Welcome To The TREVETHAN Family History Site

10-Mar-2008

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Lord of the Manor.

During the middle ages in England the economic system was manorialism with manors covering most of the land. They supplied food, clothing, shelter and nearly every thing else needed by the lords and peasants or serfs.

Most manors were made up of the lordís land and small plots held by the peasants. The lord lived in a manor house, which was usually surrounded by a garden, an orchard, and farm buildings. Most manors also included a church, a mill for grinding grain into flour, and a press for making wine.

The peasants depended on the lord for protection from enemies, for justice, and for what little government there was. The peasants farmed both the lordís land and their own. They were bound to the soil. This means they were part of the property, and they remained on the land if a new lord acquired it. Unlike slaves, they could not be sold apart from the land. Peasants rarely travel far from the manor.

A serfís holding usually included a crude house, the adjoining plot of ground, a share of the surrounding fields, and a few animals. Part of his crops went to the lord of the manor as rent payment. The serf also worked on the lordís land and made special payments to him. The land they held was often handed down from father to son until the family acquired a right to it from long use. The serfs sole title to the land was a copy of the entries on the manor court roll.

The manorial system began to decline when trade and industry revived. This revival brought back an economic system based on payment with money for goods and services. Many serfs escaped to towns. Others rose in revolt against the lords. In some cases, landlords found it more profitable to give the serfs money for their labour. In the process, the serfs obtained their freedom. Other serfs began to sell their holdings and leave the estates. In time, their liberty was recognised by English law which ended serfdom in the 1600ís. Manorialism ended first in western Europe. It remained as late as the 1800ís in some parts of central and eastern Europe. Large family estates in Great Britain still exist as remainders of manorialaism.

In the north east of Cornwall where our very early ancestors lived there were a number of manors as follows:-

St Breock Hurstyn, Ide, Padstow Penkivel, Pawton,
Penlees,Tredinnick,Tregenna and Trevilles.

St Issey Halwyn, Ide, St Issey, Tregenna, Trevarrack
and Trevorrick.

St Merryn Ide, Treffoe, Tregrean and Trevose.

Padstow Gaverigan, Padstow, Padstow Penkivel,
Tregenna, Tregerryn and Tregrean.

Some Very Early Trevethans of Porthcothan.

Although the records that record the births and deaths of our family only go back to the late 1600ís there are older records that mention our family name of various spellings in the Porthcothan area going back many more hundreds of years. Unfortunately our early families earlier forbearers can not be connected together but it is interesting none the less to try and discover items that relate to the very early Trevethan family name.

An Inquisition 1388.

One such document was the record of an Inquisition carried out under a writ from the King of England of the time Richard II to the sheriff of Cornwall who appointed William Rykhill and John Cassy as commissioners. The date was Thursday the 30th of July 1388 and the inquisition was carried out at Launceston. They were assigned to enquire as to the right and estate of Thomas Treythyan in two messuages (dewelling houses with out buildings and land) and lands in Mighelstowe (probably Michaelstow a parish a little east of St. Merryn), of Ralph Nevil in a messuage, a mill and 20 shillings rent in Rugok (a manor in St. Kew also near St. Merryn)  and Trencruk (a place name in St. Issey). Also of John Poly of Tregonan in three messuages and lands in Tresilian, Tregonan and Padestowe (Padstow beside St. Merryn). This Thomas Treythyan therefore owned quite a lot of land in the area that we can trace our earliest ancestors to and maybe one of the very early people with the name of Trevethan.

Prideaux Brune Court Rolls.

As you can see some of the manors mentioned above were very large and covered parts of several parishes. The ancient parish of Luxulyan is of interest to us being a little south of St Breock. In this parish was the manor of Prideaux Brune whoís manor court rolls are held today by the Cornwall Records Office. Although these records run to many volummes listed below are the records relating to the Trevethans of that time.

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No. 1

Wednesday before Feast of St Dionysius 29 Henry VI (7 October 1450).
Ralph Trevethen who held (acres omitted) in Trevethen has died, relief on this 12 d, excused.
Friday before Feast of St Augustine 29 Henry.
Margaret Teveben seeks distraint of the goods of Roger Dynas, John Turner and Ogge on plea of trespass.
Tuesday after Feast of translation of St Thomas the Martyr 29 Henry VI (17 July 1451).
William Jake Adam is at mercy of court for not being present in the case v. Walter Raulyn Trevethan.

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No. 2 (i), (ii) and (iii).

Wednesday before Feast of SS. Simon and Jude 31 Henry VI (27 October 1452).
Walter Trevethen v. Warin Ebryn in plea of debt.
16 April 1452.
Heirs of Ralph Trevethen (no details) pay 3d homage to lord of the manor.
Walter Trevethen pays 2d for breaching the assise of ale.
Thursday after Feast of Nativity of St. John the Baptist 31 Henry VI (28 June 1451).
Walter Trevethan v. Warin Ebryn for plea of debt.
Prideaux Brune Court Roll/65.
13 April Henry VI (1453)
John Trevarthian fined 2d. for breaking the assize of bread.
Richard Trevarthian fined 2d. for breaking the assize of ale.

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No. 3.

Tuesday Feast of Discovery of the Holy Cross 37 Henry. VI (3 May 1458).
Richard Joce for himself and heirs takes in fee simple from John Raulyn Trevethan 51 Cornish acres and 8 parts of a farthing in Trevethan, for which he pays 8s and half a penny as relief and 3d relief for a garden in Padstow. Richard Joce is distrained until he swears fealty to the lord of the manor.

Wednesday in the vigils of SS Peter and Paul 37 Henry VI (28 June 1458).
Thomas Hicke seeks a plea of debt again Walter Trevethan for first time.
Tuesday before Feast of St Margaret, virgin (18 July 1458).
Thomas Hicke seeks a plea of debt again Walter Trevethan for second time.

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No. 4.

Monday after Feast St Michael the Archangel 7 Edward IV (5 October 1467).
Walter Trevethan is marked as one of the jury members.
Two enquires whether Walter Trevethen owes Nicholas Carringnowe 9s. 2d. and John Trevythvan 2s. 10d.

Monday day after Feast of St Luke the evangelist 7 Edward IV (19 October 1467).
Nicholas Carmynow, esquire, seeks a plea of debt against Walter Trevethan.
John Trevythven seeks a plea of debt againest Walter Trevethan for 2s 10d: Thomas Payn stands pledge for Walter Trevethan.

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No. 5.

Wednesday Feast St Luke 9 Edward IV (18 October 1469).
(This entry is damaged) Walter Trevethan v. John J(?).
Thursday before Feast St Martin, bishop 9 Edward IV (9 November 1469).
Plea of dept was granted foe Walter Trevethen against the executors of the will of John Jamyn.
(Each of the subsequent courts for this year December 1469 - May 1470 has an entry for this case).

Feast of the decollation of St John the Baptist 10 Edward IV (29 August 1470).
Enquires whether Walter Trevethan has killed a sheep of Thomas Payn with his dog, and whether Thomas Payn has killed sheep of Walter Trevethan, both worth 26s. 8d.

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No 6.

Saturday day after Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross 10 Edward IV (15 September 1470).
Thomas Payn seeks a plea of trespass against Walter Trevethen and vice versa.

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No 7.

No Trevethan entries at all, 1473-4.

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No 8.

Thursday before Feast of Holy Trinity, 15 Edward IV.
Claricia Trevethan died seized of 1 toft(1) and garden within the town (of Padstow ? entry damaged) owing relief and rent to the lord of the manor.
(1) Homestead.

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No 9.

8 October 16 Edward IV (1476)
Walter Trevethan is listed as a juror.
Richard Engoyf is accused of assaulting Peter Gaskyn and Margaret, his wife, found guilty and put upon the pledge of surety of Walter Trevetha and John Nicolys, senior.
Richard Dey is accused of assault on Johanna Whytcherche, found guilty and put upon the pledge of Walter Trevethan.

Prideaux Brune Roll No 10.

Thursday after Michaelmas 21 Edward IV (4 October 1481)
Thomas Corman seeks against Peter Rankyn and William Arthur attachment for a plea of debit on pledge og surety of Walter Trevethan.

Walter Trevethan v. John Richards Martyn for a plea of trespass.
Tuesday after Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist 21 Edward IV (23 October 1481)
Thomas Lymby v. Walter Trevethan for plea of debt. (Walter being one of seven people sued here by Thomas).

Walter Trevethan v. John Richards Martyn for plea of trespass.

In the following two courts, both entries repeated, the dates being Wednesday after Feast of St Katherine Virgin (28 November 1481) and Wednesday before Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle (19 December 1481).

Tuesday after St. Hilary 21 Edward IV (15 January 1482)
Thomas Lumby v. Walter Trevethann for plea of debt.
Thursday before St Davidís day, 22 Edward IV (28 February 1482).
Entry as above and also repeated on 1 April 1482 and 29 April 1482.
22 May 22 Edward IV (1482)
Walter Trevethan listed as a juror.
Walter Trevethan fined 2d. for breaking assize of ale.
Thomas Lumby v. Walter Trevethan for plea of debt.
Feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle, 22 Edward IV (11 June 1482).
This entry is also repeated on Monday before Feast of St. Margaret Virgin 22 Edward IV (15 July 1482) and Thursady before Feast of decollation of John the Baptist (22 August 1482).

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No 11.

Monday before All Saints 22 Edward IV (28 October 1482).
Walter Trevethan is listed as a juror.
Walter Trevethan is fined 2d. for breaking the assize of ale.
There are no more Trevethan entries until Monday, Feast of St. Augustine I Edward V (26 May 1483), when Walter Trevethan is again listed as a juror.

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No 12.

5 October I Henry (1483).
Walter Trevethan is listed as a juror.
Walter Trevethan is fined 2d. for breaking the assize of ale.
Walter Trevethan v. Thomas Trelothowe for plea of trespass.
Walter Trevethan v. Walter Pomeray for plea of debt.
31 October I Henry (1483).
Walter Trevethan v. Thomas Trelothowe for plea of trespass.
Walter Trevethan v. Walter Pomeray for plea of debt.
16 January I Henry VII (1484).
Thomas Trelothowe is in mercy for trespass againest Walter Trevethan.
Walter Trevethan v. Walter Pomeray for plea of debt.
Walter Trevethan is one of eight people paying fealty to the lord of the manor, owing 1d.
There are no other entries in this roll except for two which give Walter as a juror, on Monday before Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist I Henry VII (24 April 1486) and 3 October 2 Henry VII (1486).

Prideaux Brune Court Roll No 13.

20 October 5 Henry VII (1489).
Walter is listed as a juror.
The reeve is in mercy for not levying 8d. from Walter Trevethan and Laurence Carpenter amongst others.
Richard Pascoe puts Walter Trevethan and Arthur Dey at mercy for distraining his goods against the law of the manor, for which they are fined 12d.
Tuesday before Feast of St. Clement, pope 5 Henry (17 November 1489).
The reeve is in mercy for not levying 10d. from Walter Trevethan and John Legge.
16 April ... 5 Henry VII (1490).

The reeve is in mercy for not levying 5s. from Walter Trevethan and William Carhort.
The entry has no date, because of damage to the parchment).
The reeve is in mercy for not levying 10d. from Walter Trevethan and John Legge.
The above entry is repeated on 8 June, 5 Henry VII (1490) but not again on this roll.
The court rolls for Padstow Penkivel from 1630 to 1709 have also been searched but there were no Trevethan entries.

These court records from Prideaux Brune start of by recording that Ralph Trevethen who was a land owner in Trevethan died in 1450 and releif of 12d was excused. Is this the place at Porthcothan, where today there is now a farm on a hill known as Trevethan? Later on the 16th of Apeil 1452 his heirs were ordered to pay 3d homage to the lord of the manor.

Two other Trevethans are mention in 1453 with John Trevarthian being fined 2d for breaking the assize of bread and Richard who may have been his brother being find the same amount for breaking the assize of ale.

It would appear that Walter Raulyn Trevethan, who may well have been the son of Ralph Trevethan, was not a very good manager of his money as he appeared before the court between 1451 and 1482 on seven occiasions for pleas of debt againest him. However he also sought to recover money owed to him by Warin Ebryn and John Jamyn in 1451 and later in 1483 and 1484 debt owed by Walter Pomeray. Walter would appear to have been in trouble on a number of occasions and there was certainly some bad blood between him and Thomas Payn, for in 1470 he was accused of killing one of the sheep belonging to Thomas Payn with his dog. Not to be out done Thomas Payn accused Walter of killing one of his sheep valued at 26s 8d. Just two weeks later these two accused each other of trepass so there was obviously an ongoing feud between these two men. I found it interesting that more than five hundred years ago that sheep had such a high value.

However Walter also had a better side to him. In 1476 he was a juror when Richard Engoyf was convicted of assaulting Peter Gaskyn and his wife Margaret. It was Walter Trevethan who put up the required surety along wiith John Nicolys.On the same day Richard Dey was also found guilty of assaulting Johanna Whytcherche and once again Walter provided the surety.
Serveral times from 1482 on Walter is fined for breaking the assize of ale for which he is fined 2d In 1484 he is one of eight people paying fealty to the lord of the manor. The court reeve is also in trouble over Walter Trevethan on a number of occiasions for not levying 8d, 10d and finally 5s.
John Raulyn Trevethan, who may have been Walters brother, owned fifty one Cornish acres in Trevethan which in 1458 he sold to Richard Joce. The sale to Richard could not be completed until he acknowledged his obligation he had to the lord of the manor and was ordered to pay 8s and half a penny as relief and 3d for a Garden in Padstow.

When Claricia Trevethan died in approximatly 1475 the court seised her house and garden that was within the town of Padstow as she had owing relief and rent to the lord of the manor.
The Padstow Court Leet.

The Court Leet was a manorial Court dealing with petty offences such as common nuisances, highway or ditch disrepair and breaking the Assize of Bread and Ale. The indictable offences went to the Assizes. It was presided over by the Lord or his steward. Every man over the age of 12 some places and 16 in others, with residence of a year and a day, was obliged to attend although in practice it was only the main tenants. Although it appears to have met more frequently in Padstow, the Court met in theory, twice a year, and as well as considering allegation on offences, elected various officers including the Reeve. The word reeve means chief magistrate of the town. He was usually a man of villein status elected by his fellow tenants to organise the daily business of the manor.

This often made him responsible for speaking for the manor in negotiation with the Lord or his stewart. He received a manor payment from the villagers and sometimes a remission of rent and a remission of fundal dues.

The Court Leet at Padstow met normally in April and again in late September or early October. It contains several references to the Trevethan family. One of the earliest is from the reign of Henry VIII in 1539 when Thomas Trevethan is among those in debt, probably not paying his contribution to the Reeveís expenses. At the same Court Leet held on the Friday after Michaelmas 1539 George Trevythaven is noted amoung the Free Tenants. The same Thomas became Reeve in 1558 at the end of the reign of Mary 1, however he did not carry out his office to the satisfaction of other tentants and was presented to the Court for allowing little pigs of the inhabitants of the borough to run at large against the law and custom of the town. He was fined 3/4d. Pigs wandering around were the biggest nuisance on manorial land. They often scavenged food from other people and even in some areas rooted out bodies from the churchyard. He was again Reeve in 1570 where he is described as Thomas Trevythan gentleman. This did not stop him being involved in a foray which ended with him being presented some two years before the Court for assaulting, wounding and drawing blood of John and William, sons of Peter William.

It was in this tight knit community of Elizabethan Padstow that our ancestors the Trevethans lived and were obviously much involved in the community.

Preparing For War

In The Time of King Henry VIII

At the time when King Henry VIII was King of England he had musters of Cornwall taken 1522, 1524 and 1543 so that he would know who and what he had available in the case of war. All included Trevethans some of whom would have been born in the 1400ís. Our Trevethans lived in the hundredth(1) of Pydar on the north coast of Cornwall. In this hundredth we find recorded eleven Trevethans most of whom would have been ancestors of us here in New Zealand.
Queen Elizabeth also conducted a survey in 1569. She had available to her 1034 men in Pydar aged between sixteen and sixty made up of 270 archers, 55 harquebusiers (a soldier armed with a harquebus(2) or sometimes with a musket or other gun), 31 pikemen (a soldier armed with a pike(1)), 678 billeman (soldiers armed with a bill(2)). Of interest to us are the following:-

Thomas Trevithan St Merryn Born between 1509 and 1553
Rawe Trevithvan St Mawgan Born between 1509 and 1553
Henry Trevithvan St Col. Minor Born between 1509 and 1553
Richard Trevethan Padstow Born between 1509 and 1553
John Trevethan Padstow Born between 1509 and 1553
Robert Trevithvan St Eval Born between 1509 and 1553
Thomas Trevithvan St Eval Born between 1509 and 1553
John Trevithen St Merryn Alive in 1522
Joan Trevethen Padstow Alive in 1543
Thomas Trevethen Padstow Alive in 1543

Of the other eight hundredths in Cornwall, Kerrier (which includes the Helston and Falmouth area) included eight abled body Trevethans and Penwith (which includes the St Hilary area) had five Trevethans available.

For defence against arrows, the army had wooden shields, and against horsemen, by most remarkable reasoning or instinct, it had already thought of the means of defence that was still in use seven hundred and fifty years later at Waterloo, and that was to stand in close ranks with spears pointed up and outwards (ie the weapons of pikemen and billemen).

Click the link below to view the family tree relating to the Prideaux Brune Court Rolls above which is in PDF format. If you need a PDF reader then click the link below to go to the Adobe site.

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This site was last updated 10-Mar-2008