Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


John Sprunt (d. 1419)

Mayor of Oxford 1402/3, 1405/6, 1406/7, 1407/8, and 1408/9

John Sprunt (or Sprunt) is believed to have come from Essex. He owned four tenements in Oxford: Garlandisplace (in the parish of St Mary-the-Virgin); Crassewelplace and Lollyplace, Waterhall (both in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Southgate); and one in Fish Street (now St Aldate’s Street).

Sprunt was elected Junior Bailiff in 1394.

He was chosen as one of the four Aldermen in 1401, 1410, 1414, 1415, and 1418.

Sprunt was elected Mayor of Oxford for the first time for 1402/3, and was also a Justice.

He was elected Mayor again in the four consecutive years 1405/6, 1406/7, 1407/8, and 1408/9.

Twyne recorded the following extract from a Court of frankpledge of 6 November 1405:

Item dicunt quod Ioh. Sprunt occupavit Sewyslane [Shoe Lane] cum fimo et focalibus et quod projecit aquam fetentem ibidem ad quantitatem 3 doliorum ita quod via regia ibidem prope deteriorata erat; ideo ipse in misericordia.

John Sprunt


† John Sprunt died on 17 July 1419 and was buried in the former St Peter-le-Bailey Church.

A headless brass showing Sprunt (right) still survives in the floor of the later St Peter-le-Bailey Church (now the chapel of St Peter’s College). It shows his feet resting on a dog couchant. Anthony Wood states that a scroll at his mouth read:
Credo quod redemptor meus vivit” [”I believe that my Redeemer liveth”], and that the brass of his wife Alice that lay beside this one finished the text off with a scroll saying “et in carne mea videbo” [”and in my flesh shall I see God”].


The inscription beneath the brass figure is shown below. It reads:

Hic jacet Johannes Sprunt, quondam Major Oxon
qui obiit xvii die mensis Julii Ao. Dni millo

CCCCXIX, et Alicia uxor ejus, quorum animabus propitietur Deus.

[Here lies John Sprunt, once Mayor of Oxford, who died on 17 July 1419, and Alice his wife, on whose souls may God show mercy.]

Inscription to Sprunt


See also:

  • Copy of John Sprunt’s will in the archives of All Souls College
  • Twyne, xxiii.613 (Court of frankpledge)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 25 September, 2018

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