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John Le Petit

Twenty-first Generation John le Petit, knight


John Le Petit married Alice
John Le Petit married Laure
Michael Petit
Sir John Petyt married Isabella Heegan

        John le Petit married Laure and extended the Petit patrimony greatly through this marriage. By 1302, he already married Laure, the father of his son John Petyt, and he already had two older daughters, Amicia and Joanna. It would appear that John le Petit had married twice, although little is known as to the identity of his first wife.

       John Le Petit was the son of another John Le Petit and Alice. John probably had a brother Michael Petit who was very active in the early fourteenth century. In two cases in 1289 John le Petit, knight, and Michael le Petit of Treverth in Cornwall settled the ownership of various estates in Cornwall [1] . It would appear that John, or his father gave these lands to Michael and the Fine registered the transfers of lands. All the lands were to be held only for the duration of Johns life and would revert to Michael and his heirs on John’s death. It is highly probable that this represents a transfer of lands from father to son, probably a younger son. John le Petit was to hold fifty acres and one messuage in Trenearth in Gwinear by Drannack for a rent of 1d, and additional lands with two mills for a rent of ten shillings and a clove of a gillyflower, both rents were payable to Michael at the feast of St Michael. In both these fines, a Eudo le Petit ‘also puts in his claim’ which may mean that he was also related to John and Michael Petit. This Eudo, may have been a brother of John le Petit, the younger and Michael, or an uncle.

This Michael Petyt married a daughter of Lord Bonville [2] . He held lands worth at least twenty pounds in 1297 in return for military service with horses and arms beyond the seas. As he was already old enough to muster troops in 1297, he must have been at least twenty years old at that time. He certainly held lands in 1313 in Little and Great Bossulow in Madron, and these may have been the manors worth twenty pounds in 1297. [3] . Michael was also a Member of Parliament and called as a knight of the shire for Cornwall in 1301 in the reign of Edward I, and in 1314 in the reign of Edward II [4] . In 1311, Michael also supervised the array of knights mustered in Cornwall and was a leader of the Kings levies [5] . He probably also fought in the Scottish wars of Edward II.

 However, this did not mean that Michael was totally law abiding. In 1310 a ‘Michael le Petit imprisoned the King’s coroner, William Poer, at la Val on the Isles of Scilly and extracted a ransom of one hundred shillings from William [6] . A year later in 1311 he was involved with James Trevantros and Reginald de Kervyok, in kidnapping William de Rostowek at Lostwy [7] . Apparently, William de Rostourek had been responsible for the death of Joan le Eyr a widow of Trewoelesyk. The kidnapping could be seen as an action of a group of vigilantes taking the law into their own hands. Having been reprimanded by the King, apparently Michael again committed the same kidnapping this time with the help of John de Beauchamp of Benner in 1314 over three years later. It is uncertain whether Michael was punished for this heinous crime. These lesser gentry of Cornwall were enforcers of the Kings peace and if unruly were difficult to keep in their place.

       By 1315, it appears that Michael had cleaned up his act and become a law-abiding citizen as he was commissioned as a justice of the peace to investigate a kidnapping undertaken by one Walter de Carnsuyou and two others. A Thomas l’Ercedekne, son of Thomas was seized at St Uny near Redruth and taken to Penren and imprisoned. This is a case of poacher turned gamekeeper!  Michael le Petit certainly had connections with Yorkshire. In 1324 Michael was a witness to a transfer of lands in Cawton, near Hemsley, in Yorkshire [8] . A Ranulph de Albo Monasterio, knight transferred ‘all lands and tenements in Caluetone in Ryedale, and Sourby by Thrysc at an annual rent of a clove at Michealmass’ to his son and heir Gaudin and his bride Alice daughter of John de Sancto Philiberto. This was a transfer of lands on the event of the marriage of Gaudin de Albo Monasterio and Alice de Sancto Philiberto. Michael may have been part of the retinue of Sir John de Sancto Philiberto, as he had connections with Cornwall. Indeed a Hugh de Sancto Philiberto was one of the knights of Edmund Earl of Cornwall [9] . Moreover a Baldwin Tyas a constable of Skipton Castle in 1317 during the reign of Edward I [10] . The Tyas family were also retainers of the Earls of Cornwall, and held estates in Cornwall of the Earls [11] . A Franco Tyas was summoned to parliament at Berwick, and was given free warren at Lede, Wodchuse and Farnley in 1278 [12] . As the Petyt family held lands in Farnley in the 1500s there may be an association between these two families. In 1310, the honour of Skipton had been granted to the Clifford family, but during 1307-10 Skipton had also been held by Piers Gaveston, Earl of Cornwall, favourite of Edward II.

       This association with the Earls of Cornwall may have involved members of Michael and John’s family in the baronial revolt against the king Edward II in 1321. Edward II had made his favourite Despenser an Earl of Cornwall. In 1321 many barons, led by Thomas Duke of Lancaster revolted against the king and were finally defeated at the Battle of Boroughbridge. Henry le Tyeys testified on 20 August that an Alan Petyt had been a follower of Dammory who fought against the king, and Roger de Mortimore of Wygnore testified that a Thomas le Petit also fought against the King [13] . Henry le Tyeys lost his life for his revolt against the King and was drawn and hanged on 3 April 1322 [14] . These knights were eventually pardoned for their offences, but it is certain that their actions would not have helped to gain the favour of the King. They would probably have forfeited lands to the King temporarily, and may have regained them under Edward II’s son Edward III who finally took the throne from his father’s wife and her lover in 1327.


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[1] See Cornish Feet of Fines 1289, 20 January and 25 June. Michael’s rights were recognized to 1 messuage, 3 acres in Trenearth in Gwiner by Drannack to hold of the chief lord. He therefore gave John Petit 1 messuage and fifty acres for a rent of 1d. Michaels rights by a gift of John were recognized in 4 messuages, 2 mills, 4 acres of land, and sixteen shillings of rent in Cannarth in Mawgan-in-Meneage, Tregwidden in Mullion, Claher Garden in Mullion, Cury, Kelly Trenance le Vean, St.Erth, Tregiddle and Halligey in Mawgan-in-Meneage.

[2] See Lake.

[3] See Cornish Feet of Fines.

[4] Lake.

[5] Assizes 4 ED II.

[6] Calendar Rolls.

[7] Calendar  Rolls.

[8] See Yorkshire Deeds Vol. 34, 1907 published by WYAS.

[9] See Ministers Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall, 1296-1297, Vol.1, Ed. By L. Margaret Midgley, RHS, 1942, pp.xxxiii.

[10] See Dawson, History p. 72. Dawson states that Baldwin was given eleven shillings and six pence by Bolton Abbey for his aid during the Scottish raid of 1317.

[11] See Clay, peerage, Vol 12 p.101.

[12] See Edmund Bogg, The Old Kingdom of Elmet, p. 170-2. A Walter le Tyes died in the 18 year of Edward II and his niece Margaret was his heiress. There are brasses to their memory in Lede church. The family held Lede Hall.

[13] Patent Rolls

[14] See Clay, as above.


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