FORD, John I (d.1406/7), of Tavistock, Devon.

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. 1382
Sept. 1388

Family and Education

yr. s. of Walter atte Ford of Tavistock by his w. Alice. m. 1355, Christine, da. and h. of Robert David† of Tavistock, s.p.

Offices Held

Portreeve, Tavistock 1363-4.1

Bailiff of the hundred of Tavistock July 1390.2


Ford’s father, who was a tenant of Tavistock abbey in several acres of land at Sydenham Damerel and on the manor of Hurdwick, died before 1367, when his eldest son, William, settled on John a house and garden in Tavistock. Later, John was given five more tenements and rents from another by his brother, although when the latter died he came into the whole estate.3 His marriage proved advantageous: in 1355 Robert David had settled on his daughter and Ford ‘in liberum maritagium’ substantial properties, including a park and two granges at Bannawell, all of his lands, rents and services in Taviton and Inswell Down, and a reversionary interest in land at Crowndale and Anderton. A few years later Ford and his wife acquired further holdings in Whitchurch.4

In 1370 Ford was one of 12 burgesses of Tavistock who joined the abbot and convent in an appeal for alms in aid of the repair and maintenance of the bridge over the Tavy. He became a prominent figure in the town, where he established himself as a clothier, and was nearly always described as John Ford ‘burgeys’, not only when referred to in local deeds but also on the occasion of his return to Parliament in 1388. This was probably done in order to distinguish him from both his nephew, John, and another contemporary, John Ford ‘skinner’.5 In 1385 he was outlawed at the suit of Robert Averay, a cordwainer from Middlesex, for failing to render chattels to the value of £40, and goods of his own worth £20 were confiscated and granted to yeomen of the King’s chamber before he was allowed a royal pardon. Ford probably traded in London. Certainly, his production of cloth was very high; he was assessed on as many as 226 ‘dozens’ in the course of two years. At Easter 1388 he stood surety in the court of common pleas for a ‘leech’ of St. Magnus in the Bridge Ward who was being sued for false pretences with regard to his patent cure for ringworm.6

Ford died at an unknown date in the five months before April 1407. Several years later, in a suit at the Exeter assizes, his nephew and heir, John, alleged that on 22 Nov. 1406, when Ford was supposed to have made a settlement of his property, he was in fact ‘languidus, iacens in lecto suo, et non compos mentis sue’. Some of his lands subsequently came into the possession of John Plenty* in right of his wife Maud, who may have been Ford’s niece.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Devon RO, 482A/PF19.
  • 2. JUST 1/1502 m. 114.
  • 3. Add. Chs. 29071-3, 29077, 29080, 29085, 29101; Devon RO, T1258M/S21, f. 23.
  • 4. Add. Ch. 29074; Devon RO, Bedford ms D84/22; Devon Feet of Fines (Devon and Cornw. Rec. Soc. 1939), 1549.
  • 5. Tavistock Parish Recs. ed. Worth, 71-73, 109; CPR, 1396-9, p. 169; C219/9/5.
  • 6. CPR, 1385-9, pp. 23, 28; E101/238/11; Yr. Bk. 1387-8 ed. Thornley, 228.
  • 7. Add. Chs. 29081, 29115; JUST 1/1540 m. 67d; Devon RO, 482A/PF35.