Ford, Edward (1605-1670) (DNB00)

FORD, Sir EDWARD (1605–1670), soldier and inventor, born in 1605 at Up Park, in the parish of Harting, Sussex, was the eldest son of Sir William Ford, knight, of Harting, by Anna, daughter of Sir Edmund Carell, knight, of West Harting (Berry, Sussex Genealogies, p. 182). He became a gentleman-commoner of Trinity College, Oxford, in 1621, but left the university without taking a degree. Charles I gave him a colonel's commission on the outbreak of the war, and in 1642 made him high sheriff of Sussex. According to Vicars he offered his majesty 'a thousand men, and to undertake the conquest of Sussex, though sixty miles in length.' He began to raise forces accordingly, and on 18 Nov. 1642 the House of Commons ordered him to be apprehended (Commons' Journals, ii. 854). Sir William Waller, after taking Winchester and Arundel Castle, besieged Chichester, which Ford surrendered eight days later (29 Dec.) Ford soon afterwards obtained his release by the interest of his wife, Sarah, with her brother, General Ireton [q. v.] On 4 Oct. 1643 he was knighted by Charles I at Oxford (Metcalfe, Book of Knights, p. 201). He commanded a regiment of horse under Lord Hopton, to whom he proposed the recapture of Arundel Castle. Hopton took it after three days' siege (19 Dec. 1643). Ford was left in command by Hopton, with a garrison of above two hundred men and many good officers, but, as Clarendon says, he had insufficient experience, although 'a man of honour and courage.' After a siege of seventeen days the garrison surrendered 'at mercy,' Ford and Sir Edward Bishop presenting themselves to Sir William Waller on 6 Jan. 1643-4 as hostages for the delivery of the castle, both thus becoming his prisoners for the second time (Vicars, God's Arke, p. 123). They were declared by parliament on 9 Oct. 1644 to be incapable of any employment. Ford was imprisoned in the Tower of London, from which in December he escaped (Commons' Journals, iii. 730). He then retired to the continent. In 1647 the queen, knowing his relationship with Ireton, sent him to England to join Sir John Berkeley (d. 1678) [q. v.] in a futile negotiation with the army.

On 12 Nov. 1647 he with others was ordered by the House of Commons into safe custody upon suspicion of being privy to the king's escape from Hampton Court (ib. v. 356). On 21 March 1648-9 parliament ordered that he should pay for his delinquency one full third of the value of his estate (Calendar of State Papers, Dom. 1649-50, p. 46). On 9 July 1649 the house made an order for remitting the remainder of his fine and discharging his sequestration (Commons' Journals, vi. 257).

In 1656 he was employed, with Cromwell's encouragement, and at the request of the citizens of London, in devising an engine for raising the Thames water into all the higher streets of the city, a height of ninety-three feet. This he accomplished in a year's time, and at his own expense; and the same 'rare engine' was afterwards employed in other parts of the kingdom for draining mines and lands, which work it performed better and cheaper than any former contrivance. He also, in conjunction with Thomas Toogood, constructed the great water-engine near the Strand Bridge for the neighbourhood. As this obstructed the view from Somerset House, Queen Catherine, the consort of Charles II, caused it to be demolished; but Ford and Toogood obtained a royal license to erect other waterworks at Wapping, Marylebone, and between Temple Bar and Charing Cross. After the Restoration he invented a mode of coining farthings. Each piece was to differ minutely from another to prevent forgery. He failed in procuring a patent for these in England, but obtained one for Ireland. He died in Ireland before he could carry his design into execution, on 3 Sept. 1670. His body was brought to England, and interred in the family burial-p1ace at Harting. Wood says: 'He was a great virtuoso of his time, yet none of the Royal Society, and might have done greater matters if that he had not been disincouraged for those things he had done before' (Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iii, 906).

By the marriage of his only daughter, Catharine, to Ralph lord Grey of Werke, Up Park became the property of the earls of Tankerville until it was sold in 1745.

He wrote; 1. 'A Design for bringing a Navigable River from Rickmansworth in Hartfordshire to St. Giles's in the Fields,' &c., London, 1641, 4to, with an answer by Sir Walter Roberts, printed the same year, and both reprinted in 1720. Ford's pamphlet is also reprinted in the 'Hurleian Miscellany.' 2. 'Experimented Proposals how the King may have money to pay and maintain his Fleets with ease to his people. London may he rebuilt, and all proprietors satisfied. Money be lent at six percent, on pawns. And the Fishing-Trade set up, which alone is able and sure to enrich us all. And all this without altering, straining, or thwarting any of our Laws or Customes now in use,' London, 1666, 4to. To this was added a 'Defence of Bill Credit.' 3. 'Proposals for maintaining the Fleet and rebuilding London, by bills to be made payable on the taxes to be given to the King by Parliament,' manuscript in Public Record Office, 'State Papers,' Dom. Charles II, vol. clxii. 4. Important letters of intelligence preserved among the 'Clarendon State Papers' in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

[Clarendon's Hist. of the Rebellion (1843), pp. 477, 478, 626; Calendar of the Clarendon State Papers, i. 545; Dallaway's Sussex; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ix. 80; Calendars of State Papers, Dom. 1649–50 p. 46, 1659–60 p. 97, 1661–2 p. 146, 1663–4 pp. 396, 655, 1664–5 pp. 72, 214, 230, 1665–6 p. 170, 1666–7 pp. 127, 439; Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 330, 331, 7th Rep. 686, 9th Rep. 393; Sussex Archæological Collections, v. 36–63, ix. 50–3, xix. 94, 118; Tierney's Arundel, pp. 58–68.]

T. C.