TREWYTHENICK, Roger (d.?1415), of Helston, 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 1382
Feb. 1383
Oct. 1383
Feb. 1388
Jan. 1390

Family and Education

m. Joan, 1s. ?2da.

Offices Held

Commr. of inquiry, Cornw. July 1387 (escheat of ‘Cowyswork’ tin mine), Som., Devon, Cornw., Glos. July 1398 (value of Sir John Wellington’s estates), Cornw. May 1402 (sedition), July 1404, Devon, Cornw. June 1406 (concealments), Cornw. July 1407 (piracy), Feb. 1408 (ownership of Bodannan), Devon, Cornw. Nov. 1409, Nov. 1410, Sept. 1413 (ransoms of English prisoners in Brittany), Apr. 1410 (wastes at St. Michael’s Mount priory); to execute the statutes relating to mills and weirs, Cornw. June 1398; of array Aug., Sept. 1403, Nov. 1405; to raise loans, Devon, Cornw. June 1406; of oyer and terminer, Cornw. July 1409.

J.p. Cornw. 20 Feb. 1397-c.1416.

Justice of assize, Penryn Mar. 1403.1

Controller of a tax, Cornw. Mar. 1404.


Roger Trewythenick’s background is obscure, but members of his family are known to have owned property in Helston in the 14th century, and it would appear that he usually lived there, in the borough which he represented in no fewer than 12 Parliaments. He is known to have had an interest in lands elsewhere in Cornwall, too, at Grampound, Penryn and Tregoose, but his may have been only as a feoffee.2

Trewythenick’s training as a lawyer led to his involvement in the administration of the duchy of Cornwall, of which Helston formed part; for instance, in May 1383 he provided securities at the Exchequer for a lessee of various properties in Cornwall which had been seized by the ministers of the duchy and now pertained to the King. He made many other appearances in that court, in the King’s bench and in Chancery on behalf of fellow Cornishmen, among them Sir Richard Cergeaux* (for whom in 1389 he offered securities for the payment of 260 marks for a crown wardship), and John Penrose, j.KB (for whom he stood bail when a prisoner in the Tower in 1391). At the elections to the second Parliament of 1397, Trewythenick acted as a mainpernor for John Skewys, one of the burgesses-elect for Helston.3 It was a politic move not to seek election himself on that particular occasion, for since at least the previous Michaelmas (1396) he had been engaged in the service of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, as steward of his three manors in Cornwall (Blisland, Carnanton and Helston Tony), and the earl, having been arrested in July, was to be tried for treason in the forthcoming Parliament. Indeed, Trewythenick was quick to disassociate himself from Warwick: at inquiries conducted in Cornwall in November following local juries said that he had in his possession all of the account rolls, remembrances and extents pertaining to the Beauchamp estates in the shire, as well as the sum of £38 from their issues, which had been collected after the earl’s arrest; but, they said, he was no longer to be found in Cornwall or Devon. The commissioners’ report may have taken some time to reach the Chancery, for within only a few days of the local hearings Trewythenick was re-appointed as a j.p. in Cornwall. He clearly retained contact with the Beauchamps, for after the accession of Henry IV Richard Beauchamp, the next earl of Warwick, granted him the farm of his manors in the shire. He is known to have paid £135 to the earl’s receiver in 1402-3 and £90 in 1408-9 as a consequence.4

Under Henry IV, Trewythenick continued to serve on the bench in Cornwall, and he was put on several other commissions of a judicial nature. At the same time he was asked to undertake private business, including the trusteeship of the Cornish estates of Robert Hill* of Spaxton (eldest son of Sir John Hill, j.KB) and the arbitration of a dispute between John Polmorva and Sir Otto Trevarthian. But after 1402 his interest in parliamentary affairs was confined to attendance at the shire elections for Cornwall held in 1407 at Grampound and in 1411 at Launceston.5

In 1406 Trewythenick had obtained from Bishop Stafford of Exeter a licence for himself, his wife, and their son, Richard, to hear mass in their own private chapel. Eight years later, in April 1414, he secured a papal indult granting him plenary remission in the hour of death; and he probably died before the next commissions of the peace for Cornwall were issued, in 1416. An undated monumental brass records his burial in the church at Sithney near Helston.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: Trethenek, Trewennek, Trewethynek, Trewythynhake.

  • 1. JUST 1/129/3.
  • 2. Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 849; CAD, v. A11434.
  • 3. CFR, ix. 360; xi. 124; CCR, 1377-81; p. 350; 1385-9, pp. 131, 310; 1389-92, p. 372; CPR, 1388-92, p. 15; C219/9/13; KB27/483 m. 1.
  • 4. CIMisc. vi. 254-5, 257; CPR, 1396-9, p. 461; Egerton Rolls 8769, 8770, 8772.
  • 5. Cornw. Feet of Fines, 855, 857, 867; CAD, v. A10484; C219/10/4, 6.
  • 6. Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 282; CPL, vi. 408; Mon. Brasses ed. Mill Stephenson, 77.