Extinct Cornish Families, Part II
by Mr. W.C. Wade
Read December 18th, 1890. Published in Transactions of the Plymouth Institution & Devon and Cornwall Natural History Society, 1890-1891.
In a previous paper I treated on two extinct Cornish families, the members of which had distinguished themselves, in public and private life, for the possession of those qualities which we believe particularly pertain to the character of Englishmen. I referred in passing to many other extinct Cornish families, whose names are scarcely remembered now in the land which they dignified by their upright carriage as citizens, and by their abilities as statesmen, legislators, or as captains, or again as landowners who did their utmost to improve the Commonwealth. Our country could never have attained its present position but for the fact that in Cornwall, as in every county in Britain, such eminent men and such esteemed families have flourished to elevate the social life, and to guide the public affairs of the State. Whatever our views may be of democratic institutions, we must admit the probability that there always will exist in England an aristocracy or rank or of talent on whose capacity for guiding the national life will largely rest the destinies of the nation. It is in the last degree improbable that personal characteristics will ever lose their influence in English public or private life. Shakspere evidently felt that the English of his day were worthy of high admiration when he spoke of --
"This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for its reputation through the earth."
I think that we who enjoy the immense privileges of the enlightened age in which we live, would fail to be just if we seldom or never turned the records of the past, in order to know something of the men who went before us, and who made our country what it is.
Before going very far in studying the histories of the chief families of the most western county two facts become strikingly apparent. The first is, that the Cornish people seldom married out of their own county; and the second fact is, that most of the anceitn Cornish land-owning families are now extinct in name, while many who preserve the name are representatives only through female heiresses. Carew says, "This angle which shutteth them in hath wrought many interchangeable matches with each other's stock, and given beginning to the proverb -- "All Cornishmen are cousins." The geographical situation of Cornwall is scarcely sufficient to account for these constant intermarriages, since Cornishmen travelled a good deal, and were in regular political and commercial contact with other parts of the realm.
I purpose tonight to refer to the family of Carminow, giving some brief references to the chief extinct families with whom they intermarried.
Polwhele asserts that the first member of the Carminow family was living in A.D. 889, but a much higher antiquity has been claimed for the family; for Cleaveland, in his History of the House of Courtenay, states that a Carminow led a body of British troops to oppose the landing of Julius Cæsar.
Without doubt the family of Carminow was one of the most ancient in Cornwall, and they are creditied with having resided in Mawgan-in-Menage, near Helston, before the Conquest. Their name is not mentioned in Domesday. The late Mr. J. Jope Rogers, of Penrose, contributed two valuable papers to the transactions of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, relating to the eldest branch of this family, to which I am much indebted. He states that in Mawgan-in-Menage Church, which was entirely rebuilt in 1865, is a transept which has always been called the Carminow aisle. The south wall contained a low-arched recess, which had long sheltered a cross-legged effigy of a knight, carved in freestone, much defaced by time, but bearing on the shield distinct traces of the simple armorial bearings of the Carminows; viz., azure, a bend or. A female effigy of the same stone, but rather more mutilated, and reported to represent the knight's lady, lay on the ledge of the wall, near his. In the stone coffin beneath was found the skeleton of a man laid out as in burial. I may here remark that in an alteration of the chancel of Brougham Church, Westmoreland, in 1846, the coffin of an ancient member of the Brougham family was unvocered, whose tomb had always been called the "Crusader's," when it was found that the body had been interred with the legs crossed, as is generally represented on Crusaders' tombs, in memory, as Stowe says, of the oath they had performed of fighting for the cross.
The tomb at Mawgan-in-Menage is that of Sir Roger Carminow, the most distinguished member of his family. He was the grandson of Robert Carminow, of whom the first regular record is traceable in Col. Vivian and Dr. Drake's Cornish pedigrees. The surname of his wife, whose figure lies beside his, is lost; but her Christian name was Joanna, which seemed afterwards to have become a favourite one in this family. Sir Roger's sister Maud married Sir Robert Heligan of Heligan, a family long ago extinct; and their son married Margaret, daughter of Sir William De Dunstanville, of Tehidy, whose race has long been extinguished in the male line. Sir Roger, who died in 1308, must have been comparatively a young man when he joined Prince Edward (immediately afterwards King Edward I) at the last Crusade, in 1270-72. He is stated to have held a knight's fee of £20 per annum in 1294, and five years later he was taxed for his part of Winnianton, Merthyr, and Tamerton manors; and again in 1303 for the same lands on the marriage of the eldest daughter of Edward I, Joan of Acre, who was born in Palestine in 1272, and who married her second husband Ralph De Monthermer in this year. On the death of Sir Roger the king received the homage of his son and heir Sir Oliver, who is described as being thirty years of age at his father's death; "for the lands held by him and his father in capite, and gave him full seizin." In capite signifies in tenure of knight's service direct from the king. The armour of Sir Roger at Mawgan resembles that of Gilbert Marischal, Earl of Pembroke, in the Temple Church, London. The figure is clothed in chain mail from head to foot except the knees, which are protected. The right hand clasps the sword-hilt, while the left holds the sword-belt as if the sword had just been sheathed. The head rests on a large helmet, and the feet on a couchant lion. There were other Cornish families represented at the last Crusade, and among these was one of the Blanchminsters of Binamy, near Stratton, whose death in Palestine is somewhat humourously referred to in one of Mr. Robert Hawker's poems. It seems strange that men who were living in remote Cornwall should have felt impelled to journey across Europe to engage in a war for the possession of Palestine. Some recent eminent writers have derided the Crusades as having simply originated in popular delusion, folly, and superstition. If we put aside for the moment any consideration of the religious sentiment which undoubtedly influenced large masses of people who enthusiastically set out for the East, there exists a solid justification for the efforts which all Christendom made to meet the Saracens on that battle-ground which seemed destined to decide the relative power of the Crescent and the Cross.
Mahomet had commanded the spread of Islam over all the countries of the earth by conquest or by faith, and his followers had conquered Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica, as well as a large part of Spain, and had only been checked at Tours, in France, by Charles Martel in 732. We can very well understand how the announcement in 1095, of the refusal of the Saracens to allow the Christians to even continue their pilgrimages to the Holy City must have inflamed not only every member of the Christian Church, but also every ruler in Christendom, who considered this final act of aggression, so characteristec of Mohammedan power, as a fresh signal of that inevitable warfare between the civilization of Christianity and the power of semi-barbaric despotism, of which all Europe stood in constant and alarmed expectation.
I must apologize for this digression.
Of Sir Roger Carminow's deeds at the Crusades we know nothing. He doubtless shared in those successful engagements in which King Edward was concerned, and we may assume that he was a witness of the devotion of Queen Elinor when, as chroniclers allege, she sucked the poison from her wounded lord.
I have previously reffered to the Crusader's son, Sir Oliver Carminow, who was a Knight of the Shire in 1314, and served as Sheriff of Cornwall and as Keeper of Launceston Castle. He was possessed of many manors, and it is probable that in his time the family possessed its greatest power and wealth. He was twice married, first to Elizabeth Pomeroy, a daughter of the Cornish branch of that family.
It is stated that Henry Pomeroy, lord of the manor of Tregony, built the castle there for John, Earl of Cornwall (afterwards King John), in opposition to his brother King Richard, then beyond the seas in the Holy War. He was descended from Ralph Pomeroy, who was a companion of William the Conqueror, and who was such a favourite of William's that he received fifty-eight lordships from him, of which Tregony and Week St. Mary formed two. The Pomeroys have long been extinct. By his first wife Sir Oliver Carminow had several sons and daughters, to some of whose alliances I shall presently refer. His second wife was Isould, daughter of Sir Reginald, sometimes called Raynold de Ferrers, of the great Devonshire house of Ferrers, now extinct. By her Sir Oliver had one daughter, Margaret, who married Sir John Petyt, of Ardevora, in Philleigh, at one time a family of great note in the county, and whose allusive family motto is well known, Qui s'estime petit deviendra grande -- "Who esteems himself little will become great." Their descendants intermarried with members of the Cornish families of Godolphin, Granville, Killigrew, Tresahar, and Beville; and the Petyts had previously intermarried with Erchdekne and Trenowth, all of which families are now extinct. Sir Oliver's sister Beatrice married Sir William Ferrers of Bere Ferrers. Thus was a double link formed between the two families, and the arms of Ferrers and Carminow impaled together are still observable in Bere Ferris Church, commemorating the two marriages of five and a half centuries ago.
Sir Oliver's brother Sir John, who died in 1331, married the daughter and heiress of Sir John Glynn, in Cardinham, an ancient family which became extinct in the elder line at this period; and the family estates were added to the already great possessions of the Carminows, who at one time or another seem to have held more manors in Cornwall that any three other Cornish families, and whose sons and daughters appear to have made the best matches of their day. The Carminows must have been a handsome and fascinating race, since they were so sought after in marriage by the wealthiest and most distinguished of their neighbours. No portrait or description remains of any member of the family, male or female, but we can make the above deduction from the self-evident facts. In reference to the Glyns it is interesting to note that a younger branch of the Glyns bought back the seat of their ancestors at Glyn, but that branch also is now extinct.
Before turning to the matches of Sir Oliver Carminow's descendants by his first wife, Elizabeth Pomeroy, I propose here to refer to the ancient seat of Carminow in the parish of Mawgan-in-Menage, which was probably rebuilt by Sir Oliver. The meaning of the Cornish words "Kaer Menou" is said to be "little city," and it is observable in early references to the family that the first syllable is frequently spelt Kaer. The house was situated on rising ground bordering on the eastern branch of the celebrated Loe Pool, which branch, Hitchins says, was called Carminow Creek. Following the ground plan, as well as the description of Mr. Rogers and others, it may be described as follows: It had an open court entered by a gateway at the right-hand corner. The right side was occupied by the domestic chapel, which, Tonkin says, judging frmo the remains, must have been a magnificent edifice. Immediately in front were the kitchens, and along the left side ran the large hall, forty feet in length and lit by three windows. This entered into another apartment of about twenty feet square, which was probably a family dining room used on other than state occasions. From the latter room a stairway led to a chamber in the tower of about 15 feet square, and lit by one window looking outward to the moat, which latter still remains uneffaced. A small porter's lodge existed which overlooked the gateway, and an arched recess near the door of the lodge, always called 'the porter's chair,' served as his seat in summer. In the hall the massive stone sconces or brackets for holding lamps or candles projected like corbels from the western wall of the chamber high up on either side of the open fireplace, which latter was very large and early English in type. The house must have been a very stately and comfortable one, and although quite a century earlier in date, not unlike that fine existing Cornish mansion, Cothele Hall.
In modern times frequent use is said to have been made of the venerable walls of Carminow for storing smuggled goods. A farmhouse called Carminow now stands on the site of the hall, and is constructed from its remains.
I have now to return to those descendants of Sir Oliver whose matrimonial alliances afford interesting subjects for reference. His son Sir Roger, who lived in the reign of Edward III, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Bottreaux. The manor, honour, and borough of Bottreaux Castle -- now called Bocastle -- were amongst the numerous possessions of this ancient family, who were settled here as early as the reign of Henry II, when they held twelve knights' fees. William Bottreaux and his brother Reginald were among the rebel barons in arms against Henry III, and with the exception of Reginald, who succeeded his brother, ten successive owners of Bottreaux were all named William, which fact causes some difficulty in identifying particular members of this family. William Lord Bottreaux, the last male of the family, was killed at the battle of St. Albans, in 1461, and left an only daughter Mary, who was esteemed at that time the richest heiress who had ever lived in England. It is stated that she was possessed of one hundred manors in her own right in various counties. She married Edward, second Baron Hastings, who was summoned to Parliament in 1482 as Lord Hungerford.
The issue of Sir Roger Carminow and Elizabeth Bottreaux was Sir Thomas Carminow, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Ralph Beaupré, of an ancient Norman family, having possessions in Cornwall, but now for centuries extinct.
They had one son, named Thomas, who died in 1370, and, having married a lady named Katherine, whose surname is lost, left an only daugher, named Johanna, aged three at her father's death, who died unmarried at the age of twenty-nine. She was the heiress of the elder branch of the Carminows, and was possessed of five manors, four estates, and three advowsons. The estates were divided among her relatives by family marriages, the Arundells and Trevarthians, instead of reverting to the descendants of the previously-mentioned Sir John Carminow, who had married the daughter of Glyn, and who had left heirs, to whom the estates would have devolved if any regard had been paid to the law of primogeniture. (I regard this fact as being worth noting, as we shall again and again meet with the same treatment of landed estates in the course of this paper.) As it was, the manors of Carminow and Winnianton were taken possession of by Sir John Arundell, who held the office of king's seneschal to Richard II and Henry IV, and whose grandfather, another Sir John Arundell, had married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Oliver Carminow.
The Arundells call for some notice here, as they rank highly amongst the extinct families of Cornwall. They are termed extinct because the three Cornish families have all long passed away, and the branch represented by Lord Arundell of Wardour left the county of Cornwall in the time of King Henry VIII. Lord Arundell is, however, a direct descendant in the male line of the Cornish house. The Arundells of Lanherne were called "the great Arundells," to distinguish them from their relatives of Trerice and Tolverne. They were all descended from Roger de Arundell, who at the Domesday Survey was found possessed of twenty-eight lordships in Somerset. He was one of the Conqueror's companions. It would appear that the Arundells of Cornwall came from Yewton Arundell, in Devon, which continued to be held by the Lanherne family till 1600. It was owned by the Arundells as early as the reign of Stephen, in 1135. Although they were probably settled in Cornwall not long after their settlement in Devon, the first record of the name there is in 1260, when Sir Ralph Arundell was High Sheriff of Cornwall, which office, Hals states, was filled twenty times by members of this family, and of which he says there was no like instance in England.
Some member of this family was generally knighted at the accession of a new sovereign to the throne; but, like the Carminows, the Arundells of Lanherne were never advanced beyond the dignity of knighthood. Their relatives of Trerice obtained a peerage in 1664, but they became extinct a century later. In fact, Cornwall during the Middle Ages contributed but few members to the peerage, although the county was so very largely represented in the House of Commons. Carew observes that there were no members of the peerage living in Cornwall in his time -- the reign of Elizabeth.
The Arundells were always closely connected with the grand church of St. Columb Major, in which are many tombs and memorials of the great Arundells, and an inscription stating that John Arundell caused the chancell to be built in A.D. 1400.
Sir John Arundell, who died in 1433, would appear to be the one who inherited the Carminow estates, through his descent from his grandfather -- that Sir John who had married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Oliver Carminow -- and it is he who is said to have possessed fifty-two complete suits of cloth of gold. He gave by will one mark -- i.e. 13s. 4d. -- to the light on St. Michael's Mount. This was a fire maintained by the monks at the Mount to give warning to mariners. The old stone lantern still remains on the summit of the tower. In a previous paper I drew attention to a lighthouse having been maintained at the Lizard by Sir John Killigrew from 1619 to 1624, but here we have an instance of a light maintained in Mount's Bay two centuries earlier. The Sir John Arundell, to whose match with the hosue of Carminow I have just referred, and who then lived at Trembleth, the earliest seat of the Arundell family in Cornwall, was drowned at sea in an expedition to France, as related by Froissart. Another Arundell became Bishop of Exeter, and his brother Sir John's estates in Cornwall were valued in the reign of Henry VI in the then enormous sum of £2000 a year. Sir Thomas Arundell signalised himself by headlong valour against the Turks in Hungary, under the Emperor Rudolph II, in 1575, and founded the Wardour branch of the family. I may here mention that Sir Richard Grenville, the hero of the Revenge, also won his spurs in the warfare against the Turks, who at that time were a constant menace to the whole of the East and South of Europe. It is mentioned by an old writer that the Poles, whose kingdom was always in peril of a Turkish invasion, used always in reciting the creed to draw their swords, in proof of their steadfast intention to fight for the faith against the assailing infidel. The Arundells have ever been members of the Roman Catholic Church, and there is a tradition at Lanherne that mass has always since the Reformation been celebrated there.
Humphrey Arundell led a rebellion in the time of King Edward VI, when 10,000 Cornishmen marched to Exeter, in order to restore the Roman Catholic religion. His forces were defeated at the battle of St. Mary's Clyst, where he lost 1000 killed, besides prisoners. He was subsequently captured and hanged. His cousin Sir Thomas Arundell met a similar fate. The latter had been created a Knight of the Bath at the coronation of Ann Boleyn, and had married Margaret Howard, sister of Catherine, fifth wife of Henry VIII, who was beheaded. Arundell was also beheaded in 1552, having been charged with the Duke of Somerset of conspiring the murder of Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. The Arundells were all, save one, on the side of Charles during the Civil War, and suffered fines of £3000 on the sequestration of their estates by the Commonwealth. At Mawgan, in Lanherne Church, there are several memorial brasses to the family. A fair portion of Lanherne house still exists in good condition, and has been occupied for ninety years as a Carmelite nunnery. The old hall is used as a chapel. Carew says that the great Arundells of Lanherne enjoyed great love and respect, and exercised the frankest hospitality. It is curious to note that he speaks of the want of wood at Lanherne, which necessitated their burning heath for fuel. It is presumable that dried peat was then used, as it still is by many of the country people in that wooded spot in Cornwall; and Mr. H.S. Stokes's delightful description of it in his poem, "The Vale of Lanherne," is familiar to most persons who have read much about Cornwall.
Hales says that the last Sir John Arundell of Lanherne had one daughter, Elizabeth, who married Sir Richard Billing, and in favour of whose son he settled the Lanherne estates, on condition that he should take the name of Arundell, which he did. This is the second case which I have quoted in this paper, in which the male heir was disregarded, and which prove that there was no law of primogeniture then in force. The estate, however, is now held by the Wardour-Arundells, a member of that family having married the heiress of the Lanherne Billing-Arundells in the early part of last century. Mr. Tregelles reports that the last of the Lanherne Arundells died in Cornwall in 1766, and was Collector of Customs at Falmouth.
I now return to the second or Boconnoc branch of the Carminow family, who descended from Sir John, a younger brother of Sir Oliver Carminow, by the former's marriage with the heiress of Glyn. This Sir John died in 1331, and left a son named Walter, afterwards knighted, who was a minor when his father died, and became the ward of John Plantagenet, Earl of Cornwall. Sir Walter married Alice, daughter of Sir Stephen Tynten. He left two sons, viz., Sir Ralph, who was married, first to Katherine, daughter of Sir William Champernoun, and secondly to a lady named Alice, but died without issue, having been dragged over a cliff while coursing with a brace of greyhounds; [footnote: His will, in Latin, is given in Dunkin's Brasses.] and William, who married Margaret Kelly, daughter of Nicholas Kelly of Ladock, and who was an M.P. for Cornwall in 1407. William Carminow, who, according to C.S. Gilbert, was knighted, had two sons, one of whom intermarried with another notable and ancient Cornish family, but which was soon after extinguished in the main branch, namely, the Dinhams of Cardinham, near Bodmin. John Carminow married Alice, daughter of Sir John Dinham. The name is sometimes spelt with a "y" instead of an "i", and it was occasionally spelt Denham, and sometimes Dynan. A descendant of Sir John Dinham, also named John, was created Baron Dinham by Henry VII in 1485, and was also Lord Treasurer of England, and K.G. He had, with other members of his family, distinguished himself greatly during the Wars of the Roses on the Lancastrian side. He died in 1501, and left one son and four daughters. This son married Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Fitzwalter, and died without issue, leaving his four sisters his co-heiresses. They married as follows: Jane, to Baron Zouch, of Totnes; Joan, to Arundell, of Lanherne; Margaret, to Baron Carew, of Berkshire; and Elizabeth, to Fulke Bourchier, of Tawstock, Lord Fitzwarren. There are no remains of Cardinham Castle, but the site is still called "The Castle." Leland, writing in the time of Henry VIII, observes, "To this castle longeth many knights' services." Descendants of a younger branch of the Cornish Dinhams long resided in the neighborhood of Stratton, and are now represented by Mr. Charles Dinham, of Hampstead, London. John Carminow and Alice Dinham had one son named John, who married, but died without issue on 6th May, 1421. His wife was Johanna, widow of Stephen Bodulgate.
Before referring to Walter, the second son of Sir William Carminow and Margaret Kelly, and by whom was extended the male line of the family, I should refer to the matches made by his nieces, Johanna and Margaret Carminow. Johanna married, first, Sir Thomas Carew, from whom descended the Barons Carew; and afterwards Sir Halnothe Maleverer, of the famous Yorkshire family of that name. She is reported in an Inquisition P.M. to have been aged 15 and more at her father's death, and she was then married. Margaret married Sir Hugh Courtenay, son of Sir Hugh Courtenay, of Haccombe, in Devon. He was therefore of a Devonshire family, although three branches of the Courtenays settled in Cornwall, and resided there for many generations. Sir Hugh, after his marriage with Margaret Carminow, settled at Boconnoc, and is always referred to as of that place, which formed a portion of the inheritance which she brought him as co-heiress of the Boconnoc Carminows, although her uncle William had left male heirs. This is the third instance of this kind of descent of landed estates.
Sir Hugh Courtenay was killed at, or died shortly after, the battle of Tewkesbury, in 1471, when he fought on the side of the Lancastrians. A fine tomb, representing him and his wife, Lady Margaret, is in Ashwater Church, and their effigies are given in Rogers's Sepuchral Monuments of Devonshire. [footnote: This effigy of Margaret Carminow represents her as possessing a refined and beautiful face.] Five Courtenays in quick succession gave their lives in proof of their devotion to the Red Rose. Sir Hugh's only son Edward was restored to the Earldom of Devon by Henry VII in 1485, being the seventeenth Earl in succession to his ancestors, the Courtenays and Redverses. He died in 1509. His son William had been attainted of treason during his father's lifetime, simply because he had ventured to marry King Henry VII's sister-in-law, the Princess Katherine, seventh daughter of Edward IV. He was kept in prison until the accession of Henry VIII, who restored him to his honours and estates. He was enrolled as eighteenth Earl of Devon in May, 1509, but died in the following month, leaving his widow, the Princess, with one son named Henry, who became nineteenth Earl of Devon, and was a Knight of the Garter, and first Marquis of Exeter. It may be considered a slight divergence from the main track if I refer to his son Edward Courtenay, the second Marquis of Exeter, whowas a great-great-grandson to Sir Hugh Courtenay and Margaret Carminow. He was a great favourite of Queen Mary's, and contemporary chroniclers say that had he chosen to woo her as a true knight, he might easily have shared her throne. It is certain that just before Wyatt's insurrection, the House of Commons presented an address to Mary, expressly asking her to "marry one of her subjects," and that both Speaker and Court had the Earl of Devon in mind as much as if his name had been put into the text of the address. De Noailles, the ambassador of Henry II, records that on this occasion the Queen exclaimed, "I will never marry him, never! That I promise you, and I am a woman of my word." However, Courtenay never pressed his suit, and when the French ambassador, Renard, found that Courtenay's influence had waned, he strove to induce the Queen to take his head instead of his hand.
Courtenay was sent to the Tower, having been suspected of intriguing in Wyatt's rebellion; and of his thirty years of life only six months had been passed outside the walls of a prison, such being the penalty he had to pay for being of royal blood. The Queen's fondness for him probably procured him his freedom, but he was sent abroad on an embassy which really amounted to an exile. He died at Padua of a cold caught while "flying his hawks," in 1556, and was buried in the church of San Antonio. He left extensive domains and personal belongings, and as his property passed by entail to the Cornish families of Mohun, Arundell, Trelawney, and Trethurfe, I have noted the particulars of the rich furniture which he left in his house at Kew. In the various rooms there were about two hundred pieces of tapestry representing subjects chosen from scriptural or classical history, and several carpets of Windsor and Turkey make, and of English tapestry. Two bedsteads were hung with cloth of gold and crimson velvet, with curtains of sarcenet (a word clearly showing that this fine silk was obtained from the Saracens, and probably by them from India), and with bolsters and pillows of down. Many other beds were hung with vallances of cloth of tissue raised with purple velvet "of church work" and striped with crimson velvet, and again of blue and russet velvet striped with crimson satin embroidered with gold. Other beds were of white and blue satin, of crimson cloth of gold and cloth of silver sewed together, and all had curtains of sarcenet. The "counter poynts" or counterpanes were some of quilted crimson Turkey silk and of tawny and blue Bruges velvet, of or raised satin of tawny, green, blue and yellow lozenged patterns. There were down and feather beds. The chairs were covered with velvet of either purple, black, crimson, or green, with cloth of silver and gold. Cushions of gold and green silk, of cloth of gold and silver tissue paned with purple velvet, of needlework wrought with carnation, yellow, and green silk, of russet velvet and lined with satin, and these were also ornamented with tassels of silk and gold.
Of musical instruments there were in this household a pair of regalls -- an instrument similar to the organ -- a pair of virginalls -- the first type of the piano -- and nine vials or violins.
In the wardrobe were coats of black velvet embroidered with gold lace and of cloth of silver raised with gold and silk.
A few pictures are mentioned, but these were for church decoration. There were saddles of crimson and green velvet embroidered with silver lace, and harnesses covered with black velvet with gilt copper studs, one of black velvet embroidered with flowers "very fair," another similarly bound with white lace, and a caparison for a horse of green velvet embroidered with silver lace. At Cothele there is now a very ancient horse harness covered with crimson velvet.
I thought it might prove interesting to note this catalogue of the brilliant household belongings of a Courtenay of the Tudor period as a break to the genealogical details, and as supplying "local colour," since it is probable that the four Cornish families who inherited Courtenay's estates also acquired a similar taste for sumptuous display.
I return to the male line of the Carminows. John Carminow, son of Walter and grandson of Sir William Carminow and Margaret Kelly, made one of the luckiest marriages of the whole family, since he married, in 1492, Philippa, daughter and co-heiress of John Trenowth of Fentongollan, and with her hand received large estates and accumulated wealth, which, added to that which he had inherited from his immediate ancestors, constituted hom one of the richest Cornishmen of that age. The Trenowths becoming extinct in the male line, their estates were divided between the Carminows, St. Aubyns, and Godolphins, who had married the co-heiresses. John Carminow received the Fentongollan estate. The Trenowths had married into the families of Trejago of Crantock, from whom the Jagoes descend, and also with Tregarthian of Tregarthian, in Gorran, a family long extinct in the male line. This family is not the same as that of Trevarthian Trevarthian, in Newlyn. The last-named family had previously intermarried with Carminow, and are also now extinct. In St. Michael Penkivel Church is a brass to the memory of the previously-named John Trenowth, the last of his name, representing him clad in armour. He died at the age of seventy, on the feast of St. Gregory, March 12th, 1497. Nothing remains of the ancient mansion of Fentongollan. Hals says that by his marriage with Philippa Trenowth John Carminow became more famous for his wealth than any other person then living in Cornwall. He seems to have enjoyed a quiet life as a country squire, without any wish to obtain political power. He left six daughters and two sons. The daughters were married as follows: Eliza to John Bere of Pengelly, Elinor to Nicholas Opie of Bodmin, Philippa to P. Bevil, Katherine to Humphrey Dunsland, Isabel to John Viel, or Vyel, of Trevorder, and Jane to Humphrey Calwoodly of Helland Hall. Of these six families the names of all but Bere and Opie are, I believe, extinct. Of John Carminow's two sons the first, Nicholas, married Catherine, daughter of John Wolvedon, another Cornish family now extinct, by whom he left three daughters: viz., Elizabeth married to Richard Herle, Jane to Richard Penpons, and Philippa married to Hugh Boscawen, from whom the present Lord Falmouth is descended. She was a co-heiress with her sisters to her father's estates. Her husband was fined four marks in 1553 for not attending the coronation of Queen Mary.
The other son who carried on the male line of Fentongollan, and who was named Thomas Carminow, was a gentleman of the bedchamber to Henry VIII. He married Elizabeth Chesman, who appears to have been a stranger to Cornwall, and not an heiress; and by her he left two sons, named Nicholas and John. The latter was M.P. for Cornwall in 1553, and subsequently for West Looe and for Truro. His brother Nicholas sat for Newport, Launceston, in 1547, and was one of the earliest members for Dunheved. This John Carminow, who married Margaret, daughter of Christopher Tredinnick, left two sons and a daughter named Mary, who married William Flamank, a member of another family recently become extinct. The sons were George Carminow, who married Jane Lower, a family which, I believe, has become extinct in recent years, and Oliver, who married Mary, daughter of Peter Coryton. Oliver Carminow sat in the Parliament of 1563 for St. Mawes, and subsequently for Truro and Tregony. Of this Oliver Mr. W. P. Courtney says, in his Parliamentary History of Cornwall, that he was the head of a Cornish house of vast wealth and influence; but we have the unsatisfactory record that he wasted nearly the whole of an immense fortune, and had nothing but the dregs to leave to his daughters. He adds that the Carminows has great talents for wasting their substance. Oliver left two daughters: viz., Ann, who married W. Salter, of Dorset, and left three daughters, who married as follows -- Ann to Mr. Herich, a merchant of London; Ursula to Arthur Knight, of London; and Elizabeth to John Clayton: Margaret, second daughter of Oliver Carminow, married P. Cole, of Devon. Hals says of the before-named John, son of Thomas Carminow, that "he kept open house for all comers and goers, drinkers, minstrels, dancers, and what not, during the Christmas time, and that his usual allowance of provision for these twelve days was twelve fat bullocks, twenty Cornish bushels of wheat (i.e. fifty Winchester bushels), thirty-six sheep, with hogs, lambs, and fowls of all sorts, and drink made of wheat and oat malt proportionable, for at that time barley malt was little known or used in those parts."
With respect to the minstrels, it is probable that the harp of young squire Wydeslade was heard at Fentongollan, as Carew says that he at this time led a walking life with his harp to gentlemen's houses, wherethrough he was called Sir Tristram. He was the son of a good family seated at Tregarrick, near Polperro, but his father had been executed and his estates forfeited for his share in the rebellion under Humphrey Arundell before referred to. Sir John Maclean states the Wydeslades were hereditary esquires of the White Spur.
The daughters of Oliver Carminow sold the manor of Fentongollan in 1600, and seventy years afterwards the old mansion, with its lofty towers and fine chapel, was pulled down.
The last male of the Carminow family was William, son of Thomas Carminow, by Blanch, daughter of Thomas Hellierd of Lostwithiel -- still another extinct family -- and who was a great grandson of that Thomas Carminow who married Elizabeth Chesman. He was born in 1609, and died in 1646. He was settled at Trehannick, in St. Teath, the last remnant of all those Carminow manors and estates, which his great uncle Oliver had so largely helped to dissipate. Richard Symons, a Royalist officer, left a diary of the proceedings of King Charles's army in Cornwall, published in Lake's Parochial History, in which there is an entry referring to the above, which reads as follows: "Carminow, Esq., and ancient family, and had much possessions, now poore, lived in St. Eth; £200 per annum."
C.S. Gilbert says his house was plundered and his property dispersed during the Civil War, and speaks of his melancholy composure, and pity for the ruin of his times. He left one daughter, Blanche, married to P. Michel, Esq., of Bodmin.
In the registry at Bodmin is, "A true and perfect inventory of the proper goods of William Carminow, of St. Teath, gentleman, being not plundered in the time of the unnatural rebellion. Imprimis we prise his purse girdall, and all wearing apparell now left or can be found unplundered £5." Such is the end of the wealthiest of all the ancient families of Cornwall; but still the record, while it shows the vanity of wealth, titles, and powerful alliances, is one which Cornishmen need not be ashamed to show. A great territorial family always dwelling at home amidst its tenantry, unless engaged in the service of the State, unconcerned in the dynastic civil wars which raged from age to age, stained by no crime or treason, maintaining the proverbial hospitality of the West Country -- such a family must have largely conduced by its influence to elevate surrounding social life, and by its examples of discretion and self-restraint in times of civil distraction and lawlessness. Although the records of this family are so scanty, and only to be met with scattered here and there among a number of county histories and genealogical works, yet we know by the readiness with which alliances were formed with its members, by all those great families who for centuries were neighbours of the Carminows, that they were honoured and beloved by all who came in contact with them.
Before referring to the further notes which I have gleaned with respect to this race, I ought to add that several families still show a descent from the Carminows, either through direct marriage with females of that lineage, or through a remoter connection.
The arms of the Carminows were Azure a bend Or; and although they are generally exhibited with a label gules, Mr. Rogers has given abundant proofs that the family did not bear the label regularly, and that they were never compelled to do so. Colonel Vivian and Dr. Drake, in their preface to the Visitations of Cornwall, observe as follows: "The county of Cornwall may be considered pre-eminent in the antiquity of its family heraldry, since it was admitted in Court during the memorable Scrope and Grosvenor controversy that the same arms, Azure a bend Or, had remained in the family of Carminow from King Arthur, consequently it had been adjudged in a previous trial under the walls of Paris that Carminow should continue to bear them entire -- a fact at variance with the popular belief that a label was assigned to the Cornish family for difference." I may add that even the great Camden is caught tripping in this matter, as in his Britannia he states that Scrope and Carminow were in dispute as to their arms, whereas it was Scrope and Grosvenor; and the Carminow claim was simply mentioned, and not brought into contention. Mr. Jewers has described this trial, which was partly heard at Plymouth in 1385, in his lecture before this Institution in January, 1883.
Judgment was given by the king in person in favour of Scrope, whose arms were precisely the same as Carminow. Grosvenor was commanded to bear the label with a borer Argent as a difference, but afterwards the King ordained taht they should bear a garb or wheatsheaf, because the border is a difference for those of the same blood, and consequently the Duke of Westminster to-day bears simply the wheatsheaf, as the result of this trial of five hundred years ago. John of Gaunt and the poet Chaucer gave evidence at the trial, and the depositions were taken in part at the house of the Friars Carmelites at Plymouth. John of Gaunt was then at Plymouth preparing an expedition to Spain to recover the kingdoms of Castile and Leon, which he claimed in the right of his second wife Constance. He deposed as follows on June 16th, 1386, as translated by Sir Harris Nicholas from the Norman-French roll: "We say and testify that at the last expedition in France of our most dread lord and father, on whom God have mercy, a controversy arose concerning the said arms between Sir Richard le Scrope aforesaid and one called Carminow of Cornwall, which Carminow challenged these arms of the said Sir Richard, the which dispute was referred to six knights, now as I think dead, who upon true evidence found the said Carminow to be descended from lineage armed Azure a bend Or, since the time of King Arthur; and they found that the said Sir Richard was descended of a right line of ancestry armed with the same Azure a bend Or, since the time of King William the Conqueror, and so it was adjudged that both might bear the arms entire."
It is a very curious fact that nearly every heraldic writer who has referred to the above trial has mistaken the judgment given against Grosvenor's claim to have applied to Carminow's also, and then to have jumped at the conclusion that the label which we frequently meet with on the Carminow shields was compulsorily borne by them.
In Budock Church, on the Killigrew brass of 1567, the arms of Carminow are inscribed with the label; but they are found without this disputed bearing on Edward Arundell's brass in Lanherne Church of about 1586. Another shield at Lanherne has the Carminow arms without the label, and bearing a mullet instead as a difference. In Lanteglos Church, on the Grenville pew, are a series of shields, containing in all 150 quarterings, in one of which the Carminow arms are given with the label. As previously mentioned in my reference to the Ferrerses, the Carminow arms are also in Beer Ferris Church, and here they are found both with and without this mark of difference.
Mr. J. Jope Rogers proves conclusively by seals of deeds preserved at Penrose that the Carminow branch used the arms with the label as the usual heraldic difference for the eldest son, and that the younger or Fentongollan branch never used it except for that purpose. A portrait of Sir Thomas Arundell of Wardour, inscribed "1580 aetatis suae 20," gives his arms quartering Carminow, the latter being without any mark of difference. This matter being a great crux to heraldic authorities is my excuse for referring to it at length.
The crest of the Carminows was a Dolphin embowed, and their motto the ancient Cornish words, "Cala raggi wethlowe" -- "A straw for a talebearer."
In Lanhydrock Church is a tablet to the memory of George and Jane Carminow, who died in 1559 and 1609 respectively, with an inscription to their memory which begins with the following quaint play upon words: "The care of mine I owe to Carminow." Are we to assume that the name was anciently pronounced Care-mine-owe?
There is a brass to the memory of Sir Ralph Carminow in Menheniot Church, which bears a single black letter inscription, and which, having been placed there in about 1386, is the oldest brass in Cornwall. In it he is wrongly styled Lord as well as Knight. It runs, "Orate pro anima domini Radulphi Carmynow militis euius anime propicietur deus. Amen." This is he who lost his life while hunting, having been dragged over the cliff by his greyhounds. Mr. C.S. Gilbert expresses a doubt as to his having been killed while hunting, because he was very old when he died.
Robert Trevanion married a daughter of the house of Carminow. This family was descended from one Sir John Trevanion, who was at Carhayes six generations before the reign of Edward IV, and which, reckoning three descents to a century, would place his date at about 1260. They acquired the manor of Carhayes by the marriage with an heiress of Arundell, and the family became extinct throught the death of William Trevanion, M.P. for Tregony in 1767. One of the sisters of this gentleman married Admiral Byron, grandfather of Lord Byron, the poet. Admiral Byron resided a good deal at Plymouth, and two of his children are buried in St. Andrew's Church. The grandson of Frances, another sister by her marriage with Dr. John Bettesworth, assumed the name of Trevanion in 1801. The Trevanions intermarried with many Cornish families who are now extinct, such as the family of Erchdekne of Ruanlanihorne, who once possessed an extensive and formidable castle there, with Petit of Ardevora, Arundell of Trembleth -- the original stock of the Cornish Arundells -- and also with Arundell of Carhayes, Mohun, Chamont, Killiowe, Roscarrack, Trevars, and Wichalse, all of which families have long ceased to exist, and have not previously been referred to by me.
I will conclude with a quotation from Carew, as to the character of the Cornish people of his time. He says, "They keep liberal but not costly builded or furnished houses, give kind entertainment to strangers, make even at the year's end with the profits of their living, are reverenced and beloved of their neighbours, live void of factions among themselves (at least-wise such as break out to any dangerous excess), and delight not in bravery of apparel, yet the women would be very loth to come behind the fashion in new fangledness of manner. They converse familiarly together, and often visit one another."
Believing as I do, that this worthy Elizabethan writer has not overlauded the character of the old Cornish people, I thought the time I have given was not ill spent in collecting these somewhat fragmentary memorials of a great ancient Cornish family and its alliances, who have all passed away "to where beyond these voices there is peace."
I must express my obligations to the Rev. Dr. Lemon, and Mr. Whitmarsh of the Plymouth Proprietary Library, for the loan of rare genealogical works which I have been glad to consult in preparing this paper.
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