TRENODE, Richard (d.1442), of Bristol.

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



Dec. 1421

Family and Education

s. of Richard Trenode by his w. Denise. m. (1) by 1393, Joan; (2) Alice, 1s. 2da.; (3) Joan.1

Offices Held

Searcher of ships, Bristol 1 June 1413-Nov. 1417, Bridgwater and all ports between Bristol and Minehead, Som. 26 Oct. 1414-Nov. 1417.

Bailiff, Bristol Mich. 1420-1; sheriff 12 Nov. 1422-30 Oct. 1423; mayor Mich. 1431-2.2

Constable of the Bristol Staple 23 Sept. 1423-4.3

Commr. of oyer and terminer, Bristol Feb. 1432.


Trenode, who was of Cornish descent, acquired in 1393 lands at Sutton Priour, Devon, near the border with Cornwall, and throughout his life retained close contact with the inhabitants of nearby Plymouth. However, he made his early career as a ‘taverner’ in London where, in June 1396, he was alleged to have threatened a local brewer called Roger Sewale. In the following year he was described as ‘of London, vintner’, but he was again called ‘taverner’ in November 1399, when his patent of protection for serving with Sir John Dabrichecourt*, then captain of Calais castle, was withdrawn because of his having remained at home in the City. It seems likely that he had been engaged to supply the garrison at Calais with wine. In March 1403, now referred to as living in the county of Cornwall, he took out a royal pardon for all treasons and felonies, but with the express exemption of any such crimes connected with the murder of Thomas, duke of Gloucester, so it may be that he had been in Calais at the time of the duke’s death in 1397. Nothing is then recorded about Trenode’s movements for ten years, but at some point during that period he settled in Bristol where, apart from what is suggested by a single reference to him in 1414 as a ‘citizen and vintner of London’, he spent his most active years.4

Trenode must have become well known to the merchants of Bristol through his position as royal searcher of ships in the port, a post he held for over four years from June 1413. While so employed he was also, in 1414, given authority to examine, in person or by deputy, all vessels entering or leaving Bridgwater and all other harbours from Bristol to Minehead, and to detain any carrying uncocketed or uncustomed wools, fells, hides, cloth, gold and silver, and all letters or other instruments prejudicial to the King. There is evidence of his accounting regularly at the Exchequer, although on one occasion, in February 1416, he was fined £10 ‘pro contemptu’.5 Early in his mercantile career Trenode had dealings with two Lombard merchants living in London, who sued him for debts of £5 2s. Following his move to Bristol he began to export cloth and woollens to Bordeaux from that port, and he also traded in salt. In February 1417 he, John Vyel of Bristol and another merchant pledged the value of the balinger Le Julian of Plymouth and £100, in earnest of their undertaking that the ship would be docked at Southampton before Easter, ready to serve the King in his forthcoming invasion of Normandy. Evidence of Trenode’s continuing involvement in the wine trade is provided by his association with John Burton II* with whom, two years later, he was licensed to ship an unlimited quantity of wine to Normandy, after payment of the usual subsidies. He again went into partnership with Burton early in 1429, when, together with Robert Russell II* they purchased wheat and barley worth 100 marks for supplying the people of Bristol—a transaction which came to grief following the loading of the grain in ‘trowes’ to bring it down the Severn, for these were ambushed by malefactors at Minsterworth Lake. In February 1431 Trenode procured a royal licence to make a shipment to Bayonne of 50 casks of beans he had purchased in Somerset, certain men of Plymouth and Winchester each finding surety in £50 that he would not export elsewhere. He also took part in the lucrative pilgrim traffic: yet another licence, granted in June 1434, permitted him to convey 30 pilgrims to the shrine of St. James of Compostella in his own vessel, a barge called The George.6

Trenode occupied in turn all of the principal urban offices in Bristol, and his first election to Parliament for the borough, in December 1421, followed hard upon his occupancy of the bailiffship. He is noted as being a member of the common council in May 1429. While mayor in 1431-2 he concurrently held office as mayor of the Bristol Staple, having already served his fellow staplers as one of their constables for at least one term. Between 1420 and 1442 there were 16 parliamentary elections held at Bristol, and at only two of these (1436 and 1439) was Trenode not recorded as participating. As sheriff of Bristol he had been responsible for holding the election of October 1423, and in April 1432 he attended in his capacity as mayor.7

As one of the Bristol electors to the Parliament of 1435, Trenode had been described as a 40s. free-holder in the urban county and resident there. Nothing is recorded of his property, however, save for the messuage, shop and garden in Baldwin Street and the annual rent from his tenement on the Back, all of which he left in his will, dated 22 May 1442, to his widow for term of her life, and thereafter to provide for an obit. He requested burial in St. Leonard’s church. John Sharp was named as one of the overseers of the will, which was proved the following July before the commissary-general of the bishop of Worcester. In August 1440, two years before Trenode’s death, the mayor and commonalty of Plymouth had agreed to maintain a chaplain to celebrate divine rites daily in the parish church of St. Andrew in their town for the souls of Trenode, his wives and his sister Thomasina, widow of William Venour, as an expression of gratitude for Trenode’s exertions on their behalf during the Parliament of 1439, as a consequence of which the borough’s charter of incorporation had been secured. Clearly, Trenode had never forgotten the home of his youth.8

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: Freinard, Trade, Trenade, Trenoda, Trenolde, Trinadge.

  • 1. Plymouth Mun. Recs. ed. Worth, 36-37.
  • 2. Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xxvi. 130-1.
  • 3. C267/5 no. 50.
  • 4. CP25(1)46/84/136; CCR, 1396-9, pp. 52, 123; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 94; 1401-5, p. 227; 1413-16, p. 212.
  • 5. E122/182/10, 11, 13; E364/48 m. Dd, 51 mm. Ad, C; E401/671, 27 Feb.
  • 6. CPR, 1413-16, p. 212; 1416-22, p. 180; 1422-9, p. 551; E122/212/13; CIMisc. vii. 536; CCR, 1413-16, p. 343; C76/113 m. 9; Overseas Trade (Bristol Rec. Soc. vii), 63.
  • 7. Little Red Bk. Bristol ed. Bickley, ii. 148; C267/5, no. 54; C219/12/4-6, 13/1-5, 14/1-5, 15/2.
  • 8. C219/14/5; Bristol Wills (Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. 1886), 132; Plymouth Mun. Recs. 36-37; RP, v. 18.