FORTHE, William (aft.1542-99), of Hadleigh, Suff.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education

b. aft. 1542, 3rd s. of William Forthe (d.1559) of Butley and Hadleigh by his w. Elizabeth Powell of Wales. m. (1) c.1576, Dorothy (d. 14 Oct. 1581), da. and coh. of Richard Harvey of Worlingworth, 2s. 1da.; (2) da. of one Kene, prob. of Starston, Norf., 2s.

Offices Held

J.p. Suff. by 1594.


Though long resident in Suffolk, the Forthe family only acquired a substantial estate in the county in 1544 when Forthe’s father purchased from the Duke of Norfolk the site of Butley priory, three miles from Orford. Dying worth £143 p.a., he left his third son copyhold lands in Hadleigh, which Forthe himself built up to an estate worth £100 p.a. including a capital messuage with 60 acres. It is not clear why Forthe would wish to come into Parliament for Orford when in his mid-fifties, but the return was presumably arranged by his elder brother Robert, who still owned an estate nearby, through Edward Coke, the recorder. He was probably the ‘Mr. Ford’ who was appointed to committees concerning clothiers (9 Dec.) and malt (12 Jan. 1598). The Orford burgesses were appointed to a committee concerned with draining the fens on 3 Dec. 1597. In May 1597, in conjunction with the sheriff of Suffolk and two others, he obtained authority from the Privy Council to suppress ‘certain stage plays at Whitsun’, promoted by the inhabitants of Hadleigh, which might cause ‘disorders that may arise from scarcity of food’. He died 14 Sept. 1599 and was buried at Hadleigh.

Wards 9/138, f. 16; J. J. Muskett, Suff. Manorial Fams. i. 110-11, 116, 119-20, 315; Vis. Suff. ed. Metcalfe, 137; W. A. Copinger, Suff. Manors, i. 28; iii. 73, 192; iv. 227-8; PRO Index 6800; APC, xxvii. 97; D’Ewes, 567, 570, 578; HMC Var. iv. 266; PCC 72 Kidd.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: R.C.G.