FORDHAM, Simon (d.1400), of Colchester, Essex.

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



Jan. 1377
Feb. 1388
Sept. 1388
Jan. 1390

Family and Education

s. of John Fordham of Colchester (bailiff 1341-3) by his w. Katherine. m. bef. 1377, Mary, da. and h. of William Reyne of Colchester.1

Offices Held

Alderman, Colchester Sept. 1376-7, 1381-2, 1384-5, 1387-8, 1392-3, 1398-1400; bailiff 1382-3, 1386-7, 1390-1, 1393-4, 1395-6.2

Commr. of inquiry, Essex Dec. 1390 (damage done at Manningtree during the Peasants’ Revolt); to levy a fine of 2,000 marks Feb. 1398; of gaol delivery, Colchester Feb. 1399.


Fordham became a freeman of Colchester before September 1372, and took an active part in the administration of the town from 1376 until his death 24 years later. By 1380 he was holding a tenement in New Hythe; he owned a tavern (in which men were accused of playing dice in 1385); and his other properties included land in the suburbs, a tenement in Head ward, three stalls in the market, a messuage in St. Giles’s parish (1392), and one of the seven mills within the borough liberty (1396-8).3 Outside Colchester he had possession of land at West Mersea from 1375, although probably only in the capacity of a feoffee for Thomas Francis*. In 1387 he was summoned to appear at Westminster to answer Sir Thomas Swinburne* after being party to the exclusion of Swinburne from rents at East Mersea; and then, after the sheriff of Essex had rejected a jury from Colchester with regard to this case, Fordham and Francis were sent to Chancery to obtain a writ to remedy this encroachment upon the borough’s liberties.4

In Fordham’s will, dated 19 Apr. 1400 and registered in the borough court on 28 June following, he asked to be buried in St. Nicholas’s church and left 6s.8d. to the rector for forgotten tithes and 4s. to the parish clerk. He bequeathed various sums of money totalling £21 to his family, six servants and a private chaplain, and all his land and jewels to his wife except for a silver cup and cover which went to Christine, wife of Thomas Godstone*. His widow and Christine Godstone were both asked to be godmothers to John Sumpter’s* elder daughter in August 1411.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: K.N. Houghton


  • 1. Colchester Moot Hall, ct. roll 35 m. 22; Colchester Ct. Rolls ed Jeayes, i. 205.
  • 2. Ct. Rolls, iii. 105; ct. rolls 21, 24, 26, 28, 30-31; Cal. Colchester Ct. Rolls ed. Harrod, 1.
  • 3. Colchester Ct. Rolls, iii. 4; Colchester Oath Bk. ed. Benham, 211-13; ct. rolls 20 m. 32, 24 m. 58v, 25 mm. 6, 20, 27 m. 31v, 29 m. 12, 30 m. 1.
  • 4. Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 176; Oath Bk. 218.
  • 5. Ct. roll 31 m. 23v; C139/31/72.