LOWYS (LAWS), Simon, of Liskeard, Cornw.
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Family and Education
Lowys came from a prominent Liskeard family, one of whose number had in the early 14th century held as many as 30 burgages in the town as well as land and rights in a watercourse nearby. He was probably related to Simon and Joan Gunmaylek who, in 1392, conveyed to him and William Lowys a house in Liskeard. As well as this and other properties in the immediate vicinity, Lowys held, as a tenant of the duchy of Cornwall, land at ‘Northwoode’ on the manor of Liskeard and he had a life tenancy of other holdings at Porthallow in Talland, ‘Pellean’ and Pelynt and ‘Whitley’, all situated only a short distance away. In 1408 he acquired more substantial estates centred on Trematon and Saltash in east Cornwall, which, however, within a year came into the possession of Stephen Trenewith*.1
The surviving records of Lowys’s career do not explain why he was elected by his home town to no fewer than 13 Parliaments over a span of more than 30 years. It must be supposed that, besides being well regarded and an able lawyer, he showed himself willing to undertake the numerous and arduous journeys involved. There can be little doubt that he was interested in parliamentary affairs and, indeed, in 1399, on one of the comparatively few occasions when he himself was not returned to Parliament for Liskeard, he stood surety for the attendance of those whom the burgesses then elected. Regarding his practice as a lawyer, there is the evidence of briefs received both at the assizes at Launceston and in the central courts; and it is clear that business often kept him at Westminster after Parliament was dissolved. Thus, he acted as an attorney in Chancery, the King’s bench and the court of common pleas, and he is known to have attracted work from other parts of the country besides Cornwall. The most important of his clients were Sir Henry Ilcombe*, for whom he pleaded in one of the suits over the Fitzwalter wardship brought in the Michaelmas term of 1391 (while the only Parliament in which he represented Lostwithiel was in session), and Sir John Cornwall, who in June 1399 named him as his attorney in England during an absence abroad. On his own account, in the early years of Henry V’s reign Lowys brought an action in the central courts against a Liskeard tanner for a debt of £2. He occasionally witnessed deeds on behalf of fellow Cornishmen, but was apparently only rarely asked to be a trustee of local estates.2 Despite the many occasions on which he sat in the Commons, Lowys evidently failed to catch the attention of the authorities, for he was never appointed to royal commissions. He is last recorded in June 1420, then appearing at an assession court of the duchy of Cornwall as a surety for a lessee of land in the manor of Liskeard.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. E306/2/7; CCR, 1385-9, p. 464; Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 776, 875; Caption of Seisin (ibid. xvii), 65, 69; JUST 1/1502 m. 191.
- 2. C219/10/1; JUST 1/1502 mm. 214d, 215d, 1519 m. 120; CCR, 1389-92, pp. 186, 281, 419; 1405-9, p. 90; 1409-13, p. 172; KB27/545 m. 8; CPR, 1396-9, p. 559; 1422-9, p. 442.
- 3. E306/2/10.