WHALESBOROUGH, John (c.1369-1418), of Whalesborough, 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

b.c.1369, s. and h. of John Whalesborough (d.1382) of Whalesborough by his w. Margaret. m. by 1399, Joan (d.1435/6), da. of Sir John Raleigh of Nettlecombe, Som., 4s. 4da.1

Offices Held

Commr. of array, Cornw. Dec. 1399, Aug., Sept. 1403, July 1405; to collect a subsidy Mar. 1404; of inquiry Jan. 1406 (unlawful assemblies).

J.p. Cornw. 14 Mar. 1403-Feb. 1407.


Whalesborough’s father died while he was still a minor (aged about 13), leaving six manors and three advowsons in Cornwall, all of which were settled on his widow for life should she not remarry. However, she did marry again and a dispute over the wardship of the lands and heir ensued. At first committed to the widow and her second husband, they passed in June 1383 to William, Lord Botreaux, with whom they remained until Whalesborough proved his age in June 1391. According to an extent made the previous year his inheritance was worth £31 6s.8d. p.a.2 Whalesborough seems to have increased this property, for by his death he owned seven manors and extensive lands in Cornwall besides receiving rents at Berrynarbor, Devon. With great care and forethought, and in some detail, he settled these estates for the benefit of his wife and family, beginning in 1401, when Sir John Grenville*, his neighbour at Stow, and other friends acted as feoffees of Tresidder and Lancarffe. Subsequent transactions in 1403 (regarding the manor of Whalesborough) and 1411 (that of Lamellion) provided his wife with a jointure. Then, in July 1417, two further settlements were made for his sons, John and Robert, and finally, in December that year, Perranuthnoe, Trerose and Halwyn, along with three advowsons, were put into the hands of trustees, headed by (Sir) John Colshull II*, presumably in the interest of the heir, Thomas.3

Only a few other traces of Whalesborough’s activities have survived. He received an episcopal licence for oratories at any of his manor-houses in December 1391, and he and his wife and William their son received a similar one specifically for Whalesborough in June 1400. In 1405 the Crown unsuccessfully disputed Whalesborough’s right to the patronage of the church at St. Mawnan. His land evidently gave him some considerable status in the county. For instance, he was asked to act as arbitrator in a local dispute, and five of his feoffees (Colshull, Grenville, John Arundell II*, Nicholas Broomford* and John But*), at one time or another sat in Parliament. He himself participated in the Cornish elections held in October 1411 and April 1413 at Launceston and Lostwithiel, respectively. Moreover, the connexion with the noble family of Botreaux, begun during his minority, was always maintained.4

Whalesborough died on 10 Jan. 1418. Custody of his lands and the marriage of his heir, then aged 13, was granted out by the Crown for £100. His widow took as her second husband Sir Thomas Pomeroy*, while one of his daughters married Thomas, Lord Scales, and another William, Lord Moleyns.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421


Variants: Walesbrewe, Whalisbreu.

  • 1. Reg. Stafford ed. Hingeston-Randolph, 282; CPR, 1381-5, p. 194; 1416-22, p. 217; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 421-3; Some Som. Manors (Som. Rec. Soc. extra ser. 1931), 81, 370; Som. Feet of Fines (ibid. xxii), 176.
  • 2. CPR, 1381-5, p. 194; 1388-92, p. 10; CFR, ix. 302, 342, 369; x. 40; CCR, 1389-92, p. 380; SC6/822/12.
  • 3. C138/28/51; CCR, 1413-19, pp. 421-3; CPR, 1416-22, p. 212.
  • 4. Reg. Stafford, 204, 282, 320; Reg. Brantingham, 739; CAD, v. A10484; CFR, xii. 119; CCR, 1413-19, p. 115; C219/10/6, 11/1; Huntington Lib. San Marino, Hastings ms HAM box lxxiv.
  • 5. CFR, xiv. 196; C138/28/51; CPR, 1416-22, p. 217; Som. and Dorset N. and Q. xxviii. 120-1; CP, ix. 42; xi. 506-7.