FERROUR, alias BARKES, alias SMITH, Richard, of Warwick.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Keeper of Warwick gaol 14 Feb. 1380-24 July 1399, bef. Sept. 1404, 26 Oct. 1408-d.
Richard was possibly related to John Ferrour of Warwick (fl. 1358), and certainly took an active part in the affairs of the town, for example serving as a juror at an inquiry held there in 1399, and on other occasions witnessing local deeds.1 He had an interest in the manufacture of cloth, being assessed for alnage on five dozens’ sold in Warwick in 1397-8 and for three-and-a-half lengths of fabric sold in 1399-1400, but his principal occupation was as keeper of the gaol, an office to which he had been appointed by the Crown for life in 1380. His tenure was not always free of difficulties: in 1391 he had to seek a royal pardon for the escape of a prisoner, and seven years later he was fined 10s. when another fled his custody. It may have been in connexion with this second offence that he again purchased a pardon in June 1398.2
Ferrour was expelled from the keepership by one John Tolles in July 1399, and it is uncertain when he regained it. In 1404, when the office was granted to Thomas Madewy, Ferrour was mistakenly thought to be dead. He naturally drew attention to the error, and claimed his post back, but even so four years elapsed before he was restored and Madewy’s patent was revoked. Furthermore, Ferrour had to pay Madewy £10 as compensation. It is uncertain whether Ferrour had been keeper of Warwick gaol at the time of his only election to Parliament.3
The date of Ferrour’s death is not known. Either he or a namesake was the tenant of property in St.Nicholas Street, Warwick, in 1424.4