James Ford Remembered

Trinity will be remembering James Ford, antiquary, collector and benefactor, when this year’s Ford Lecturer, Dr Steve Gunn, Fellow of Merton College, dines in College this month.

The Ford Lectures in British History, named after their benefactor, the antiquarian James Ford (1779-1851), are among the most prestigious of Oxford’s lecture series, and are open to all. The Lectures, which take place over six weeks in Hilary term, allow distinguished scholars to present their work to an Oxford audience and invariably result in important books, many of them classic and pioneering works of British history.

From 2016, Trinity will mark the occasion of the annual lecture series with a dinner for the lecturer and graduate History students, in honour of James Ford.

James Ford (1779-1850) was educated at the King’s School, Canterbury and matriculated at Trinity in 1797, becoming a scholar in 1798, and a Fellow from 1807 to 1830. He was vicar of Navestock in Essex from 1830 and was married the same year to Laetitia Jermyn, daughter of an Ipswich book seller—she was the author of The Butterfly Collector’s Vade Mecum (1827) and cultivated wide literary tastes.

Ford was a collector and compiler on antiquarian subjects, including the history of Essex and Suffolk and of the Church of England. He was the author of The Devout Communicant, which was first published in 1815 and reached a sixth edition in 1830, and of A Century of Christian Prayers (2nd edn, 1824). He died at Navestock on 31 January 1850. There is a monument to him in the church. James Ford was a major benefactor of Trinity, leaving a bequest to fund undergraduate exhibitions and funds that were used for improvements to the college buildings.

Posted 13 February 2015

James Ford

James Ford's bequest carried with it the condition that Trinity must ensure the good condition of his funerary monument in the church at Navestock; we are pleased to report that when last inspected (by Clare Hopkins, Archivist, and Bryan Ward-Perkins, Fellow Archivist) its condition was excellent.