John Frank TAILLEFER de Borlas
(-Bef 1397)
Desiderata DE TREVYSEK
(Abt 1320-Bef 1395)
(Abt 1358-1413)


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  • Born: Abt 1358, St. Wenn, Cornwall
  • Died: 1413

  General Notes:

Compiler's 18 x great grandfather

  Research Notes:

Son and heir, born in or about the year 1358, as we learn from an Inquisition taken at Bodmin on the Monday before the Feast of St. Michael in the 4th year of Henry V. (1403), where the aforesaid Andrew being then of the age fo 45 and upwards, states that he remembers John Lanhergy being baptised at Bodmin, because he was present on that occasion, namely, on the 8th of February 1391. 1

Inherited Burlas from his cousin Alice, daughter of his father's brother Andrew. 1


19 Jul 1383, Westminster

To John Kentwode steward of Cornwall and to the sheriff of Cornwall lately appointed to arrest John Rensy, indicted him before John Roche admiral of the fleet to the westward for certain treasons and other misdeeds, and to bring him before the king. Writ of supersedeas, by mainprise of John Penrose, Richard Glyvyan, Andrew Borlas, John Trevoses and Alexander Tregylyov of Cornwall, in favour of the said John Rensy...

Calendar of Close Rolls, 7 Ric. II, pp. 384-385


30 Jun 1385, Westminster

Protection with clause volumus for one year for John Penros, chief justice for pleas following the justiciary of the king in Ireland, going thither on the king's service.

The said John has letters nominating John Kosker and Andrew Borlas his attorneys in all courts in England for one year. John de Waltham received the attorneys.

Calendar of Patent Rolls, Ric. II, vol. 3, pp. 8-9


4 May 1387, Westminster

Michael Enys, for not appearing to answer Andrew Borlas touching a debt of 16 marks.

Calendar of Patent Rolls, Ric. II, vol. 3, p. 293


30 Jan 1388, Westminster

To the sheriff of Surrey. Writ of supersedeas omnino, by mainprise of Andrew Borlas, Michael Tregadelos, Thomas Tregora and Peter Tregolas of Cornwall, in favour of Philip Smith of Bagshet at suit of Andrew Deghere of Bagshet averring threats.

Calendar of Close Rolls, 11 Ric. II, p. 466


M.P. for Truro 18 Rich. II [1394/5]


1 May 1396, Westminster

Commitment to Michael Trewynhelek, by mainprise of Peter Dongy, Peter Tregollas, Richard Stabba of Trevihan, Andrew Borlas and John Trevebyn of the county of Cornwall, of the keeping of a carucate of land and a watermill in Trewynhelek which for certain causes were taken into the king's hand by James Chuddelegh, late escheator in the said county, to hold the same, together with the issues from the time of the said taking, until it be decided in the king's court whether the premises ought by right to pertain to the king or to him ; provided that he answer at the Exchequer for the aforesaid issues and all other issues of the premises, if it be adjudged that such issues ought to pertain to the king, and also keep the premises without waste and de- struction, and do and support the real services and all other charges incumbent thereon. By bill of the treasurer.

Calendar of Fine Rolls, 22 Ric. II, p. 171


In 1397, and for several years afterwards, Andrew Borlas was subjected to the vexatious and tyrannical proceedings... in the matter of the title of his grandfather, John Frank Taillefer, to the estate of Borlas Frank. One glance at the condition of England at this time will suffice to show that much credit is due to him for the persistent and courageous manner in which, as an individual standing out against the king, he fought his case to a successful issue. The bright expectations with which the opening years of Richard the Second's reign had been ushered in, had by this time (1397) been completely blighted. The patience of the Commons had been utterly exhausted by the unconstitutional practices introduced under Royal authority, and the dissatisfaction of the people, stimulated by forced loans, had reached its climax. In order that fines might flow into the Royal coffers, whole districts had been denied the protection of the law. Justice had been tampered with to serve the king's purposes. Titles to property were challenged by the escheators of the Crown in order that warrants of permission to hold the lands in security might be purchased; and pardons for trumped up offences were bought and sold. Some few persons, as we may suppose, who could afford to do so, in order to save their lands, were bold enough to resist the temptation to suffer robbery for the sake of compromise, and carrying their grievances into court, appealed to "their country," as an appeal to the verdict of a jury was called. Andrew adopted this course, and after repeated delays and postponements, a Jury was empanelled at Launceston, consisting of those who, residing in the district, might reasonably be supposed to know the truth of the matter.... His family was proved by evidence... to have held the estate a tempore quo non exstat memoria until the end of the 13th century, and a title to it was established which continued it in the family for three centuries following. 2


UKNA Reference: SC 8/254/12661

Description: Petitioners: John Colard of Saltash.
Name(s): Colard, John
Addressees: Chancellor
Nature of request: Colard requests remedy as Borlas is bound to him in a statute merchant but on the day assigned for payment refused to pay him, and still does not wish to pay him.
Nature of endorsement: [None].
Places mentioned: Saltash, Cornwall; Cornwall; Westminster.
People mentioned: Andrew Borlas of Cornwall.
Note: The petition is dated to c. 1397 on the basis of the dating of the making of the statute merchant contained in the petition, 6 November 21 Ric. II.


15 Jul 1401, Westminster

Protection with clause volumus, for one year, for Andrew Borlas alias Burlas, going on the king's service to Ireland in the company of the king's son Thomas de Lancastre, lieutenant of Ireland, on the safe custody of those parts.

Calendar of Patent Rolls, Hen. IV, vol. 1, p. 511


There is more than one reason for supposing that Andrew Borlas was a merchant engaged in trade in the seaport towns of Cornwall and elsewhere. He had property both in Fowey and Penryn. In 1408 he, with his wife Amicia . . . . , remit and quitclaim to John Cadevan of Fowy, "taillour," a plot of ground in that town; and in the next year we find him complainant in a case in which he contends that Alianora, the wife of Thomas Methle, and Thomas Lusy and Joan his wife, unjustly disseised him of his property in Penryn. 3



The home of the Borlase family, some 15 miles from Truro, was long known as Borlase ‘Frank Taillefer’ after the first members of the family to settle in Cornwall. The Taillefers came from Angouleme and owed their lands in England to a grant made by William Rufus. In Richard II’s reign, after the death of John Frank Taillefer, Andrew’s grandfather, it was alleged that, as an alien, he had acquired his property unlawfully, and in 1397 it escheated to the Crown and was farmed out at the Exchequer. A year later Andrew managed to secure temporary possession pending a decision in the King’s bench as to whether or not the lands ought to pertain to the Crown, and in November 1399 Henry of Monmouth, prince of Wales and duke of Cornwall, renewed the grant. But the question of the nationality of Borlase’s ancestors and their legal right to own land in England continued to be debated. It was always Borlase’s contention (and one which is supported by other evidence) that his ancestor, William Frank Taillefer, who had been born in Cornwall, had died possessed of the vill of Borlase Frank in the late 13th century, and that he himself stemmed from a line of true liegemen of the kings of England. Andrew had become heir to the family property only after the deaths of his cousin Alice (who was the last to use the name Taillefer) and his father Noel, both of whom had died before his election to the Parliament of 1395. From his mother he inherited land in ‘Trevysek’ near ‘Pencarowe’ and by marriage he acquired property in Penryn and Fowey.

In the defence of his rights against the Crown in a prolonged lawsuit, Borlase put to good use several years’ personal experience of litigation. Since 1380 he had appeared on many occasions in the courts at Westminster as an attorney speaking on behalf of litigants from Cornwall and Devon. He was fortunate that an early attachment to the faction formed by John Trevarthian* and John Penrose of Escalls (whose crimes both before and after the latter’s appointment as a judge in the King’s bench earned them notoriety) did not do irreparable harm to his career, for it led to his participation in at least one indictable offence. In 1383 a long-standing feud between the Trevarthians and the Eyr family came to a head when Richard Eyr was found murdered in Surrey. Borlase was indicted with Penrose and the two John Trevarthians before the justices of oyer and terminer for his part in the crime, but he refused to surrender to justice and continued to evade arrest as late as March 1384. Somehow he managed to clear his name, and in January 1385, when Penrose was appointed chief justice of the King’s bench in Ireland, he agreed to act as his attorney during his absence overseas. It would seem, however, that Borlase dissociated himself from the judge before a rekindling of the feud with the Eyrs led to further excesses. Nor is he known to have had dealings with the Trevarthians after 1389; indeed, he even sued one of their followers for debt.

Much evidence survives of Borlase’s activities as a lawyer in the 1390s and the first decade of the 15th century. On one occasion, for example, he acted on behalf of John Tregoose when the latter was engaged in his suit against Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick. Nor was it unusual for him to be in court for litigation arising from his own personal mishaps: there was a burglary on his property at ‘Tregenethe’, his crops were laid waste at Tregarne, one of his servants was assaulted, and he had to take legal action against his debtors. A more important suit in the King’s bench lasted for several years, in the course of which it was alleged by John Colard of Saltash, a servant of Bishop Henry Beaufort, that Borlase should pay £100 under the terms of a bond, sealed in 1397, for the unhampered arbitration of Colard’s dispute with a third party. Borlase may well have been absent from the courts for a few months in 1401, however, for he then took out royal letters of protection as accompanying the lieutenant of Ireland, Thomas of Lancaster, to the province, and in September 1407 he was at home in Cornwall attending the shire elections held at Grampound.

Borlase died before Michaelmas 1413, and in that year or early in the next his widow married John Botreaux of ‘Botreaux-Mesek’. His heir was his son Mark (MP for Helston in 1433), and the Andrew Borlase who settled his descendants at Borlase ‘Burgess’ was probably another son of his. 4

  Marriage Information:

Andrew married Amicia. (Amicia died on an unknown date.)


1 History of the Family of Borlase, in The Genealogist, Walford D. Selby (ed.), Vol. II, p. 130.

2 History of the Family of Borlase..., p. 131.

3 History of the Family of Borlase..., p. 132.

4 The History of Parliament: British Political, Social & Local History, Andrew Borlase (Burlas) of Borlase 'Frank' in St. Wenn, Cornw.

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