The Origins of the Coryns of Kenwyn


At the beginning of the 17th century, the Coryns were the most influential family in Kenwyn, the parish immediately to the north of Truro. However, documents from the 15th and early 16th centuries relating to Kenwyn do not mention them. (A Tristram Coryn is mentioned in a lease of 1447 in Lostwithiel.(1) There was a considerable movement in population in Tudor times, helped by the general economic climate and the opportunities afforded by the dissolution of the monasteries, and it is quite possible that the Coryns came from another part of England, just as the Singletons of Truro had come from Lancashire.

The connection with Kenwyn seems only to go back to about 1580, and to have begun with John Coryn (1560?-1619), despite the College of Heralds, checking families' right to bear arms in the 1620's, recording the family as having lived there for three generations earlier(2). John Coryn's father, Richard, appears to have spent much of his life in the nearby parish of St. Gerrans. The earliest contemporary reference we have to the Coryn family in Kenwyn is a reference in the cartographer John Norden's 1584 Survey of England to Tregavethan, the house of John Curran.

One possible shred of evidence for a non-Cornish origin is can be found by comparing the Coryn arms with those of Archbishop Hugh Coren, (1507-1568), Dean of Hereford under Edward VI, whose Vicar of Bray-like temperament allowed him to rise to the position of Archbishop of Dublin under Mary Tudor in 1555 and subsequently Lord Chancellor of Ireland. In Dublin he showed equal zealousness for the Reformation under Elizabeth, continuing in his post despite opposition until ill-health prompted his translation to Oxford in 1567(3). Hugh Coren is said to have come from High Knipe, in the parish of Bampton in Westmorland, and to be related to the Curwen family, though the evidence for this is not entirely conclusive. The similarity of the two families' arms could in any case have been due to the vagaries of the College of Heralds, who might assign similar arms on the basis of similar names, or who might have thought of the same pun twice (the Coryn arms comprise a millrind (for grinding corn), and four choughs (symbolic of Cornwall)).

In addition to the Kenwyn family there were Coryns at St Stephen's in Brannell, who bore similar arms (but with two, not four, martletts or choughs), one of whom moved to London in the mid-seventeenth century. The connection between the two families has yet to be researched(4).

There is a monumental brass to Richard and Anne Coryn in Kenwyn church, but the writer has not yet seen it.

Our certain knowledge begins with two brothers, Michael and Richard, born about 1500.


This Richard Coryn may be the Richard Coryn of Fowey who was assessed for £3 in the Subsidy Roll of 1543.

Richard Coryn married Sibell Luke, daughter of James Luke. We do not know where the Luke family was from - perhaps St Just in Roseland. Sibell is described as co-heir in the Heralds' Visitation Returns, perhaps implying that there is a PCC will in existence.

Richard and Sibell Coryn had a daughter:

ANN CORYN (15??-?), also described as a coheir(5). She married Richard Singleton, eldest son of George Singleton of Truro. The Singleton family had come originally from Singleton Hall or Broughton in Lancashire, and George Singleton was probably the first of the family to live in Cornwall. Ann's father-in-law George probably died at the end of 1579, as his will (now lost) was proved at Bodmin on January 15, 1580. Richard, Ann's husband, died on 26 August 1585, leaving two children:

THOMAS SINGLETON (15??-?) of Truro.

ANN SINGLETON (15??-?), who had married Thomas Vivyan.


Michaell Coryn married a Miss Lovedon. Lovedon (or Loveden) seems not to be a Cornish name(6). They had a son, Richard Coryn, whom we meet next.

This page was last modified on 10 February 2017 by Hector Davie.
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