ELLEMEDE, John, of Cornworthy, Devon.

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



Family and Education

m. by 1387, Joan, da. of Stephen Poteler of Tiverton, Devon.1

Offices Held


Ellemede’s antecedents are not known, but he probably came from east Devon where most of his lands were situated.2 In the 1380s he was preoccupied with litigation waged in the courts of common pleas, King’s bench and Chancery against the Cornish family of Kendale. He claimed that Richard Kendale†, his wife Lucy, and their son John were obliged by a statute merchant to pay him £108, and that because of their default he was entitled to three Cornish manors and, in Devon, the manor of Holcombe and land in Cornworthy, altogether providing revenues of £17 a year. Shortly before February 1386 the Kendales broke down his fences and dykes at Cornworthy (on the River Dart), stole a horse and 292 sheep worth £40, felled trees valued at £5, depastured corn and grass worth £10 and assaulted Ellemede himself at Inwardlegh, but although the judges of the King’s bench awarded him £60 damages Richard Kendale’s death and the sequestration of his goods for other reasons meant that he was unable to obtain redress. He was further harassed by Lucy Kendale’s second husband, William Hunt, who told Ellemede’s tenants that he and a friend of his, who claimed to be a serjeant-at-arms, had a royal commission for Ellemede’s arrest.3

Ellemede’s practice as a lawyer naturally brought him into close contact with other members of his profession in Devon. In 1388 he and William Burleston* were associated as mainpernors at the Exchequer for the recorder of Exeter, Thomas Raymond*. In the next few years he is found acting as an attorney in Chancery and in the court of common pleas for such clients as Sir Thomas Fitchet’s† widow, and Walter Reynell*, the latter briefing him for two suits, one over a wardship and the other relating to feudal services due to Edward Courtenay, earl of Devon. He is not known to have had close contact with the burgesses of Dartmouth who elected him to his only Parliament in 1393, but their choice may have been influenced by his legal reputation, and he did live locally. Perhaps, in this regard, his connexions with the earl also served him well. (It was while the Parliament was in progress that he arranged with one of Courtenay’s retainers, Richard Yeo, to pay John Doune 80 marks in instalments over the next two years.) In October 1399 he appeared as proxy for the rector of Spaxton, John Pyke, when he exchanged his living for that of Holcombe Rogus, then under royal patronage. He is last recorded in January 1407 when acting as mainpernor in Chancery for a burgess of Barnstaple.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. JUST 1/1502 m. 103.
  • 2. CP25(1)44/64/72.
  • 3. CPR, 1385-9, p. 166; CCR, 1385-9, pp. 248-9; Sel Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxviii), 75; SC8/332/15799; KB27/500 m. 11.
  • 4. CFR, x. 257; Yr. Bk. 1388-9 ed. Deiser, 76, 114; CCR, 1385-9, p. 639; 1392-6, p. 108; 1405-9, p. 258; Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 92.