Ford, Sir John

, an ingenious gentleman of the seventeenth century, was the son of sir John Ford, knt. and was born at Up-park in the parish of Harting in Sussex, in 1605. He became a gentleman commoner of Trinity college, Oxford, in 1621, but left it without taking a degree, after which Wood has not been able to trace his history, until he served the office of high sheriff for Sussex, and demonstrated his loyalty to Charles I. who conferred on him the honour of knighthood at Oxford, Oct. 4, 1643. About that time he bore a colonel’s commission in the army, or, according to Clarendon, had a regiment of horse in lord Hopton’s troops, and was afterwards a considerable sufferer for his adherence to the royal cause. In 1647, he and Dr. Stephen Goffe were imprisoned on. suspicion of being accessary to his majesty’s escape from Hampton court. How or when he was released we are not told, but as he had married general Ireton’s sister, he might owe his release to the influence of his brother-inlaw with the parliamentary party. In 1656 we find him employed in certain mechanical inventions of considerable importance. With Cromwell’s encouragement, and at the request of the citizens of London, he contrived machinery for raising the Thames water into all the higher streets of the city, a height of ninety-three feet. This he is said to have accomplished in a year’s time, and at his own expence; and the same machinery was afterwards employed in other parts of the kingdom for draining mines and lands, | which it performed better and cheaper than any former contrivance. He also constructed the great water engine at Somerset-house, for supplying the Strand, &c. but this obstructing the prospect from the windows, queen Catherine, the consort of Charles II. caused it to be pulled clown. After the restoration he invented a mode of coining copper money (Wood says, farthings) which could not possibly be counterfeited, as each piece was made to differ from another in some minute circumstance. He failed in procuring a patent for these for England, but obtained one for Ireland. He went over accordingly to carry his design into execution there, but died before he could accomplish it, on Sept. 3, 1670, and his body being brought over, was interred in the family buriai place at Harting. Wood speaks of him as a man who might have done great things if he had met with proper encouragement. He published, 1. “A Design for bringing a River from Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire to St. Giles’s in the Fields, near London; the benefits of it declared, and the objections against it answered,” Lond. 1641, 4to. 2. “Experimental Proposals how the king may have money to pay and maintain his fleets, with ease to the people London may be re-built, and all proprietors satisfied money may be lent at six per cent, on pawns and the fishing trade set up, and all without straining or thwarting any of our laws or customs,” ibid. 1666, 4to. To this last was added a “Defence of Bill Credit.” About 1663 he had printed a proposal fur the raising of money by bills of exchange, which should pass current instead of money, to prevent robbery. 1


Ath, Ox. vol. II.-Clarendon’s Hist.