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."