The 1522 Military Survey & Loan
for the Cornish Parish of St Stithians
From "The Cornwall Military Survey of 1522", edited by T.L. Sloate
The Bookshop - Bernard D. Welchman
During the reign of Henry VIII, his Chancelor, Cardinal Wolsey devised a rather underhanded method of raising funds to pay for his master's military adventures. Under the guise of a military muster the commissioners were to summon all males over the age of 16, determine what weapons and armour each possessed and then compel them, under oath, to divulge their total worth in goods; household furnishings, livestock, loans, debts etc.. Landholders, were to give an account of all land they held in each parish. No reasons were given for this evaluation of their material possessions, but once compiled the record became a basis for demanding a "loan" from those capable of paying. Of course, the loan was never paid back.
The result is a partial listing of the male residents of Stithians along with their relative worth in lands and goods. I say a partial listing because many of the recorded landholders did not reside in the parish and if the man wasn't worth at least £2 in goods, or wasn't extremely poor, he wasn't recorded.
The record is divided into 4 parts; 1) the assessment made on the spiritual members of the community, 2) the landholders, 3) the value of goods and what military equipment the men possessed, 4) the value upon which the loan was assessed.
If the landholder is not on the goods list he didn't reside in the parish. Only 5 landholders did so and are indicated by an asterik * in the notes and armour columns. An "armiger" was someone holding a rank of esquire and would lay claim to a coat-of-arms. A jack and a brigandine were similar; body armour made of leather or cloth with steel plates. A brigandine was riveted whereas a jack was sewn. A sallet was a steel helmet with a brim. A bill was sort of a broad axe on a long pole, with or without a pike (spear point) on the end.
Jack Sallets Brigandine Bill
In many parts of Cornwall during this period surnames were not stable. At least 20 of the 35 individual names on the value of goods list are derived from farms and hamlets within the boundry of the Parish. A few, such as Penhalurick, would become and probably was hereditary, but most would disappear with time.
At least one man may have been identified by his occupation. William Engove was probably an angove - cornish for blacksmith. Others were given, or took the names of their fathers. An example being William John who appears on the value of goods list bracketed with his probable father, John Treskuwys. Again, we have no certainty that William John passed on this name and the same can be said for John Stephyn, Ralph Hervy, John Benet and others.
The value of the spiritual possessions in the said parish.
The Abbot and Convent of Regal Loco (Rewley Abbey) juxta Oxford... are worth £10.
Warin Penhaluryk, clerk vicar....is worth £10
Baldwin John, chaplain curate... is worth in stipend,£6 and in goods, £10.
1 - bow & arrows, 2 - bill, 4 - jack, 5- sallet, 7- brigandine