Mayor of Oxford 1402/3, 1405/6, 1406/7, 1407/8, and 1408/9
John Sprunt (or Sprunt) (d.1419) is believed to have come from Essex. He owned four tenements in Oxford: Garlandisplace in the parish of St Mary the Virgin; Crassewelplace (St Michael at the South Gate); Lollyplace (Waterhall, St Michael at the South Gate); 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 appointed Mayor for the first time in 1402, and was also a Justice. He was elected Mayor again in the four consecutive years from 1405 to 1408.
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.
Sprunt died on 17 July 1419 and was buried in the former Church of St Peter-le-Bailey.
Anthony Wood describes the monument to John Sprunt that stood in that church: on a brass fixed to a gravestone was the picture of a man and his wife, with the man’s feet on a dog couchant. A scroll at his mouth read, “Credo quod redemptor meus vivit” [”I believe that my Redeemer liveth”], and his wife finishes the text off with a scroll saying “et in carne mea videbo” [”and in my flesh shall I see God”].
The headless brass of Sprunt (left) still survives in the floor of the new St Peter-le-Bailey Church (now the chapel of St Peter’s College).
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.]
- Copy of John Sprunt’s will in archives of All Souls College
- Twyne, xxiii.613 (Court of frankpledge)