KAYL (CAYL), Ralph (d.1419), of Ethy in St. Winnow, 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




Family and Education

s. of Ralph Kayl by Maud, da. of Robert Stonard. m. by 1388, Alice, da. of Lena Roger, 2s. (1 d.v.p.), inc. Robert*.1

Offices Held

Commr. of inquiry, Cornw. Mar. 1390 (theft of goods confiscated by the Crown), July 1404 (concealments), Feb. 14082 (John Chenduyt’s* claim to Bodannan).

Tax collector, Cornw. Dec. 1402, June 1410, May 1416.


The Kayl family lands were situated mainly in the area between Bodmin and Camelford; in the 13th century members of the family had lived at Delamere in the parish of St. Teath, a property which eventually descended to Ralph’s son Robert, while in the late 14th century a branch settled at Treharrock in St. Kew.3

Kayl’s father was still living in 1379 but died before 1385 when our MP began proceedings against Alice Penpons over the manor of ‘Kaylensov’, which with two other manors, a mill and land in Cornwall—so Alice claimed—Ralph Kayl senior had given to her as his servant, to hold for the rest of her life. Kayl asserted that at the date of the alleged gift his father had been ‘non compos mentis’. At the same time Alice’s husband, Thomas Penpons, brought an action against him for a debt of £49 6s.8d. incurred at the Staple at Lostwithiel. Whether or not Kayl was successful in these lawsuits, his other properties made him a man of substance. As well as houses in Bodmin and near Lostwithiel, he held premises in Launceston and Landreyn (some of which he and his maternal grandfather granted to Launceston priory in 1386-7), and in addition to landed income there were his profits from trading in tin.4 On occasion, the peaceable possession of his property was threatened. In 1409 he became involved in an acrimonious dispute, apparently over feudal dues, with John Basset, esquire, who described himself as ‘servant to Thomas of Lancaster, steward of England’. Although on 28 June the chancellor himself bound them both under a pain of £100 to abide by the award of Robert Hill, j.c.p., and so settle the strife and debate between them, in fact the case was heard in the King’s bench in the following year. Basset said in evidence that Kayl occupied the manor of ‘Tolgos’ and other vills subject to him as lord of the manor of ‘Tyhidy’, paying suit at his court and 20s. rent every year, but that he had defaulted on these commitments and, when Basset’s bailiff had made distraint on Kayl’s property, he had maliciously brought suits against him in the county and central courts, broken into his house, assaulted his servants and destroyed his crops. Kayl’s contention was that Basset’s men had unjustly and without provocation seized his livestock and farm implements, not to mention the contents of his mill at ‘Tolgos’. Kayl and his sons were also engaged in disputes over property with members of the Martyn family, the estate in question having once been held by his wife’s cousin, William Roger.5

Something of Kayl’s standing in Cornwall is suggested by his appointment to royal commissions and as a collector of parliamentary subsidies (notably of those granted by the Parliament of 1402, in which he represented Truro). He attended the shire elections held at Launceston in 1411 and at Lostwithiel in November 1414 and February 1416.6 Although he himself was apparently never elected to Parliament again, his younger son, Robert, sat for Lostwithiel (the nearest parliamentary borough to their home at Ethy), four times during his lifetime. Kayl’s elder son, Ralph, died before he did: when he made his will on 9 June 1419 he left 20s. to the churchwardens of St. Winnow for his son’s obit, as well as 40s. for his own and that of a kinsman. He was in London at the time, and so asked to be buried in the church of St. Sepulchre by Newgate if he should die before going home. His bequests included 20s. to the vicar of St. Winnow’s church for forgotten tithes and three-and-a-half marks to be divided among his servants.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Otherwise Cavell or Kaill.

  • 1. JUST 1/1531 m. 45d; Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 311-12; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, i. 392.
  • 2. Erroneously called William in CPR, 1405-8, p. 418 (see CIMisc. vii. 374).
  • 3. Maclean, i. 504; ii. 157-60, 162; iii. 121; Feudal Aids, i. 199, 205, 214; Vivian, Vis. Cornw. 81, 113.
  • 4. JUST 1/1502 m. 176; C66/320 m. 19d; C241/164/88, 177/70; CIMisc. v. 144; vi. 376, 418; vii. 195; SC8/54/2695; E101/263/26.
  • 5. CCR, 1405-9, p. 513; KB27/593 m. 64d, 595 m. 25, 613 m. 23d; C1/69/179; Maclean, i. 392.
  • 6. C219/10/6, 11/4, 7.
  • 7. PCC 46 Marche.