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Medieval England: Kendale

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Currently working on John Kendale



Kendale (Also Kendall, Kendal, Kendell) is a common name in Medieval England. It is often not possible to easily see how families with this name might be linked so this page is a space to lay out the options and hopefully make some connections or at least leave some breadcrumbs for others to follow or add to.

Although Wikipedia and others frequently use 'Kendall' or ‘Kendal', older documents more often use the form 'Kendale' which is also how, for example John Kendale the secretary writes his own name. Earlier versions have ‘de Kendale’.

In Service of Royalty

This section started with the notion of developing John Kendale, secretary to Richard III However digging deeper revealed more layers of Royal service.

It seems logical to assume that John came from Kendal or Westmorland at least (As claimed in a number of ancestry sites) but there are absolutely no sources for this. Furthermore a search for Kendale and variations in this area revealed no real family background from which someone like John could have initiated his quite heady career.
There was Adam de Kendal, Prior of Holmcultram Abbey 1215–23; of whom the legend is told, in Fordun's Scotichronicon, that he spent the money of the abbey in bribes to get himself elected bishop of Carlisle[1] But the dates aren’t even close and it’s 50 miles from Kendal, though a monastic background might be interesting as monks were often used as clerks.

Working on the basis that these kind of jobs can run in families, it is interesting to discover that the Kendale family rose from obscurity in the reign of Edward I and II to occupy a number of high positions in the Royal retinue.

Barons and Knights

Baron Robert de Kendale had property when he was young and became a knight, so clearly he was of noble or aristocratic stock. He became warden of the Cinque Ports, and constable of Dover Castle. His father was Jordan de Kendale who owned property in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, so any links back to Westmorland are lost further back in time in this branch.

Edward de Kendale was son of Robert de Kendale. He was associated with the Normandy campaign and at Crécy . This Edward was of the retinue of Hugh le Despencer. Edward had two sons who both died without issue and a daughter Beatrice who married Robert Turk, the end of this particular Kendale line.

A pedigree of part of the family in the visitations of Sussex, shows the Waley and Morley connections.[2]

King Edward I and Eleanor

Hugh de Kendale, keeper of the kings seal and his brother Peter de Kendale cook to the Kings wife Eleanor are possibly a branch of the same family. They would be the right age to be Jordan’s brothers. No evidence of this can be found, direct or indirect. Peter has Westmorland roots and complained in 1281 that William de Karliol had pulled down his house at Heversham and took away the timber. [3] Perhaps he was the last brother to leave Westmorland, leaving property to scavengers.

Edward the Black Prince

Edmund de Kendale, became bachelor and steward to Edward the Black Prince by September 1340 and also fought at Crécy.[4]

John Kendale was in the service of the Black Prince as receiver for Cornwall. His son also John benefited from his fathers connections and property and became Mayor of Lostwithiel and MP of the same. Edmund de Kendale mentioned above was the right age to be John the elders father and in 1346/7 he was Steward of Cornwall, just before John became receiver. John also received from the Black Prince in 1356 land in cornwall, also granted his wife and son, John. This has a strong feel of a fathers influence, so I have tentatively made Edmund the father of John. There are no records that directly support this and he may need detaching in the light better evidence.

The position of receiver was passed from John Kendale to Richard Kendale. They were kinsmen but the exact relationship is uncertain for now. There is a generation between them so possibly a nephew.

There are generations of Kendales in Cornwall, many of which relate back to Stephen Kendale’s descendants at Pelyn in Lanlivery, who played a prominent part in the history of Lostwithiel over the next two centuries, both as mayors and parliamentary representatives. [5] [6]

Richard III

There are two John’s noted in the Dictionary of National Biography which sometimes get confused [7]

  1. John Kendale, secretary to Richard III
  2. John Kendale Turcopolier, or general of infantry, to the Knights of St. John.

There are a surprising number of John Kendales of reasonable note in the 15th Century.

Links to Other Wikitree Documents

Kendall one name study


  1. 'Records : The Abbey in the thirteenth century', in Register and Records of Holm Cultram, ed. Francis Grainger and W G Collingwood (Kendal, 1929), pp. 126-136. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/n-westmorland-records/vol7/pp126-136 [accessed 8 October 2020].
  2. The visitations of the county of Sussex, made and taken in the years 1530 by Thomas Benolte, Clarenceux king of arms; and 1633-4 by John Philipot, Somerset herald, and George Owen, York herald, for Sir Jon Burroughs, Garter, and Sir Richard St. George, Clarenceux 1905 P47
  3. 'Heversham and Milnthorpe', in Records Relating To the Barony of Kendale: Volume 2, ed. William Farrer and John F Curwen (Kendal, 1924), pp. 141-167. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/kendale-barony/vol2/pp141-167 [accessed 19 October 2020].
  4. The household and military retinue of Edward the Black Prince Davis S Green Thesis 1998 http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/10912/2/298952_VOL2.pdf
  5. KENDALE, Stephen, of Lostwithiel and Treworgey, Cornwall. Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993 Available from Boydell and Brewer.
  6. Visitations of Cornwall P258 (HoP notes inaccuracies)
  7. Wikisource contributors, "Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 30.djvu/413," Wikisource , https://en.wikisource.org/w/index.php?title=Page:Dictionary_of_National_Biography_volume_30.djvu/413&oldid=7907085 (accessed October 7, 2020).

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