WYSE, Oliver (d.1420), of Greystone in Lezant, Cornw.
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Family and Education
1st. s. of Serle Wyse (d.c.1389), of Greystone; er. bro. of John*. m. by 1414, Margaret, 1s.
Tax collector, Cornw. bef. Dec. 1384, Nov. 1388, Jan. 1392.
Coroner, Cornw. bef. Feb. 1392.
The family of Wyse is recorded going back to the 11th century, when various members held properties scattered along the borders of Cornwall and Devon. Oliver inherited over 1,000 acres of land and some 40 messuages in east Cornwall (mostly in the neighbourhood of Launceston) as well as the manors of Greystone, ‘Trewandre’, ‘Pentewyn Wyse’ and ‘Nansogh’ the clear value of all of which was estimated at the time of his death at just under £40 a year. In 1414 when he and his wife applied to Bishop Stafford of Exeter for a licence to have a private oratory, they were permitted to do so in three of their manor-houses. Since the early 13th century the Wyses had been hereditary bailiffs-in-fee of the Cornish hundred of East Wivelshire.1 For many years Oliver’s father (probably the Serle Wyse who in 1334 had married Isabel, daughter of John Trevanion, j.c.p.), exercised the duties of bailiff by a deputy, one John Joseph; but in 1385 Oliver himself took over as sub-bailiff, and as a consequence two years later both father and son were sued at the assizes at Launceston for dispossessing Joseph of his office.2
This was not by any means Oliver’s only appearance in the lawcourts: in 1380 he had been charged in the King’s bench with involvement in an armed assault at ‘Crugon’; in 1388 he was accused at the local assizes of illegal possession of property, and a serious quarrel between him and the prior of St. Germans ended up in court; in 1389 he and his father were brought before the justices sitting at Launceston and made to enter into recognizances for the huge sum of £2,000 as surety that they would cease molesting Robert Trevanion (probably a kinsman of theirs); and in 1397 he alone was sued at Lostwithiel for a debt of £20.3 But, however occasionally, Wyse also appeared on the right side of the law: at the assizes held in 1394, for example, he provided securities that William Bodrugan I*, William Bodrugan II* and Sir William Lambourne* would all keep the peace. He attended the shire elections held at Grampound in 1407, at Launceston in 1411, and at Lostwithiel in 1414 and 1417.4 Although, so far as is known, he was returned to only one Parliament by Launceston, this does not mean that he took little interest in the affairs of the borough. Indeed, he held property there and, like his father before him, occasionally witnessed deeds in the town and served on juries giving evidence about local matters. Even so, his interest fell short of any financial commitment: in January 1418 and again in December 1419 the bailiff of Launceston was fined for failing to make distraint on Wyse’s goods after he had refused to pay entry fines and reliefs for certain tenements in accordance with the custom of the borough.5
Wyse died before 16 Nov. 1420. (The jurors at the inquisition post mortem held six years later were incorrect in giving his date of death as 8 May 9 Henry V—1421). During the minority of his son, Thomas (b.c.1418), the family estates were kept in the custody of his brother, John Wyse of Sydenham, and their kinsman, Richard Trevanion*.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Devonshire Wills ed. Worthy, 340-1; Caption of Seisin (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Ser. xvii), pp. xxx, lv; Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1914), 528-30, 543; C139/23/27; Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 283; HMC 6th Rep. 525.
- 2. JUST 1/1495 m. 40; SC6/813/8, 9, 819/2.
- 3. KB27/476 m. 51; CCR, 1385-9, p. 490; JUST 1/1502 mm. 168, 170, 171; C241/186/79.
- 4. JUST 1/1502 m. 171d; C219/10/4, 6, 11/4, 12/2.
- 5. HMC 6th Rep. 525; R. and O.B. Peter, Hist. Launceston 104, 121, 122; C143/393/9, 440/14.
- 6. CFR, xiv. 334; xv. 154, 192; C139/23/27. This Thomas Wyse was not the person who later sat for Tavistock and Devon (as stated in HP ed. Wedgwood 1439-1509, Biogs. 960). The MP was, in fact, Oliver’s nephew. His son died while still under age bef. 1431: SC6/814/22.