BEVILLE, John (d.1426), of Woolston in Poundstock, Cornw.
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Family and Education
Commr. of arrest, Cornw. Feb. 1388; array Apr. 1418; to treat for loans Nov. 1419, Jan 1420.
Sheriff, Cornw. 1 Dec. 1396-3 Nov. 1397, Devon 23 Apr.-22 Oct. 1404, 1 Dec. 1415-30 Nov. 1416.
J.p. Cornw. 3 Feb. 1416 Feb. 1422.
Beville’s career spanned nearly 40 years, but his activities in the early stages are difficult to trace with certainty, especially as his father (knight of the shire for Cornwall in 1376, 1378 and 1380) was still busy in 1393. John junior first appears as keeper of the lands of certain outlaws in ‘Kelemson’, Cornwall, in 1379, and subsequently, in 1385, he acted as surety for his father. The latter was sheriff of Cornwall (for the second time) in the autumn of 1386, and so, by virtue of his office, held the elections at which John junior was returned to Parliament. After that date, save in his commission to arrest men for disturbances against the under sheriff in 1388, distinction was rarely made between him and his father. There is, therefore, even some doubt as to which John Beville was the sheriff of 1396-7. Beville’s personal relationships are also unclear. Agnes Beaupyne may have been his second wife, for in September 1381 Bishop Brantingham had issued a commission to hear a matrimonial cause brought against Beville by Margaret, daughter of Richard Coletone. The matter in dispute is not mentioned, though such cases usually involved disagreement over the validity of nuptials.2
It is curious that Beville appears to have sat in the Commons only once. He took a fair share of public service in his county later. And, indeed, his burden at one stage must have been considerable: certainly, after his term as sheriff in November 1416, he received exoneration of £50 owed to the Exchequer ‘in consideration of his great losses and costs in office’. He was present at the Cornish elections to the Parliaments of 1414 (Nov.), 1417 and 1421 (Dec.), and at the Devonshire elections held at Exeter in April 1421. His local activities included the feoffeeship of the estates of William, Lord Botreaux, and, towards the end of his life, the guardianship of Thomas Rescarreck (one of John Chenduyt’s* heirs).3
Beville was a man of greater substance than his father, partly as a result of his marriage to an heiress. At his death he held the family property at Woolston (Cornwall), Barkington and Sparkwell (Devon), his wife’s inheritance of the manor and hundred of North Petherton (Somerset) and Grindham, ‘Faryngton’ and ‘Iwode’ (formerly Bluet property) in the same county. Elsewhere, in Devon and Cornwall, he owned 35 messuages and some 850 acres of land. These estates alone gave him an income of about £60 a year. Beville was able to lend 60 marks to the Crown in 1415, receiving as security (with other Devon men) ‘the duke of Burgundy’s great tabernacle’. He died on 13 Jan. 1426, leaving a son Humphrey, then aged 17 years, as his heir.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Beauville, Benvill, Beovylle.
Address: CPR, 1413-16, p. 417.