Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The chief magistrate of a port or maritime town; in early English history, the representative or appointee of the crown having authority over a mercantile town. The appointment was made with especial reference to the good order of a crowded commercial population, and the collection of royal revenues there, the functions of this officer having a general correspondence to those of a shirgerefa (sheriff) in a county. Formerly also
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A port warden.
- port + reeve (Wiktionary)
“The terms "portreeve" and "bailiff" are extremely familiar, and the offices they denote are by no means extinct; but, in addition to these functionaries, there has been perpetuated a whole family of minor ministers even more closely associated with the agricultural aspects of town life.”
“And whereas of old the chief magistrate was a portreeve, I.E., governor of the city, Richard I. appointed two bailiffs; instead of which”
“I had gotten detailed directions from the portreeve, and though we missed our way, it was some time before we realized it, and we began our walk quite cheerfully.”
“I was cleaning off my boots when the portreeve met me there.”
“Dorcas was on the steps of the Hall of Justice, a position reserved for her at my request by the portreeve.”
“A portreeve from the Hall of Justice found us there - an imposing man with a high, white forehead like the belly of a pitcher.”
“The portreeve asked if we could not stay in the lazaret, and when I shook my head, we - the pcrtreeve, Dorcas, and I - went there to permit him to argue with the physician in charge, who, as I had predicted, refused to have us.”
“The thought that I might myself be confined there by some accident (a misunderstood order, for example, or some unsuspected malice on the part of the portreeve) recurred no matter how often I pushed it aside.”
“I heard the sobbing of a woman, and because the portreeve had spoken of a man, assumed that it came from a cell other than the one that held my client.”
“Glasmont, the seat of John Morris, Esq. the carriage had been drawn through the town by a choice body of exulting tars; and, after being regaled with his friends, by the portreeve, his lordship, and Sir”
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