NORTHOVERE, John, of Melcombe Regis, Dorset.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Melcombe Regis (by royal appointment) 8 Oct. 1384-29 Mar. 1389.1
In October 1384, six months after Northovere’s first return to Parliament for Melcombe Regis, and following a petition to the King from the burgesses stressing their poverty and inability to pay all of the fee farm, he and Henry Ford* were appointed by the Crown to act as bailiffs, being made liable to account at the Exchequer for what profits they could collect without unduly oppressing the inhabitants. Within a month Northovere was again returned to Parliament and, while still in office, he was again re-elected to the next two assemblies (1385 and 1386). He and his co-bailiff were not discharged at the Exchequer until March 1389.
When, at the borough court held at Melcombe on 24 Feb. 1397, Northovere was accused of a trespass, he failed to appear to answer the charge. On the same day, however, he provided securities in court for a man whose rental payments to the bailiffs had fallen into arrears. Northovere’s chief trading interest was in cloth, but he is also known to have exported ropes and foodstuffs from Melcombe and, when last recorded in 1404, was paying customs duties for one such shipment.2