Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


John FitzAlan (d. 1452)

Mayor of Oxford 1450/1 and 1451/2

John FitzAlan (or Fitz-allen / Fitz-alleyn / Fitzaleyn / Fitz-Alyn) was a civil lawyer, and possibly also a royal servant. He was elected Senior Bailiff on the council in October 1448 and was made an Alderman the following February.

FitzAlan was elected Mayor at the end of September 1450 (for 1450/1), and less than six weeks later (on 6 November 1450) was also elected Member of Parliament for Oxford.

He was elected Mayor again for the following year (1451/2).

† John FitzAlan died on 22 November 1452, shortly after completing his second term as Mayor. He was buried in Our Lady’s Chapel in St Frideswide’s Priory (now Christ Church Cathedral).

Engraving of Fitzalan

A flat marble stone was laid over his tomb with his effigy in brass, as shown in the above print (drawn by H. Burgess and engraved by T. Fisher in the nineteenth century). The text reads:

Hic jacet Joh[ann]es Fitzaleyn qui obiit xxii die
Novembr[is] Ao•D[omi]ni•mo•cccc•lii: cui[u]s a[n]i[m]e p[ro]pitietur Deus.

Fitzalan brass


Right: The brass (relaid in limestone) can still be seen today on the floor of the Lady Chapel of Christ Church Cathedral. It is very small: approximately 40cm in height.

All that remains of the original text (which is engraved on the back of an older brass) is

Joh’es Fitzal…
… A•D’ni•mo•cc…



John FitzAlan owned extensive property in North Oxfordshire which passed to John Goylyn, his executor. His widow, Johanna, presented to the living of St Aldate’s three times after his death: the first occasion was probably in January or February 1452/3, and the second 17 February 1458/9, and the third 13 September 1464; after that the living was presented by the Goylyn family.

Wood describes the FitzAlan family arms as being gules, a lion rampant, or armed and langued blue.

See also:

  • References to John FitzAlan listed in Victoria County History, namely:
  • Royal Commission for Historical Monuments, Inventory of the Historical Monuments of the City of Oxford, 41
  • Cal. Pat. 1429–35, 395
  • Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, pp. 20–1
  • Biography not yet available on the History of Parliament website

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 22 September, 2018

Oxford Mayors home Small Shark Oxford History home