Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


John Hampton (d. 1328)

Mayor of Oxford 1319/20, 1320/1, and 1322/3

John Hampton (or de Hampton) owned a hall in Turl Street that was within the limits of LIncoln College in St Mildred’s parish (on the site of the present chapel quadrangle). This Hall belonged to Richard Bodyn in about 1240 and was then called Bodyn Hall. Anthony Wood writes:

Afterward being owned by the name of Hampton, burgesses of Oxon (of whome one John Hampton was maior divers times thereof in the raigne of Edward II) came to be called Hampton Hall.

Hampton may have lived and traded, however, at the west end of the High Street: the Market Regulations of 1318 stated that the sellers of earthen pots should stand in the High Street between St Edward’s Lane (now Alfred Street) and “the tenenement [sic] sometimes of John Hampton which Richard Woodehay held while he lived”.

Hampton was elected Junior Bailiff in 1307 and Senior Bailiff in 1311.

John Hampton was first elected Mayor of Oxford for 1319/20. The King (Edward II) was at York at the time of his election, so Hampton had to travel a long way to swear his Oath of Office before the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer. His expenses for the journey appear thus in the city accounts for the year ending Michaelmas 1319:

Item liberatum Iohanni Hampton maiori pro expensis suis apud Eboracum pro presentacione sua regi iiii marcas.

The certificate confirming that Hampton had taken the oath is the oldest one surviving in the City Archives, and was transcribed thus by Ogle:

Edwardus dei gracia Rex Anglie Dominus Hibernie et Dux Acquitanie Balliuis et toti communitati Ville sue Oxon Salutem. Sciatis quod Johannes de Hampton Comburgensis vester quem in maiorem ville predicte elegistis et per vestras literas patentes (coram) Thesaurario et Baronibus nostris de Scaccario in crastino sancti Michaelis proxime preteriti presentastis ad idem officium est admissus et sacramentum de bene et fideliter se habendo in eodem officio prestitit ut est moris. Et [ideo vobis mandamus quod] eidem Johanni [tanquam] maiori [vestre] ville predicte in hiis que ad officium maioris ibidem pertinent intendentes sitis et respondentes. In cuius rei testimonium has literas nostras fieri fecimus patentes. Teste Venerabili W. Exon Episcopo [Thesaurio] nostro apud […] primo (?) die Octobris anno (regni nostri quarto decimo?).

Hampton was elected Mayor again for the next two years (1320/1 and 1322/3).

On 1 July 1323 a commission of oyer and terminer was issued to try a man called John de Hampton and other knights and squires for breaking into the manors of John de Handlo. On 2 April 1324 a writ was issued against Hampton and Thomas le Marshall to be present at Henley at the forthcoming eyr on this charge.

† John Hampton died in 1328.

He left six marks to each man who would go on a pilgrimage on his behalf to the Holy Land when the king went there.

See also:

  • Calendar of Patent Rolls p. 319 for Commission of oyer and terminer against Hampton
  • MS Oxon c.396, ff. 32–4

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 22 September, 2018

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