HERFORD, William (d.1437/8), of Bishop's Lynn, Norf.

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



Oct. 1416

Family and Education

Offices Held


Herford purchased his admission as a burgess in 1394-5. By 1411 he was lessee of a cellar, solars and houses belonging to the Holy Trinity guild, and in the following year he acquired more property in both Lynn and Middleton.1 A merchant, his main trading interests were evidently in corn and wine: in May 1405 he had exported 144 quarters of grain, and in December following and the ensuing spring he imported 141 casks and one pipe of wine. In July 1419 the burgesses were in his debt for four casks presented to the bishop at his installation at Norwich. He is known to have had dealings with farmers in Rutland.2 Although occasionally (for instance, in 1405 and 1423) sent on errands on the community’s behalf, Herford played little part in local affairs. This was perhaps because, in the early stages of his career, he was only one of the mediocres. Chosen in December 1411 as an arbitrator in the quarrels over Lynn’s constitution, he seems to have kept aloof from the political upheavals of the next two years.3 However, his closest friends, the Brunhams, were potentiores: Robert Brunham* was a partner in his mercantile ventures; John Brunham senior appointed him in 1413 as an executor of his will; and John junior enfeoffed him in October that year of ‘Le Vought’ by the Stone Bridge. Perhaps they were related by marriage.4 It may have been because of these connexions that Herford was able to secure election to Parliament in 1416, at a time when the potentiores were seeking to conciliate the lower orders.

A jurat from 1421, at the parliamentary elections that April Herford went surety for another member of the 24, John Parmenter, whom seven years later he also assisted in a conveyance of property in Lynn. The two men were associated in other ways, too. Some time after July 1433 the chancellor of England entertained a petition in which a complaint was made against them for having without cause confiscated corn loaded in two ships at Lynn and detained it for seven days so that it began to deteriorate, to the petitioners’ alleged loss of £200. Only a short while before this incident Herford had been chosen as an elector of Lynn’s representatives to the Parliament of 1433, having done so on certainly one previous occasion, in 1429.5

Herford died before Michaelmas 1438, at which date his name ceased to appear on the list of jurats.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Cal. Freemen of Lynn, 29; CP25(1)169/184/162; King’s Lynn Town Hall, Gd 55.
  • 2. E122/95/27; Harl. roll H23; Recs. King’s Lynn ed. Harrod, 104; CPR, 1422-9, p. 370.
  • 3. HMC 11th Rep. III, 192; Lynn Town Hall, Ae 17, Ea 42, 48; assembly bk. I, f. 61.
  • 4. Bk. of Margery Kempe (EETS, clxii), 361; Lynn Town Hall, Be 397.
  • 5. C219/12/5; CP25(1)169/186/47; C1/10/28; Lynn Town Hall, assembly bk. I, f. 266; II, f. 36d.
  • 6. Assembly bk. II, f. 87.