FORD, Henry, of Melcombe Regis, Dorset.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Bailiff, Melcombe Regis (by royal appointment) 8 Oct. 1384-29 Mar. 1389.1
Warrener, Melcombe 27 Dec. 1392 (during royal pleasure).
Mayor, Melcombe Sept. 1397-8, 1400-1.2
Commr. to prevent ships of over 30 tuns from leaving Weymouth and Melcombe May 1401.
In October 1384, following reports that as a result of assaults by the French the town of Melcombe Regis was desolated and the burgesses unable to pay all of their fee farm, Richard II appointed two bailiffs, Henry Ford and John Northovere*, to answer at the Exchequer for such sums due to the Crown as they could raise without unduly oppressing the inhabitants. During their term of office, which lasted four-and-a-half years instead of the usual one, Northovere was returned to Parliament for Melcombe in 1384 (Nov.) and 1385, both bailiffs were returned in 1386, and Ford then sat in the Merciless Parliament of 1388. Four years later he was rewarded with the office of keeper of the royal warren at Melcombe, and may well have continued to hold that post for the remainder of the reign. He was twice elected mayor of Melcombe in the borough court according to the normal procedure and without royal intervention; and during his second mayoralty he received a commission ordering him to restrict the departure of large vessels from the Wey estuary. His own principal trading interest was evidently in cloth.3