ARUNDELL, John I (c.1366-1435), of Lanherne, Cornw.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Jan. 1397
Sept. 1397
Jan. 1404
Oct. 1404
Apr. 1414
Mar. 1416
May 1421

Family and Education

b.c.1366,1 3rd s. and event. h. of Sir John Arundell (d.c.1375) by Joan, da. of Sir William Luscote† of Luscote in Braunton and Loddiswell, Devon. m. (1) 2 May 1386 at Mursley, Bucks., Margaret, da. of Sir Robert Tresilian†, c.j.KB, div.; (2) c.1388, Annora, da. and h. of Sir William Lambourne* of Lambourne, Cornw. by his ist W. Joan Lanhadron, 3s. John II*, Thomas* and Renfrew† 2da.2 5 ch. illegit. Kntd II Oct. 1399.3

Offices Held

Commr. of arrest, Cornw. Feb. 1388, July 1413, Devon Nov. 1428; inquiry, Devon and Cornw. Apr. 1398 (piracy), July 1401, Mar. 1403 (claims to property) Cornw. Jan. 1406 (unlawful assemblies), Cornw., Devon, Dorset, Hants, Suss. Feb. 1408 (piracy), Cornw. Apr. (alienations), Devon and Cornw. Nov. 1410, Sept. 1413 (ransoms of prisoners in Brittany), July, Nov. 1412 (breach of maritime truce), Cornw. Feb. 1416 (free status of William Facheler), Feb. 1417 (liberties of the burgesses of Liskeard), Oct. 1417 (concealments), Devon May 1421 (breach of maritime truce), Cornw. Aug. 1426 (necromancy), Devon and Cornw. July 1429 (trade), Cornw. Aug. 1431 (wastes at Helston), Devon Dec. 1431 (piracy); weirs, Cornw. June 1398; to make an extent of the Botreaux estates, Devon and Cornw. Dec. 1398; of array, Cornw. Dec. 1399, July 1402, Aug., Sept. 1403, July, Nov. 1405, June 1421; oyer and terminer, Devon Aug. 1401, Cornw. July 1409, July 1418; against sedition, Cornw. May 1402; to take musters June 1415; treat for loans, Cornw. Nov. 1419, Jan. 1420, Devon and Cornw. Apr. 1421, Mar. 1422, July 1426, May 1428, Mar. 1430, Mar. 1431; lease out duchy of Cornw. Iands May 1420, July 1427.

J.p. Cornw. 20 Feb. 1397-Feb. 1399, 28 Nov. 1399-Mar. 1410, July 1410-Feb. 1419, Feb. 1422-d.

Sheriff, Cornw. 3 Nov. 1399-28 Oct. 1400, c. Easter-6 Oct. 1402, 10 Dec. 1407-Mich. 1408, 4 Nov. 1418-23 Nov. 1419, Devon 19 May 1414-1 Dec. 1415.

Steward of the duchy of Cornw. in Cornw. 16 Feb. 1402-18 Feb. 1430.

Capt. of castle and town of Marck in the march of Calais 7 Feb. 1405-Nov. 1408.

Justice to take assizes, Cornw. c. May 1407, July 1414.

Vice-admiral of England under Thomas Beaufort, duke of Exeter Feb.-c. Aug. 1418.


The Cornish family of Arundell may have been connected with the Arundel earls of the first creation, but were not related to the Fitzalans. Two main branches had been established by this period, seated at Lanherne and Trerice, and in addition to their great estates in Cornwall they were associated with Devon by family ties. During the lifetime of (Sir) John Arundell of Lanherne the Arundells became very prominent in Cornish political affairs.

John’s father died in about 1375, followed within two years by his eldest son, John, and in 1383 by the next eldest, Ralph. During the younger John’s minority part of his estates were farmed out at the Exchequer, first to Sir William Brantingham*, the receiver of the duchy of Cornwall, and then to Sir Robert Tresilian, the chief justice, while in 1384 Bishop Thomas Brantingham of Exeter, to whom the wardship then pertained, sold Tresilian the same, along with John’s marriage, for £400. The young man was married to the chief justice’s daughter, only to be divorced from her at about the time of Tresilian’s execution by the Lords Appellant. Arundell proved his age before August 1388 and, for part of his inheritance, did homage to the bishop in the following May.4

Arundell inherited considerable estates in the West Country from both parents. From his mother he received lands in Honiton, Ideford and Milton Damarel, half of the manor of Loddiswell, and the advowsons of Ideford and Milton Damarel (all in Devon), as well as property in Cornwall. After the death of his father, his mother had married Sir William Lambourne, and it was Lambourne’s daughter by his former wife who was contracted to wed John very soon after his divorce from Tresilian’s daughter. The marriage brought him six more manors in Cornwall besides property in Devon and Gloucestershire. In addition, in 1396 he shared with his kinsman John Trevarthian* the estates of Joan, daughter of Thomas Carminowe, to whom he was related through his grandmother, Elizabeth, a division agreed between the coheirs which provided Arundell with three manors, property in Exeter, and the advowsons of Whitstone and Philleigh. In 1415 there came to him the manor of Tolverne in Philleigh, three other manors and substantial lands in the same part of Cornwall, as well as the advowson of St. Just in Roseland and a ferry over the River Tolverne, which were held by Joan, daughter of William Tregoose, as widow of his kinsman Sir Ralph Arundell. Thus by the time of his death Sir John held 24 manors in Cornwall, including Lanherne, Tolverne, St. Columb, Carminowe, Winnianton and Lambourne, besides many other more fragmentary rents and properties, and he enjoyed considerable ecclesiastical patronage in the county, too. In Devon he held a further nine manors. According to the valuations given at his post mortem (most likely an under-estimate) these estates were worth more than £300 a year.5

Arundell’s first return to Parliament took place in January 1397 when he was about 30 years of age. He was appointed as a j.p. in Cornwall at the end of the session and served on other royal commissions in the following year, but it was only with the deposition of Richard II that he really emerged as a political figure. For several years the barons of the Exchequer had sought to extract from him the value of his wardship and marriage, as purchased by Tresilian, and although he obtained a royal pardon of this sum in January 1399, he was then removed from the bench and may well have harboured a grievance. The extent of his support for the Lancastrian King is revealed in his being chosen to be one of the 46 esquires knighted on the eve of Henry of Bolingbroke’s coronation. In November Arundell was appointed deputy sheriff of Cornwall, the titular shrievalty being vested in Henry of Monmouth, prince of Wales, as duke of Cornwall. In July 1401 he was one of the five Cornish knights who, among a great number of knights and esquires, were summoned by separate letters under the privy seal to a great council which was to meet at Westminster in August. That the prince of Wales himself favoured him is shown by the grant he made him on 7 Feb. 1402 of part of the Archdeacon estates (which were eventually to fall to Arundell’s son Thomas, following his marriage to one of the Archdeacon heiresses); and a few days later the prince appointed him as steward of the duchy estates in Cornwall for life, at an annual fee of 40 marks. Arundell continued to hold the office for nearly 30 years.6

In February 1405, as ‘King’s knight’, Arundell was appointed as captain of Marck, one of the Calais outposts, and the castle and town with all lands, fisheries, franchises and perquisites outside the liberty of Calais were granted to him for life. On 22 Mar. it was decided in Council to send out letters to those assigned to view his muster, ordering them to be at Southampton on 1 Apr. However, Arundell immediately encountered difficulties: on 12 May, after an attack by the Comte de St. Pol with a force of French and Flemings, the English garrison was forced to abandon the town and withdraw into the castle of Marck, and on the same day warrants were issued for Arundell to be given assignments of £500 for use there. On 2 July he was appointed to serve in Cornwall on a commission of array, to which his new office gave added significance; the force assembled was expressly destined for service in Picardy. In December he arranged for cloth to be sent to Marck for the uniforms of hired soldiers on duty there. But apart from the summer of 1405 he does not seem to have been personally much engaged across the Channel, and in November 1408 he surrendered his patent of the grant of Marck in favour of William Swinburne*. Besides his stewardship and numerous royal commissions, Arundell was entrusted with other responsibilities at home: on 2 Nov. the custody of the impoverished Cistercian abbey of Beaulieu (Hampshire) was committed by the King as patron to a body of six, headed by the earl of Devon and including Arundell, the patent providing for the expenditure of all revenues on the relief of the monastery. Meanwhile, he had attended the parliamentary elections for Cornwall in 1407. He was to do so again in 1414, 1425, 1426 and 1429, and as sheriff of Cornwall he himself was responsible for making the returns in September 1419.7

Henry V’s accession naturally made no difference to Sir John’s office as duchy steward in Cornwall, and he was clearly also influential in Devon. He was appointed sheriff of the latter county on the last day of the Leicester Parliament (19 May 1414), and on 23 Oct. following, by virtue of his office, he held the elections in the shire court at Exeter, returning his eldest son John Arundell of Bideford as one of the shire knights. He continued to serve as sheriff until December 1415 when, following a petition to the King asking for the remission of 100 marks when he made his proffer at the Exchequer, he was issued letters patent pardoning him £60 on his compotus in consideration of his great costs and losses while in office. On 30 May 1416, during his eighth Parliament, Arundell joined (Sir) John Colshull II* in undertaking, by indenture, to serve the King at sea with 40 men-at-arms and 80 archers, their period of service to begin with musters at Southampton on 22 June. An even more significant appointment was to come Arundell’s way when the resumption of the war with France in August 1417 necessitated measures to ensure English control of the Channel. Great care was to be taken to keep open communication between England and Normandy, and on 14 Feb. 1418 Thomas Beaufort, duke of Exeter, was retained to assemble 364 men-at-arms and 776 archers to serve during the spring and summer in 15 vessels under the command of Arundell as his deputy. In the summer certain balingers of Arundell’s, probably under his orders as vice-admiral, were responsible for the seizure of a Breton ship contrary to the truce, and in October its cargo was still stored at Falmouth in the inn of his lieutenant, David Urban*. That same year Arundell was appointed sheriff of Cornwall for the fourth time. However, during his year of office he continued to serve at sea, being granted royal letters of protection in March 1419 as a member for the next six months of the retinue of Sir Hugh Courtenay, the earl of Devon’s heir and the King’s lieutenant. On 19 Sept., by virtue of his office as sheriff, Arundell held the Cornish elections where the two knights elected were his sons John and Thomas. During the ensuing Parliament he himself was granted the wardship of the estates of his former colleague-in-arms, (Sir) John Colshull, along with the marriage of the heir, for which privilege he undertook to pay £200 at the Exchequer. (His third son, Renfrew, is said to have married a daughter of Colshull’s, thus further linking their two families.) Despite his duties as steward of the duchy, which involved the holding of accession courts in the spring of 1420, Sir John, on 5 June, procured renewal of his letters of protection as a member of the retinue of Sir Hugh Courtenay, who had now succeeded to the earldom of Devon. This seems to have been the last time Arundell served in a proper military capacity, although on 1 June 1421 he was instructed to enlist five companies of foot archers fully equipped to go to France.8

In the summer of 1421 Sir John quarrelled with his kinsman, Sir John Arundell† of Trerice, then sheriff of Cornwall. Although the cause of the difference is not apparent, it was evidently serious, for it came to the attention of the lords of the Council, who on 2 July ordered Sir John of Lanherne to be bound in a penalty of £1,000 to keep the peace towards the sheriff. They were clearly confident that he would do so, for just a week later they decided that, along with Lord Botreaux, the two Arundells should be commissioned to arrest the ships and men of all Dutch ‘piratas’ then in the port of Fowey, so that the Council might examine them. Arundell was much involved in executing royal commissions, especially those to ensure observance of maritime truces, and as time went on he became more and more employed in the raising of Crown loans in the West Country.9

In February 1430, by then aged about 64, Sir John retired from his post as duchy steward. In the 1420s, especially after the death of his eldest son John, he had made various settlements of his landed estates in favour of the others, (Sir) Thomas and Renfrew. (Those made in 1418 to the benefit of his three illegitimate sons and two illegitimate daughters, were evidently cancelled.) In 1428 five manors in Cornwall, including Tolverne, and various other properties, were granted to feoffees to (Sir) Thomas’s use, on condition that after Sir John’s death they would maintain, at a cost of 46 marks a year, a chantry of five chaplains and a clerk, they to pray for the souls of Arundell, his kindred and others whose names were to appear on a tablet over the altar where the chaplains celebrated mass. They were also to say all divine offices in ‘Arundell ys chapel’, which Sir John intended to build in the parish church of St. Columb Major to house his own tomb. In the following year Sir John granted Renfrew his manors of Lanherne and St. Columb, along with the advowsons there, subject to his receiving an annual rent of £40 for the rest of his life. This rent, however, was reduced by £10 in 1433, ‘for services rendered’. Sir John made his will on 18 Apr. 1433. By then his chapel at St. Columb had been completed, but he left £20 for the construction of a new bell-tower and the purchase of the bell. Other Cornish churches were to receive sums amounting to £37, while £13 was left to pay for 3,000 masses for his soul. Personal bequests in cash (including 20 marks to his daughter Joan, who was to become abbess of the Austin house at Canonsleigh, Devon), amounted to £86. Renfrew was to have his gilt ‘okyn coppe’ and two best salt-cellars. Arundell’s executors were his sons, to whom were added Bishop Lacy of Exeter, Nicholas Aysshton*, John Copplestone*, Otto Tregonan* and John Tresithney†. He lived on until 11 Jan. 1435 and his will was proved on 7 June.10

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Authors: J. S. Roskell / L. S. Woodger


Care has been taken to differentiate (Sir) John Arundell of Lanherne from his namesake and neighbour of Trerice, Cornw., and from Sir John Arundel of Lichet Mautravers, Dorset, styled Lord Mautravers, who succeeded to the barony of Arundel.

  • 1. He was said to be 22 in Aug. 1388 (CIPM, xvi. 507), but only 28 in Apr. 1396 (C136/87/15).
  • 2. J.P. Yeatman, House of Arundel, 214, 260; Trans. Devon Assoc. xx. 296-7; Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 3; C139/107/36; E159/173 Hil. Rec. rot. 5, 6.
  • 3. Chrons. London ed. Kingsford, 48.
  • 4. E159/173 Hil. Rec. rot. 5, 6; Devon and Cornw. N. and Q. xx. 112-18; CFR, x. 2, 90, 112; Reg. Brantingham ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 543, 685; CCR, 1385-9, p. 547.
  • 5. Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1914), 695; (1950), 847, 930, 933; CFR, xi. 187; CAD, iv. A10358, 10409; CPR, 1396-9, p. 356; 1408-13, pp. 274-5; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 291, 298; Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 6, 194, 200-1, 204, 220; Reg. Lacy, i. 12, 32, 86, 118, 145; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, iii. 160; C139/72/39, 107/36.
  • 6. PCC, i. 163; CAD, iv. A655; CPR, 1396-9, p. 462.
  • 7. PPC, i. 250; CCR, 1405-9, p. 7; C219/10/4, 11/1, 4, 12/3, 13/3, 4, 14/1; CPR, 1408-13, p. 29; E404/22/494, 495.
  • 8. SC8/230/11470; CPR, 1413-16, pp. 374, 379; 1416-22, pp. 204, 386-7; J.H. Wylie, Hen. V, iii. 113, 182, 318; R.A. Newhall, Eng. Conquest Normandy, 197; E101/69/8 no. 541; E403/633, 14 Feb.; Issues ed. Devon, 355; CFR, xiv. 288; DKR, xliv. 610, 619.
  • 9. PPC, ii. 288, 295.
  • 10. CCR, 1429-35, pp. 35-37; Coll. Top. et Gen. iii. 393; Reg. Lacy (Canterbury and York Soc. lxiii), 20-22; C139/72/39.