TRETHAKE, William I, of Trethake in Lanteglos-by-Fowey, 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



Nov. 1414

Family and Education

s. of John Trethake of Trethake. m. Joan (?Metherose) 2s. inc. William II*, 1da.

Offices Held


In the 14th century the family of Trethake held the manor near Fowey from which they took their name, as well as lands at Kellow, Cartole and elsewhere in the same neighbourhood. Through his marriage, William added to these estates an interest in land to the west of the Fowey estuary, namely, at Metherose and Carne in Luxulyan. But his title to the family property was not secure: from 1402 to 1411 he had to defend his right to holdings in ‘Penhalmoer’ near ‘Penhalnihan’ when this was contested by Thomas Nanfan, whose claim rested on a settlement made in 1344 by Trethake’s grandmother, Lucy (née Bray), and confirmed by his father in 1355.1

Isolated details of Trethake’s activities provide only an unsatisfactory outline of his career. He is recorded acting as a surety for the peace at the assizes at Launceston, witnessing Cornish deeds, and attending the shire elections held at Grampound in 1407. He may have had business connexions in London, for three years previously he had brought a suit against a London ‘sherman’, averring threats. In 1410 he appeared in Chancery in association with Robert Treage* and Pascoe Polruddon* as a mainpernor for a fellow Cornishman. He was engaged in a lawsuit with Sir Otto Trevarthian, only to make a general release to him of all personal actions in 1416.2 In the meantime, in 1412, Trethake had shared with a kinsman, John Archer of Truro, a grant made by John St. Aubyn* of a croft and a park in the parish of St. Clement on the Fal estuary; and it may have been through this same kinsman that he came to the notice of the burgesses of Truro, who elected him as one of their parliamentary representatives in 1414. In association with Archer, Trethake sued Margaret, widow of Sir Nicholas Sarnesfield, for a debt of £20, and either he or his younger son and namesake was named by him in 1419 as an executor of his will.3

Trethake died at some point before July 1420. It is only after his death that the importance of his connexions in Cornwall are revealed. His widow, Joan, sued out a writ of entry regarding her property at Metherose, but when a jury was empanelled at Grampound the defendants challenged the array of the panel on the ground that the jurors were of the sheriff’s affinity and would, accordingly, favour the plaintiff. Subsequently another writ was issued, this time to the coroners of Cornwall, directing them to supervise the array of a new panel, but the coroners themselves were then found to be ‘so near the plaintiff in consanguinity and affinity that they might not make an indifferent return’, and in March 1422 the sheriff was even ordered to hold an election in order to replace the old coroners by new ones so that proceedings might be resumed. While the names of the coroners so partial to Joan Trethake’s case are not known, that of the sheriff was Sir John Arundell of Trerice.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: Tredege, Trethack, Tretheak, Turtheke.

  • 1. Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1914), 549; ibid. (1950), 831; JUST 1/1513 m. 51, 1519 mm. 95d, 101.
  • 2. JUST 1/1502 m. 196d; CAD, iv. A8576, 10005; CCR, 1402-5, p. 247; 1409-13, p. 109; C219/10/4.
  • 3. CAD, iv. A9927; CPR, 1416-22, p. 20; Reg. Chichele, ii. 173-4.
  • 4. CCR, 1419-22, p. 186.