaining that when David Tregoose’s case had come up before the King’s bench at Derby in the previous Trinity term, John had waylaid the Cornish jury at Crediton and persuaded them to turn back, and that he himself had been subsequently required to make a long journey to attend a court at Saltash in Cornwall (which, he said, was 160 leagues away from Warwick), only for the trial to be postponed. Warwick then pleaded his ‘great illness’ and the excessive discomfort he had suffered from travelling long distances as reasons for the case to be brought to Westminster. Even so, Tregoose was able to prove to the court’s satisfaction that he and his father had been born freemen. Clearly, the earl had been outwitted at every turn, and Tregoose had triumphed, at least for the time being. This proved no bar to his advancement. In February 1395, while attending his fifth Parliament, he was granted a crown wardship with the custody of lands in Cornwall worth 20s.p.a., and in the following year he obtained a lease of the land confiscated from one of his father’s captors.8

Tregoose is recorded in the next few years acting in various ways in the service of the rector of St. Columb Major, John Syreston*, Elizabeth, Lady Botreaux, and (Sir) John Arundell I* of Lanherne.9 He was also elected as coroner of Cornwall, in 1400, and despite the instructions sent to the sheriff two years later to replace him on the ground that he was insufficiently qualified, he continued to hold the post until his death. This occurred at St. Colan on 6 Oct. 1406, when he was attacked and murdered by a gang of armed men led by Ralph Trenewith of Grampound, a former servant of the late earl of Warwick. Tregoose died intestate, leaving a widow and two children, Richard and Amy, both of whom were under age.10

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: Tregoys, Tregoz.

  • 1. Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 225.
  • 2. CPR, 1385-9, p. 456; Duchy of Cornw. RO, accts. 201.
  • 3. CPR, 1388-92, p. 279; SC6/819/9-11, 13, 15.
  • 4. C242/8/2; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 457; 1405-9, pp. 155, 169.
  • 5. Itins. ed. Harvey, 23; Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 861.
  • 6. Cornw. Feet of Fines, 703; CFR, ix. 342; x. 61, 66, 79; CCR, 1385-9, p. 310; KB27/510 m. 56; Yr. Bk. 1388-9 ed. Deiser, 66-67.
  • 7. CPR, 1385-9, p. 542; CIMisc, v. 104, 134-6, 144, 146, 211; JUST 1/1502 m. 182; SC8/76/3774; Feudal Aids, i. 219; C219/9/12.
  • 8. CPR, 1391-6, pp. 168, 430-1, 581; CCR, 1392-6, pp. 64, 104, 199; RP, iii. 326; Procs. Chancery Eliz. ed. Caley and Bayley, i. pp. ii, iii; CFR, xi. 173.
  • 9. CFR, xi. 184; CCR, 1396-9, p. 53; Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 200, 353; C219/10/3.
  • 10. C241/198/44; KB27/582 m. 81; CFR, xviii. 252; JUST 1/1519 m. 118d. Amy afterwards married Richard Penpons† (C1/20/150).