MONFORD, Francis (1474/76-1536), of the Inner Temple, London and Feltwell, Norf.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. 1474/76, o. s. of Osbert Monford of Feltwell by Elizabeth, da. of Francis Heath of Mildenhall, Suff. educ. 1. Temple. m. (1) Margaret, da. of Thomas Thoresby of Lynn, Norf. 3s.; (2) Gertrude, da. of Robert Hoting of London, ?wid. of Edmund Smewen or Smethwyn of London, 3s.; 5da. suc. fa. 26 Dec. 1479 or 1 Jan. 1480.3

Offices Held

Autumn reader, I. Temple 1519, Lent 1527, treasurer 1527, gov. 1535-d.

J.p. Norf. 1514-d.; commr. subsidy 1523, 1524; other commissions 1510-30; steward of sheriff’s ct. Norwich 1520-31, recorder 31 July 1531-d.; filacer, c.p. in 1524.4


Francis Monford probably owed his return for Lynn to the first two Parliaments of Henry VIII less to his inheritance of estates some 20 miles from the borough than to his legal qualification and his marriage into the Thoresby family. He and Thomas Gibbon, who was also married to one of Thomas Thoresby’s daughters, were elected on 7 Jan. 1510, during the mayoralty of John Grindell, another Thoresby connexion, and in place of two men chosen five days earlier but excused. On 22 Mar., a month after the Parliament ended, they reported its legislation to the assembly and on 8 June they returned the charters which they had taken with them to London and the confirmation of the charter of 1484 which it had been part of their duty to secure; they also handed back £2 out of the £20 which had been allowed them for that task. Monford was re-elected in 1512 but not in 1515, despite the King’s request for the return of the previous Members. He had by then become more involved in the affairs of Norwich, while remaining of counsel to Lynn as late as 1520, and it is possible that he took the place of one of that city’s Members, Robert Harydance, who had died in 1514. He could also have sat for Norwich in the Parliament of 1523 when the city’s Members are unknown: in 1524 he was paid 23s.4d. for his labours on its business and 3s.4d. for pleading before the barons of the Exchequer.5

Monford first appeared as attorney for Norwich in 1511; he was admitted to the freedom in 1520 and after serving 11 years as steward of the sheriff’s court he succeeded John Spelman as recorder. He was a wealthy man, being assessed for the loan of 1524 as a filacer of the common pleas on £233, but this was probably because of his inheritance rather than his practice. Besides his service to Lynn and Norwich, he was steward of the manorial courts of St. John’s priory, Carbrooke, Norfolk, and of Ixworth priory, Suffolk; in 1527 he acted with Cromwell as arbitrator in a Cheshire dispute and in 1529 he was one of those appointed to assist Wolsey in Chancery.6

Monford died on 8 Aug. 1536. By his will of the previous 21 July he asked to be buried at Feltwell and provided for his second wife, his children and his step-children. He named his wife and his eldest son, then of full age, executors and his ‘brother’ William Coningsby (another of the sons-in-law of Thomas Thoresby) and Sir Thomas and Lady Bedingfield supervisors. He was succeeded as recorder of Norwich by Nicholas Hare.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: Roger Virgoe


  • 1. Lynn congregation bk. 4, f. 98.
  • 2. Ibid. 4, f. 115v.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from age at fa.’s i.p.m., C140/74/19. Blomefield, Norf. ii. 193; PCC 40 Hogen; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 200 (where he is incorrectly given as the son of Adam Monford), 226.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, i-v, vii; Norwich ass. procs. 2, f. 106v, 139v, 160.
  • 5. HP, ed. Wedgwood, 1439-1509 (Biogs.), 847; Lynn congregation bk. 4, ff. 97v, 98, 99, 100; chamberlains’ accts. 11-12 Hen. VIII; Norwich chamberlains’ accts. 1514-24 passim.
  • 6. Norwich ass. procs. 2, ff. 72v, 106v; Cal. I.T. Recs. i. 462; Val. Eccles. iii. 340, 482; LP Hen. VIII, iv.
  • 7. C142/64/146; PCC 40 Hogen.