KENDALE, John (d.c.1402), of Lostwithiel and 'Bodmalgan' in Lanlivery, 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

Family and Education

s. of John Kendale (d.c.1372), of Restormel and Trenode in Morval, Cornw. by his w. Alice. m. 2s.1 inc. Stephen*.

Offices Held

Mayor, Lostwithiel Mich. 1376-7, 1381-4, 1385-6.2


The Kendales originally came from Westmorland and, certainly in the first half of the 15th century, retained connexions in that county. But by John Kendale’s time the family was well established in Cornwall, having made its mark there through service to the earls (afterwards dukes) of Cornwall. John’s father was promised the offices of constable and parker of Restormel castle by John of Eltham shortly before his death in 1336, and, the promise having been honoured by the earl’s royal brother, Edward III, he enjoyed the post for life (in effect nearly 40 years). More important, by appointment of the Black Prince the elder John Kendale also served as receiver of the duchy of Cornwall, holding the office from about 1349 until when, finding himself unable to perform his duties efficiently, he asked to be replaced by his kinsman, Richard Kendale of Treworgey.3 John Kendale, the father, was well placed to acquire leases on properties belonging to the duchy, and in 1342 he had been granted for life three messuages and 75 acres of land on the duchy manor of Penlyne, close to Restormel. More permanent acquisitions were the manor of Trenode in Morval and property at Bridgend, near Lostwithiel. Such was the regard that the prince of Wales had for his retainer that in 1356 he granted to his wife and son, John, then only a child, three messuages, six acres and three roods of land at ‘Bodmalgan’ in Penlyne, as well as ten acres elsewhere, all for an annual rent of 10s.6d. It was by virtue of this grant that young John was to hold the same properties until his death some 50 years later.4

John Kendale the younger was usually described as ‘of Lostwithiel’ but, unlike his father, he never, so far as is known, entered the service of the duchy. Like his sons, William and Stephen, after him, he developed an interest in the profitable tin trade of the region, and, indeed, was part-owner of a tin mine. However, his prompt acquisition of livestock from the Tresilian estates after their owner Sir Robert’s execution in 1388 suggests that at least some of his income was derived from farming. Kendale became a prominent figure in Lostwithiel, and, indeed, was elected mayor no fewer than five times. In 1383, during the third of his mayoralities, it was alleged that he had seized a ship called La Seinte Marishippe of Gironde and its cargo of salt contrary to the truce then in force between England and Brittany. Then, in or before 1390, he and Thomas Moyle* of Lostwithiel were sued in the court of common pleas by certain merchants of Lisbon for a debt of £41 incurred at Bristol. But much more serious charges were to follow: in August 1390 Kendale was indicted at Launceston for the capital offences of having in 1384 counterfeited the die of the King’s seal for the statute merchant at Lostwithiel and frequently used it, and also of having forged silver gilt and copper farthings, which had been in circulation for the past 13 years. Even though on Jan. 1391 he and the others implicated, John Curteys II* and John Savage, obtained full pardons with the help of the queen, and although the indictments were held to have been brought by his enemies, some of his possessions were nevertheless confiscated and granted to royal nominees.5

At the parliamentary elections held at Lostwithiel in 1384 and 1388 Kendale had provided securities for the appearance, respectively, of one of the knights-elect for Cornwall, Sir Thomas Fichet, and one of the burgesses-elect for Lostwithiel, Thomas Curteys. But he himself was not sent to the House of Commons until 1397, which was only a few years before his death. He is only twice recorded thereafter: at Lostwithiel in the autumn of 1398 he was one of 12 electors of the borough officials for the forthcoming year, and two years later he was summoned to appear at the assizes at Launceston to answer a suit over an annual rent of £10 due on lands near Looe. The plaintiff claimed that Kendale had originally acquired the property in 1364 on the understanding that he need pay no rent for 34 years, but should then proffer £20 p.a. Kendale’s defence rested on his assertion that the rent had been waived by a subsequent agreement. He died before March 1403, by which date his son, Stephen, had inherited the lands in question.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. The pedigree given in Vivian's Vis. Cornw. 258-61, is not reliable. The MP has been distinguished from a namesake and close kinsman, John, son of Richard Kendale (d.c.1390) of Treworgey. That John Kendale (whose father, MP for Lostwithiel in 1365 and 1377, Launceston in 1369, and Liskeard in 1377 and 1380, served as receiver of the Cornish estates of the duchy in 1365-9, and as sheriff of Devon in 1382-3 and of Cornw. in 1384-5), inherited substantial properties not only in south Cornw. but also in Devon (Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1914), 639-41; CPR, 1364-7, p. 406; 1377-81, p. 427; SC6/820/9). He was reported in 1399 to have been a 'mere idiot from his birth' (CIMisc, vii. 11), and although this misfortune did not prevent him from inheriting his father's estate, from marrying, or from bringing suits at the assizes over various Cornish properties (in which John Kendale the MP had a reversionary interest), it would account for his lack of involvement in public affairs. He d. bef. 1429 leaving a da. Christine, wife of John Malerbe, as his heir (JUST 1/1502 mm. 169d. 203d, 1540 m. 90).
  • 2. C241/164/33, 168/39, 46, 170/4, 93, 171/80, 173/5, 55, 90, 174/17, 43, 79, 122, 175/10, 37, 56; J. Maclean, Trigg Minor, ii. 244; CCR, 1381-5, p. 284; CPR, 1381-5, p. 285.
  • 3. Mems. Lostwithiel, 209; Reg. Black Prince, i. 5, 64, 213; Reg. Brantingham ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 267; Caption of Seisin (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. n.s. xvii), 41-42.
  • 4. J. Hatcher, Rural Economy Duchy of Cornw. 237; Cornw. Feet of Fines, 571; ibid. (1950), 746; Reg. Black Prince, ii. 100; E360/2/2, 3.
  • 5. CPR, 1381-5, p. 285; 1388-92, pp. 281, 282, 360, 371, 396; CIMisc, v. 84; C258/27/7; Archives vi. 42.
  • 6. C219/8/11, 9/4; SC2/161/7; JUST 1/1513 mm. 46d, 53d, 56.