I am descended from the Forward family in Mere, Wiltshire and have a reasonably complete tree going back to about 1675. I can't locate any James Forward on the tree during the 18th century.
However, there were (and are) many, many Forwards living in and around Mere, so I suppose there is a connection somewhere.
One very useful source is the Wiltshire Historical Society. They have full microfiche sets of the births and deaths of the Anglican church in Mere, as well as many other county records. The last time I contacted them I found them at: www.genuk.org.uk/big/eng/WIL/index.html.
They are very helpful and were able to ship a copy of records to me within a week.