Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Sir John of Ducklington (d. 1336)

Mayor of Oxford 1287/8, 1305/6, 1306/7, 1307/8, 1308/9,
1309/10, 1315/16, 1316/17, 1321/2, 1324/5, and 1326/7

John of Ducklington (or de Dokelinton / Docklington / Dokelynton / Docklynton / Doclinton / Docklington / Ducklinton / Dokelyngtone) was an Oxford fishmonger.

He served his first term as Mayor of Oxford in 1287/8.

By 1305 Ducklington had been knighted. He served as Mayor another five terms in succession from that year (1305/6, 1306/7, 1307/8, 1308/9, and1309/10).

After a six-year gap he served again as Mayor in 1315/16 and 1316/17. There was then a five-year gap, and then he served again for 1321/2, 1324/5, and 1326/7, making eleven terms in all.

On 29 January 1327 Sir John Duckington attended the Coronation of Edward III and served as butler at the coronation feast in Westminster Hall, the first Oxford Mayor known to have taken up this right.

Anthony Wood wrote that Borstall Hall, which stood on the south side of the High Street (probably on the site of the Examination Schools) belonged to the Hospital of St John the Baptist, and went on to say that it was “owned by the same name in the raignes of Edward II and III by John de Docklynton, whose wife Sybill granted it to William Sedbury of Worcester”.

In 1335 Ducklington built a chantry dedicated to St Mary in St Aldate’s Church to commemorate himself, his family, and Sir Richard de Hunsyngore, giving £3 6s 8d rent to maintain a chaplain there. This chantry had three bays and was on the south side of the nave: two bays of its crypt survive. Presentation to the chantry was vested in Ducklington and his heirs. Anthony Wood writes:

John Doclinton or Ducklinton (he was a fishmonger, and white fishes in a red circular feild are in this chapple to this day) severall times maior of this city, desiring the health of his soule, did, to the honour of the Virgin Mary and All Saints institute a perpetuall chantry, 9 Edward III, in a chappell of his owne building on the south side of this church. Wherin ordaining a chapleyn to celebrate divine service, for his and the soules of his wives, Sibill and Julian; for the soules of his father and mother; as also of Henry Burwash, bishop of Lyncoln, while living and when dead, — setled on him and his successors for ever an annuall revenew of 5 marks issuing out of severall of his messuages in Oxon, viz., out of that that he then inhabited in Fish Street, another in St. Michael’s parish at North Gate, out of two shops in the parish of All Saints, out of another tenement near Soller Hall in St Edward’s parish, and out of another in Grandpont neare Trill Mill.

When describing Ducklington’s chapel, Wood wrote, “At the lower end of this chappell layes a larg marble stone with a Saxon inscription theron, but not legible, perhaps for John de Doclington founder therof.”

† Sir John Ducklington died in 1336.

John Ducklington’s son and heir of the same name was an Oxford clothier. He had connexions with Queen Isabella, and at her petition in 1310 he was exempted from serving on assizes or inquisitions, and from being a town or local officer. He held land in the lot meadow of Bishop’s eyot, which lay between Port Meadow and the easternmost stream of the Thames. Anthony Wood records how he left Soller Hall near Peckwater Inn in St Edward’s parish to his wife Alice in his will of 1348.

See also:

  • Cal. Pat. 1307–13, 277; Bodleian MS Top. Oxon. c 353 (John Ducklington’s son’s dealings with Queen Isabella)
  • Bodleian MS. Top. Oxon. c 396, f. 270 (John Ducklington’s son’s dealings with German merchants)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 22 September, 2018

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