It is possible that Minehead had a corporate existence during the 15th century, as certain documents executed by the portreeve and burgesses at that date are preserved, but no record of the grant of a charter has been found.
In the 14th century it passed to the Courtenays, and in 1698 Sir William Courtenay was confirmed in the right of holding court leet, view of frankpledge and the nomination of a portreeve, these privileges having been surrendered to James II.
The borough was represented by two members in parliament in 1300 and 1311, and then not again till 1640, from which date it returned two members until disfranchised by the act of 1868, the returning officer being the portreeve, who was also the chief magistrate of the borough until its incorporation by charter of 1846.
When William the Conqueror granted the first charter to London he addressed the bishop and the portreeve - the bishop as the ecclesiastical governor and the portreeve as the representative of the civil power.
The word " port " in the title "portreeve " does not indicate the Port of London as might naturally be supposed, for Stubbs has pointed out that it is porta not por us, and "although used for the city generally, seems to refer to it specially in its character of a Mart or City of Merchants."
There was slight difference between the office of sheriff and that of portreeve, which latter does not appear to have survived the Conquest.
It was governed by a portreeve and bailiff, elected annually at the court leet held by the lord of the manor.
They were to be free from all toll and to elect yearly a portreeve and a beadle."
In 14th-century documents it is described as a town or borough governed by a portreeve, who frequently came into conflict with the parson of St John's church, who had become lord of the manor of Yeovil during the reign of Henry III.
The corporation in the 18th century consisted of a portreeve and eleven burgesses, and was abolished when the town was reincorporated in 1853.
No charter granting self-government to Wiveliscombe has been found, and the only evidence for the traditional existence of a borough is that part of the town is called "the borough," and that until the middle of the 19th century a bailiff and a portreeve were annually chosen by the court leet.
Tavistock was governed from before the Conquest by a portreeve, who in the 14th century was assisted by a select council of burgesses, styled in 1660 "the Masters of the Toune and Parish of Tavistock."
Llanelly, though an ancient parish and a borough by prescription under a portreeve and burgesses in the old lordship of Kidwelly, remained insignificant until the industrial development in South Wales during the 19th century.
Otto Bodrugan in 1320 granted the burgesses the privilege of electing their own portreeve and controlling the trade of the town.
By this charter the burgesses acquired the right of nominating annually two of their number for the office of portreeve so that the lord's steward might select one of them to exercise the office, an arrangement which continued till 1835; the bailiff's functions were defined and curtailed, and the lord's chancery was to be continually kept open for all requiring writs, and in Gower - not wherever the lord might happen to be.
Cromwell's charter of 1655, though reciting that "time out of mind" Swansea had been "a town corporate," incorporated it anew, and changed the title of portreeve into mayor, in whom, with twelve aldermen and twelve capital burgesses, it vested the government of the twn.
Lampeter was first imcorporated under Edward II., but the earliest known charter dates from the reign of Henry VI., whereby the principal officer of the town, a portreeve, was to be appointed annually at the court-leet of the manor.