Devon & Cornwall Notes and Queries vol. VI, (January 1910 to October 1911), p. 113.
Ford is an Anglo-Saxon habitational or topographical eponymous surname meaning “at the ford”, denoting a person who lived at a river crossing. Similarly, it may have been an occupational or official surname for a person who maintained the area and facilitated the crossing process. Towns often arose near the ford. The numerous fords throughout Britain explain the popularity of this primarily English, Welsh, and Scottish surname. It derives from the Old English word ‘ford’, meaning of course; ford. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.
Note 117. FORD FAMILY (VI., par. 46, p. 61). - In Oliver's Ecclesiastical Antiquities, Vol. II., p. 50, Ralph Ford is given as the Vicar of Holcombe Burnell in 1362. On page 64 in the same vol. Oliver gives the arms of Ford as he saw them in the north aisle of Budleigh Church. “With the grey- hound current in chief, and an owl " in base." Crest - a demi- greyhound collared between two apple branches fractured." This gives one the impression that some of the Ford family may have resided in the neighbourhood of Budleigh. On page 144 Oliver names John Ford as a vicar of Dawlish. The date is missing, but it must have been between 1490 and 1523 - the dates of his predecessor and successor.
In vol. xxxii, Transactions of the Devonshire Association, "The Domesday Survey and Feudal Aids," by the late Rev. T. W. Whale, p. 546, John Ford is named as the King's Feodasy in Devon, 24th Hen. 8.