TREVERBYN, John (d.1398/9), of Treverbyn in St. Neot, 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

s. of John Treverbyn.1 ?s.p.

Offices Held

?J.p. Cornw. 18 Dec. 1377-Aug. 1378.

King’s bailiff, Winchelsea 9 May 1388-d.

Commr. of inquiry, Cornw. Nov. 1393 (illegal entry into lands of John Hawley I*).


Treverbyn’s background is obscure, but his family is known to have held land in Polruan and elsewhere on the Fowey estuary, and he himself owned at least 100 acres in the parish of St. Neot near Bodmin. The family name was evidently taken from Treverbyn in the same parish. Surviving references connect him with royal service. In August 1382 he was granted £20 from the manor of ‘Trenay’ by Liskeard following his promise to undertake military duties at his own expense and to prosecute, again at his own cost, the King’s right to the manor. This promise to serve ‘well armed, furnished and arrayed as pertains a gentleman in the King’s company’ was re-iterated in the following year. From March 1387 he was engaged in campaigns with his own company of 19 men-at-arms, 20 archers and ten ‘miners’, under the command of the admiral, Richard, earl of Arundel, and apparently it was later intended that he should join the garrison of Brest captained by Sir John Roches*, although in January 1388 his royal letters of protection were cancelled because he was not preparing to cross to Brittany. By this time Treverbyn was being described as ‘King’s esquire’ and was probably a member of Richard II’s household.2

In 1388 Treverbyn received from the Crown the office of bailiff of Winchelsea, which appointment, coming as it did while the Lords Appellant were in control of the government, may have owed something to his earlier contact with the earl of Arundel. Nevertheless, it was regranted to him by the King in 1391 for life, together with 52s. p.a. from the manor of Iham (Sussex) and the ferry at Winchelsea. By then (the year of his first election to Parliament) he was influential enough at Court to obtain a pardon for an offender; and not long afterwards he and a fellow esquire, Henry Kirkstead, were granted the marriage of Thomas, son of Sir Thomas Fichet, along with custody of the ward’s mother’s lands in Cornwall, up to the value of £53 a year. However, they were told to recover the premises themselves, and although Fichet’s extensive lands in Somerset came into their hands as well in July 1392, both grants were vigorously contested by Elizabeth, widow of Nicholas, Lord Audley of Heleigh, so that the question of custody was still unsettled three years later.3

Probably as a result of his position in the royal household, Treverbyn was frequently called upon to act as a surety in Chancery, sometimes, but by no means always, for Cornishmen. Early on in his career he had served in this way on behalf of Roger Juyl*, at that time receiver of the duchy of Cornwall. On the other hand, he may well have been the John ‘Trewben’ whose arrest for illegal assembly in Cornwall against the earl of Warwick was ordered in August 1392. He certainly came forward, some months later, to provide bail for John Tregoose*, whose father’s imprisonment by the earl’s men had triggered off the riot. Treverbyn was on amicable terms with William Bodrugan I*, who offered financial guarantees for him in a suit for debt in 1387, and John Trevarthian*, another royal esquire, asked him to be an arbitrator in his quarrel with members of the Eyr family.4

John and his kinsman James Treverbyn together occupied a tenement, two shops and other property in ‘Candelwykstrete’, London, which they sold in July 1398. However, when the deed was enrolled in the mayor’s court, it was noted that John did not appear to acknowledge his part in the transaction, and he died before 16 Jan. following. He had apparently transferred his lands at Pengelly, Polruan and elsewhere to his ‘brother’ Henry Talbot, esquire, who in 1413 conveyed them to Margery, wife of Sir William Moleyns*, to whom their reversion pertained.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421


Variants: Trenerbyn, Tresverbiaun, Trevyben.

  • 1. Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 215.
  • 2. E364/23 m. H; CPR, 1381-5, p. 160; 1385-9, pp. 380, 439; CFR, x. 26; E101/40/33 m. 19.
  • 3. CPR, 1385-9, p. 439; 1388-92, pp. 321, 398, 401, 462, 518; 1391-6, p. 298; CCR, 1392-6, pp. 214-16, 440-1; CFR, xi. 53; C44/18/7, 21/14; Hylle Cart. (Som. Rec. Soc. lxviii), pp. xxv-xxvi, 7.
  • 4. CCR, 1385-9, p. 431; 1389-92, p. 498; 1392-6, pp. 64, 226; CFR, xi. 55, 171; CPR, 1391-6, pp. 68, 168; CAD, v. A10546; E364/23 m. H.
  • 5. Corporation of London RO, hr 127/11; CPR, 1396-9, p. 470; Huntingdon Lib. San Marino, Hastings ms HAD 138/2195.