Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


John Merston (fl. 1400)

Mayor of Oxford 1400/1, 1403/4, and 1412

John Merston was elected Senior Bailiff on the Council in 1391.

He was also elected Member of Parliament for Oxford on 20 January 1392/3 at Winchester.

He was chosen as one of the four Alderman in 1399, 1401, 1402, 1406, 1410, 1412, and 1414.

Merston was elected Mayor of Oxford for 1400/1 and again for 1403/4. In the latter year Anthony Wood records that the council let Briggeswyth Place (near Folly Bridge) to Merston “with the buildings thereon”. Twyne states that the council leased the Hermitage at Grandpont to him on 14 September that year:

Iohannes Sprunt maior ville Oxonie, Walterus Daundsey et Thomas Couentre balliui, dimittunt Iohanni Merston burgensi et aldermanno ville Oxonie totam illam placeam suam situatam super Grauntpount iuxta capellam sancti Nicholai vocatam vulgariter le Hermytage &c., pro xiid. annui redditus &c.; et prefatus Iohannes Merston dictam placeam cum muris, clausuris, fossatis et ominbus aliis pertinenciis suis bene et sufficienter sustentabit et emendabit…”

In 1404 Merston was elected Member of Parliament for Oxford a second time.

In 1408 Merston was chosen as one of the representatives of the Town to appear before the Archbishop of Canterbury in a dispute with the University.

The Mayor elected for 1411/12, Richard Garston, died in the January of his year of office, and Merston served the rest of the mayoral year 1412 by command of letters of the King (Henry IV).

On 19 November 1414 Merston was elected Member of Parliament for Oxford a third time.

† John Merston died between 1415 and 1417.

The Merston family owned Merston Hall, on the site of the Roebuck Inn in St Martin’s parish; it later passed into the hands of Thomas Coventry.

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©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 29 September, 2018

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