TRETHAKE, William II, of Trethake, 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



May 1421

Family and Education

yr. s. of William Trethake I*.

Offices Held


In 1408 William’s elder brother, John Trethake, brought a suit at the assizes at Launceston against his young kinsman James Trewoofe alias Lannargh (son of John Trewoofe*), for possession of property at Harlyn Rescoll and Tregonaun, Cornwall, which had been settled by his grandfather, John Trethake, on his daughter, Margaret Lannargh (James’s grandmother). According to the Trethakes’ case, in 1399 Margaret had granted the land in question to the young William Trethake, her nephew, for term of his life, and he had afterwards given it to his elder brother.1 It was the latter, John, who inherited the bulk of the landed holdings of both their parents, but in 1420 he arranged that if he should die childless they should pass to William. Through his marriage (to Joan, widow of William Horsey, esquire, and sister and heir of Sir Robert Brent), John acquired estates in Somerset and Essex. These included the manor of Blake Hall in Bobbingworth, which he gave to William, who in 1424 exchanged it with the dowager countess of Oxford for the Cornish manor of Polsue situated near Truro, and the right to make the next presentation to St. Erme church. In association with a kinsman, Thomas Dewy alias Trevenour, William then also shared possession of property in East and West Tilbury, Essex, but four years later he sold it to a consortium of Londoners.2

Trethake may well have been a lawyer by profession. Described as William ‘junior’, in August 1410 he had acted as an attorney at special assizes held at Launceston, and, similarly distinguished from his father, some time before 1415 he and John Archer of Truro (Thomas Dewy’s son) had brought an action in the central courts for payment of a debt contracted in Middlesex. It may have been he, rather than his father, who took on the executorship of Archer’s will four years later. In January 1421 he stood surety at the Exchequer for John Hals, a judge on the western circuit, when the latter was granted the keeping of property in Kent which had belonged to John Urban* of Helston. But despite his connexions with the law and lawyers, Trethake may also have been interested in trade: in 1426 John Seys, a London saddler, for whom either he or his father had provided securities in Chancery several years before, made a formal transfer to him of all his goods and chattels at home and abroad; and, in the following year, a pewterer of London named John Sygore did the same. (Sygore’s occupation suggests that Trethake could have been involved in the Cornish tin trade.) Nor were these his only connexions with the City: a kinswoman of his, Joan Amydewe of Penryn, married a London goldsmith, and it was she who, in 1425, sold him substantial landed holdings in and near Penryn, Falmouth and Truro. This acquisition no doubt strengthened Trethake’s influence in Truro. He had already represented the borough in two Parliaments, and was to do so in four more. He is last recorded attending the elections for the knights of the shire for Cornwall held at Lostwithiel on 31 Dec. 1436.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. JUST 1/1519 mm. 94, 94d.
  • 2. CCR, 1419-22, pp. 92, 114-17, 177; 1422-9, p. 453; Essex Feet of Fines, 273 iii. ; iv. 3; VCH Essex, iv. 13.
  • 3. JUST 1/129/6; CPR, 1413-16, p. 317; CFR, xiv. 371; CCR, 1409-13, p. 356; 1422-9, pp. 272, 390; Cornw. Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1950), 965; C219/14/2, 15/1.