Available from Boydell and Brewer
No names known for 1510-23
|(aft. 18 Mar. 1536 not known)|
|1542||WILLIAM TREWYNNARD 1|
|1545||JOHN ARUNDELL I|
|1547||THOMAS MILDMAY 2|
|JOHN TRENGOVE 3|
|1553 (Mar.)||THOMAS MILDMAY|
|1553 (Oct.)||WILLIAM BENDLOWES|
|HENRY TRENGOVE alias NANCE|
|1554 (Apr.)||WILLIAM ST. AUBYN|
|JOHN KYME III|
|1554 (Nov.)||REGINALD MOHUN|
|WILLIAM ST. AUBYN|
Helston, a duchy of Cornwall borough and a coinage town, had received its first royal charter in 1201; its privileges were confirmed in 1512, 1547 and 1553. In the absence of borough records for the period little is known of its municipal government, but the Elizabethan charter incorporating it as the mayor and aldermen possibly did little more than ratify the existing position. The substitution of the term mayor for reeve in the duchy accounts from the financial year 1552-3 is perhaps only one of nomenclature; the senior of the two portreeves had styled himself mayor on several occasions during the 15th century, and Leland wrote of a mayor. Whatever the correct title of its chief official, there is no doubt that Helston was a self-governing borough, whose active relationship with the duchy was mainly the provision of a fee-farm amounting in 1539 to £6 13s.4d.4
The first known parliamentary return dates from 1298, and thereafter the borough appears to have sent Members with some regularity. Six Latin indentures survive for the period 1545 to 1558, drawn up between the sheriff of Cornwall and the mayor, or in 1555 and 1558 (a badly torn document) the mayor and community or commonalty of the borough and in October 1554 the mayor and burgesses. On at least two occasions, in February 1553 and October 1555, the names of the Members and perhaps that of the mayor appear to be insertions. This may mean no more than that the document had been drawn up before the election, but it was otherwise in September 1553, when the surname of William Bendlowes was inserted over an erasure. Like the other Cornish boroughs Helston held its election in 1545 after the original date for the assembly of the Parliament for that year.5
Of the 15 Members known between 1510 and 1558 only Peter Martin was a townsman, but Reginald Mohun, William St. Aubyn and William Trewynnard were local figures. As clerk of the coinage Henry Trengove alias Nance was a frequent visitor to the town and he perhaps had a hand in the election of his namesake, the obscure John Trengove. Thomas Mildmay doubtless owed his four returns to his auditorship in the duchy, and the same patronage almost certainly accounts for the return of John Arundell, nephew of the receiver-general, and for those of three Lincoln’s Inn lawyers, William Bendlowes, Richard Heywood and St. Aubyn, two of whom sat for other duchy boroughs during the period. Duchy influence is also to be presumed in the election of Edmund Smith, son of an exchequer official, in 1529 and of John Kyme, a servant of Secretary Petre, in 1554. John Holdiche, a Devonian, seems to have owed his Membership to friendship with the sheriff in 1529, John Chamond. Neither Robert Docat nor George Neville has been identified.
Author: J. J. Goring
- 1. C78/1, no. 36.
- 2. Hatfield 207.
- 3. Ibid.
- 4. J. Hatcher, Rural Econ. and Soc. in the Duchy of Cornw. 1300-1500, pp. 5, 249; B. P. Wolffe, The R. Demesne in Eng. Hist. 240; Duchy Cornw. RO, A10/3, ministers’ accts. 119; B96, receiver-gen.’s accts. 220; C. G. Henderson, Essays in Cornish Hist. 72; Leland, Itin. ed. Smith, i. 193, 321.
- 5. C219/18C/18, 20/30, 21/32, 23/32, 24/25, 25/29.