Medieval Bendings - Sir Robert Bendyn, the King's Admiral

My curiosity about Robert Bendyn has led me to put together this account from references in the volumes in the Rolls series. His name appears in 1298 (Close Roll, 24/2/1298), Fulham. Edw.I. when he represented Eleanor, daughter of William de Mohun, in chancery proceedings to rectify the previous action of Malcolm de Harleye "escheator this side of the Trent" who had divided between John de Carreu and John de Meriet the estates in England and Ireland of William de Mohun who had died. The king agreed it was contrary to the custom of the realm to do this in the absence and without the assent of either Eleanor or Mary, co-heiresses of their father, and the wives of Carreu and Meriet. Other entries connect Bendyn with the Carreu family for in the Diocesan Registers of Bishop Stapledon Robert was joint executor with the Reverend William de Carru (of Holsworthy) of the will of Nicholas de Carru.

In 1318 (Patent Roll, 20/5/1318, Westminster. Edw.II.) protection was given without clause for Thomas Carreu going to Ireland...."Robert Bendyn has like letters as the same make". In the same year (Hylle Cartulary, Manor of Halton, 2/8/1318, Launceveton, the morrow of St. Peter ad Vincula. 12 Edward II) a charter of Richard Trenage granted to Robert Bendyn and Joan his wife, their heirs and assigns, "an abutment on his land at Holwode to complete a pond for their mill at Pyllaton on the river Lynher as at shall best seem to them, between the wood of Stephen de Hacoumbe on the north side and the wood of the heirs of Geoffrey de Erth." They could also carry timber, dig turves, build and repair the pond and were to render 6d in silver at Michaelmas for all services. There is a sequel for presumably while Robert was absent and "in the King's Protection", Stephen de Hacoumbe with others broke down the weir, carried away the timber and when Robert complained to the commissioners (Patent Roll, 3/3/1318, Westminster. Edw.II.) of oyer and terminer Stephen was fined 20s.

Robert Bendyn first appears in 1290 as "the king's admiral" at Dartmouth (Inquisition Calendar, 1290, Monday 3rd week in Lent, 18 Edw.I.) in the third week of Lent. He enquired into the activities of Richard Stodel, master of the ship Clement Turtle, who, with Henry de Tyw of Bristol and many others, was accused of robbing the ship St. Domenic of Placentia and its master Peter Martyn on the high seas of two pipes of white wine and other goods to the value of 40. English Officers of State records that the first admiral appointed by an English king under that title was in March 1295. The list gives Robert Bendyn, knt., Admiral of the Western Fleet in 1324 (against Scotland).

In September of that year (Close Roll, 28/9/1324 Edw.II.) King Edward II ordered Robert "admiral of certain ships" to set out in the King's service to the Duchy of Aquitaine. His enterprise must have succeeded (Close Roll, 12/10/1325, Westminster Edw II.) for the king was referring to him as "admiral from the mouth of the Thames to the Western parts, both of the Cinque ports and the other ports". The king was to receive one quarter of all the goods and chattels they acquired or won lawfully and honestly on the sea towards the duchy of Aquitaine; the other three parts to remain in the possession of the masters and mariners who were lately with the king at Portsmouth. This arrangement did not please the treasurer and barons of the exchequer who caused Sir Robert to be charged with the three quarters as well as the king's share and they committed Bendyn to the Flete prison because "he did not answer to the king for the said three parts." The king "being unwilling to charge or aggrieve Robert unduly " ordered the barons to release Robert and to find the true value of the goods and chattels, to only charge Robert with a quarter thereof and also to make "due allowance on his account of the said fourth for the moneys that he can shew before them that he paid to the aforesaid masters and mariners for their wages, provided that if Robert received any gold, silver or other goods and chattels that are not contained in the sum total......he shall be charged therewith at the exchequer.

It is recorded in the Issue Roll for Easter 17 Edward II that on 10 August 1324 the king paid 10 to Master Robert Bendyn, captain and admiral of the King's Fleet of all the ships proceeding from the mouth of the River Thames westward, in the King's service, by the lands of Thomas de Hormynton, his valet, for the expenses of the same Robert, going in the King's service aforeaid, by writ of the Great Seal, dated at Haule, 8th August anno 13.

In December 1325 (Close Roll, 12/12/1325, the Tower. Edw. II.) the king authorised the wages of ten men-at-arms retained by Robert since August at the king's wage during the late disturbance between the king and the king of France.


In January 1327/8 (Calendar of Memoranda Rolls Exchequer, 19/1/1327, Hilary Term) Robert Bendyn and Richard Hewych, knights and John Cheynduyt, all of Cornwall sent 50 jointly (in solidum) to queen Isabel (of France, wife of Edward II) of the coinage (cunagium) of tin in the county. Presumably Robert was supporting Isabella who was overthrowing her husband in favour of her son. In the same year (Patent Roll 2/10/1327 Not(t)ingham Edw. III.) Edward III nominated Robert with another to be Commissioner of the Peace for the County of Devon "pursuant to the state of Winchester". He had obviously chosen the right side earlier in the year.

As well as having lands in Devon, Robert had lands and chattels elsewhere (Close Roll 2/4/1323, Westminster. 16 Edw. II.) for he acknowledged a debt to Margaret, late wife of Fulk son of Warin and Mabel her daughter, in the sum of 200 marks, to be levied in default of payment, of the lands and chattels in counties of Worcester and Oxford. In 1331 (Inquisition 26th November, 4 Edw.III.) amongst a list of properties of John de Mohun or Mohoun the manor of Boclone, Comptone and Hoo was shewn as having been held (by the late) Robert Bendyn by service of two knights' fees. Robert's death in 1328 led to claims to the property of Compton Giffard and Eggsbuckland despite the acknowledgement by John Giffard (Cornwall Feet of Fines 6/5/1324, Entry 1120.) of the manor of Compton Giffard to be the right of Robert and Joan Bendyn "which he gave up at court and he, John and Eva received 100 marks in silver". Moreover John undertook for himself and his heirs that they would warrant the Manor to Robert and Joan and the heirs of Robert against all men for ever. "For ever" did not last long for in 1332 (Ancient Petitions file, 28/4/1325 5 Edw.III.) Edward, son of John and Eva, was suing Joan Bendyn (deceased) the wife of Robert for the two manors. After a number of hearings a writ of Inquisition (Writ of Inquisition 8th Oct. 5 Edw.III and 3rd February, 6 Edw.III.) confirmed Robert and Joan's daughter Margery, wife of Roger de Wytelegh to the manor. It had been in the possession of Guy de Bocland's family since 1166 when it was part of the "Honour of Totnes". Through the descent of his son, Alan de Bocland, Isabel Giffard, and her son Osbert who enfoeffed his brother or his son John with Egg Buckland and Compton Giffard it had passed out of the family. Although it seemed likely (Misc. Genealogica et Heraldica, Vol. 5.) that Joan Bendyn was the daughter of John Giffard who held the manor in 1284 Joan was in fact, the daughter of John Halton. Joan Halton, daughter of John, had inherited the manor of Halton Hylle Cartulary, (Cornwall Feet of Fines and V.C.H. Berkshire.) there being no male issue. Joan first married Sir Roger Inkpen o Berkshire and they had a son, Nicholas. When widowed Joan then married Sir Robert Bendyn and they had a daughter, Margery.

The manor of Halton with Pillaton (Calendar of Inquisitions, 14/9/1331, Exeter 5 Edw.III.) consisted of four knights' fees of the fee of Mortain held of the king in chief as the Honour of the castle of Treymyngton (Trematon) and the service involved doing suit at the court of the same castle every three weeks. It included the advowson of a church, two corn mills and a fulling mill at Pilaton; seven and a half Cornish acres at Trewynt and similar mills and four acres Cornish at St. Ives (East Cornwall).

Fuller and different versions appear elsewhere and in the Inquisition of 1331 (Cornwall Inquisition, Wednesday befre the Exaltation of the Holy Cross 5 Edw.III. (1331).) There is a leat at Pillaton today although the site of the mill has a modern house on it. Nearby Mr Dennis Bullock, the potter, has a mill stone at the entrance to his property. The church to which Robert presented Master Thomas Perys or Pers in August 1316 is still there. Bishop Bronescombe, Bishop of Exeter, rode to Pillaton from the Priory of St. Germans and dedicated St. Odulphs on 16th October, 1259. Despite fifteenth century remodelling the wagon roofs in the north aisle, south transept and south porch are said to be medieval. Thomas Perys promptly applied for licence of non-residence to study!

Robert and Joan's daughter Margery married at seven years of age in 1321 and presumably the name Bendyn lapsed. Whether he connected with the Hampshire Bendenges or the judge in The DNB., William Bendinges, remains to be discovered.

Arthur Bending

to next page