BODRUGAN, Sir William (c.1398-1441), of Newham by Truro, Cornw.
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Family and Education
Commr. of array, Cornw. Mar. 1419, Jan. 1436; inquiry May 1424 (idiocy), May 1427 ( John Chenduyt’s* estates), Cornw. and Devon May 1430, July 1432, Aug. 1433, Feb. 1434, Aug. 1435, Nov. 1439, Nov. 1441 (piracy), Cornw. Aug. 1431, Dec. 1432 (wastes at Helston), July 1435 (concealments), Dec. 1439 (riots at Liskeard), Apr. 1440 (ownership of the manor of Bree); to raise a loan, Devon and Cornw. Mar. 1431; of arrest May 1437.
Sheriff, Cornw. 7 Nov. 1427-4 Nov. 1428.
Distributor of a tax allowance, Cornw. Dec. 1433.
[J.p. Cornw. 19 Nov. 1438.]2
Sir William Bodrugan was heir to one of the most substantial estates in Cornwall, but the acquisitiveness of his relatives deprived him of most of his inheritance for several years after he came of age in about 1419. Since 1393 the Bodrugans had disputed with the descendants of Sir Richard Cergeaux* for possession of the manors of Tremodret and Trevelyn, and in 1419 they seemed to have lost their case. Then, too, after William’s father’s death in 1416, his grandmother had taken over his share of the estates, including the manor of Bodrugan, and her continued tenure after he reached his majority provoked considerable resentment: in 1426 he and his men broke into closes and houses at Bodrugan, assaulted and wounded his grandmother’s fourth husband, Robert Hill, a former j.c.p., and took away 460 head of livestock (valued at 200 marks) and goods worth £100. However, he was already living on the family property at Newham, and in any case did not have much longer to wait for the rest of his inheritance. When his grandmother died, in April 1428, he came into possession of some 14 manors.3 Part of the Bodrugan estates was still held by Eleanor, wife of Sir William Talbot*, as her dower portion after the death of her first husband Otto Bodrugan alias Trenewith (Sir William’s uncle); but she gave Sir William some of her dower lands in return for an annuity of £10, and when she died in 1439 the rest (the manors of Pendrym, East Looe and Trethewe and the advowson of St. Martin’s church at Pendrym) also came into his keeping. Bodrugan’s holdings included the advowsons of churches at Duloe and Poundstock and a chapel at Truro.4
Bodrugan was knighted, probably early in 1419 when he was aged about 21, and it is possible that he had already played some part in the conquest of Normandy (though his name has not been traced at so early a date on the surviving muster rolls). Certainly, he was included on the list of knights and esquires of Cornwall sent to the Council in January 1420 as being the best able to serve in the defence of the realm. In February that year he purchased for 200 marks the marriages of the two daughters of John St. Aubyn* esquire, of Combe Raleigh, Devon; a few months later he was granted custody of one of the St. Aubyn properties in Cornwall; and he managed to keep half of the St. Aubyn estates under his control by marrying the eldest girl to his brother, Otto. He also became the guardian of the heiress of William Treville, only to be required, in July 1420, to make a formal undertaking to keep her unmarried until it should be decided whether or not she was the King’s ward. It was to discuss this matter that Bodrugan appeared in Chancery in Michaelmas term following (while the Parliament in which he first represented Cornwall was in session), and eventually, on 17 Dec., he was awarded custody of the Treville estates as well as the wardship and marriage of the heir, for a payment of £50. In the following spring (1421) he joined the retinue of a kinsman, Sir Walter Hungerford*, for military service in France.5
Bodrugan was involved in various transactions concerning the estates of his kinsmen, the Trevarthians, the Reskymers and the Arundells, and it is particularly interesting to note