FERROUR, Richard (d.1402/3), of Wells, Som.

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



Feb. 1388

Family and Education

m. (1) Mabel, at least 1da.; (2) Felicity, 1da.

Offices Held

Auditor, Wells Mich. 1380-1, 1382-4, 1389-90, 1392-3; constable of the peace 1380-1, 1382-3, 1384-5, 1386-7, 1388-9, 1394-6; rent collector 1391-3.1

Tax collector, Wells Dec. 1380.


Several members of the Ferrour family lived in Wells during the 14th century, but it is not possible to identify Richard’s parents. He himself became a freeman of Wells before 1379, and after that date he provided as many as 22 pledges for the admission of new burgesses and was almost continuously in office locally until 1396. In addition, he occasionally travelled to Bristol (where he later held some property), on the town’s business, and he was elected to the master’s council at Michaelmas 1392. Ferrour figured regularly in the convocation books of Wells acting as a surety and attorney on behalf of fellow burgesses in their lawsuits, and it is possible that he had had some training in the law. However, his livelihood was made primarily through the manufacture and trade in cloth. He was assessed for alnage on 48 ‘dozens’ sold in Somerset between 1395 and 1397, and on 11 broad cloths sold in 1402.2

Ferrour must have had some personal connexion with Bishop Erghum of Bath and Wells, who bequeathed ten marks to him in January 1398. Later, on 3 July 1402 and shortly before his own death, he released to the dean and chapter of Wells all his rights in a workshop on the High Street, which he held on a life tenancy, the property having been granted just a week previously, by Erghum’s successor, Bishop Bowet, to the chapter for the use of the cathedral vicars.3

Ferrour drew up his will on 29 Nov. 1402, desiring burial in St. Cuthbert’s cemetery, Wells, next to his first wife, Mabel, and their children. He requested the celebration of 100 masses, and that 40s. would be distributed in bread to the poor on the day of his funeral. A chaplain was to say mass regularly for one year for his soul and that of his first wife, as well as for the welfare of his widow. Ferrour bequeathed all his clothing except two cloaks to his brother Henry, and a silver chain and a dagger to his kinsman John Houghlot, providing that the latter arranged for four masses to be celebrated on the anniversary of Ferrour’s death. The testator’s widow, Felicity, was to receive four marks annual rent from his two shops in Wynch Street, Bristol, with the reversion of this property after the death of the tenant, and two marks annual rent from a house in Wells occupied by Nicholas Cristesham*. This rent and reversion were to pass after Felicity’s death to their daughter Isabel, and her lawful issue. To Katherine, his daughter by his first marriage, Ferrour left a cup which had belonged to her mother, a coffer and a messuage in New Street, Wells. He named his wife as executrix and John Wycombe* and John Houghlot as overseers of the will. He had died by 27 Jan. 1403 when a commission to arrange for probate was appointed, Ferrour being there described as ‘alias Thorny’.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Wells Town Clerk’s Office, convoc. bk. 1378-1450, ff. 9, 15, 25, 34, 65, 76, 86, 95, 103, 111, 115.
  • 2. HMC Wells, ii. ch. 278; CPR, 1391-6, p. 545; Wells City Chs. (Som. Rec. Soc. xlvi), 125-32; convoc. bk. ff. 9, 18, 103; E101/343/28, 30, 344/3.
  • 3. Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xix), 297; HMC Wells, ii. chs. 504, 506, 537.
  • 4. Bristol Wills (Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. 1886), 64; Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xvi), 10.