BODRUGAN, William II (d.1416), of Bodrugan in Gorran, Cornw.
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Family and Education
Commr. of array, Cornw. Dec. 1399, Nov. 1405; inquiry Jan. 1412 (liability to contribute to a parliamentary subsidy).
J.p. Cornw. Mar.-July 1410.
Both William and his elder brother Otto took their mother’s maiden name, which adds difficulty to an already complicated set of family relationships. They did so, no doubt, because on the basis of settlements made by their maternal grandfather in 1386 and 1389 they stood to inherit the bulk of the Bodrugan estates. Otto evidently died some time in the early 1390s, and it was William who, with the support of his mother’s illegitimate half-brother, William Bodrugan I*, sought to gain control of the whole inheritance after the death of a distant cousin’s husband, Sir Richard Cergeaux*, in 1393. First he quarrelled with his mother’s third husband, John Trevarthian*, over ownership of the manor of Bodrugan, their differences being only temporarily patched up by a notarial instrument dated 28 Dec. that year; and then in 1398, even though three years previously he had formally acknowledged the rights of Cergeaux’s widow and daughters to the manors of Tremodret and Trevelyn during his mother’s lifetime, he and William Bodrugan ‘the bastard’ entered these properties by force. For this last action they were summoned before the King’s Council.1 But clearly William was placed in a better position than his illegitimate namesake, and thereafter he kept out of the family confrontations. He seems to have been on good terms with his mother’s fourth husband, Robert Hill of Shilston, j.c.p., for in June 1407 he obtained a royal licence to surrender his estate in lands at ‘Trewethan’ to a chantry at the altar known as ‘Bodrigannesauter’ in the collegiate church at Glasney in Penryn, when his mother and Hill were providing for services to be held there. In the following year his mother made over to him the manors of Restronguet, Bodrugan, Tregrehan, Trewarrick, Trethack and Trethym; and in 1412, by licence of Bishop Stafford of Exeter, he and his wife were permitted to have their own oratory at Restronguet. Bodrugan’s returns to Parliament first for Liskeard and then for the shire reflect his increasing importance as his share of the family estates expanded. In the Michaelmas term of 1415 he was required by the Exchequer to pay relief fines of £10 for Restronguet, only to be then discharged on production of a general pardon dated 1 Nov. that year.2
Bodrugan’s career is otherwise somewhat confused with that of his uncle of the same name. But after 1398 he was generally known as William Bodrugan ‘esquire’, and this designation helps to distinguish between them. In 1398 the younger man took out a pardon of outlawry following his failure to answer a plea of debt brought by two London citizens (an armourer and a draper); and it was he who, four years later, petitioned the Crown about unfair dealings by the mayor and burgesses of Plymouth. He then claimed that he and his fellows had recently taken at sea, ‘from certain men of Spain armed and arrayed against them in manner of war’, 13 bales of cloth and other goods, but that the men of Plymouth had subsequently seized the merchandise for themselves. The King’s Council, having first ordered that the goods be shown to Sir William Lambourne* before any decision was taken as to ownership, summoned Bodrugan and the rest to appear before them to answer touching complaints of piracy. It was probably this William Bodrugan who in 1407 attended the shire elections for Cornwall