Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Sir Edward Woodward (d. 1496)

Mayor of Oxford 1480/1, 1481/2, 1483/4, 1487/8, 1488/9, and 1494/5

Edward Woodward (or Wodeward) is presumably the Edward Woodward to whom Robert Atwood (Mayor in 1454) left the oversight of his shop. He was certainly the owner of the King’s Head inn (then Pery Hall) in St Martin’s parish.

Woodward and his wife Maude had four sons and six daughters.

Woodward was elected Junior Bailiff on the Council in 1467. He was chosen as one of the four Aldermen in 1476, 1478, 1485, and 1490.

Woodward was knighted before 1480, and was chosen Mayor of Oxford six times between 1480 and 1494. He was also elected Member of Parliament for Oxford in 1491.

Woodward was a big landowner, holding property in eight Oxfordshire towns or villages. At an unknown date he appointed John Smyth of Deddington and Ralf Palton to be his attorneys to receive from John Shelton “peaceful seisin” of the lands he had bought from him in Deddington, and in 1493 he sold to the parson of Over Worton a tenement and a yard of arable land and mede he owned there. In 1496 he granted 34 St Aldate’s to three gentlemen.

† Sir Edward Woodward died on 20 October 1496 and was buried in St Martin’s Church at Carfax.

Anthony Wood describes the fine monument to Woodward and his family built of Burford stone that stood in the former St Martin’s Church. It showed a man in a gown with his four sons kneeling behind him, out of whose mouth came the words “Sancta Trinitas, unus deus, miserere nobis” opposite his wife, with her four daughters behind her, saying “Sancta virgo virginum, ora pro nobis”. The brass plate beneath had already been removed in Wood’s time, but he says that “through my curious researches I find that the contents showed that we were to

pray for the soule of Edward Wodeward somtimes alderman and severall times mayor of this towne, as also for the soule of Maud his wife: which Edward died xx Octob. anno MCCCCLXXXXVI.

In 1896 St Martin's Church was demolished (apart from its tower), and all bones uncovered were transferred to an unknown communal grave in Holywell Cemetery.

Woodward bequeathed 40s. per annum “for an honest priest to kepe the quire and sing masse over his grave”. He also left the town of Oxford a shop at Carfax (identified by H. E. Salter as the Swyndlestock Tavern) of the yearly rent of 13s. 4d.

His widow Maude Woodward remarried: her second husband was another Mayor, William Bulcombe.

Anthony Wood gives some information about two of the children of Edward and Maude Woodward:

  • Lionel Woodward of Abingdon had a son named Thomas who lived at Filkins
  • Margaret Woodward, his youngest daughter, married William Cogan, the son of William Cogan, Mayor of Bristol, and they took over the King’s Head inn after Woodward’s death. They had several children, including Thomas Cogan, and Agnes Cogan (who married Ralph Flexney I), and Joan (born November 1556), Her second husband was Edmund Irish: they had no children and she was left a widow a second time. She then married Richard Flexney, and was the mother of Ralph Flexney II.

See also:

  • PCC Will PROB 11/11/126 (Will of Edward Wodeward, Alderman of Oxford, proved 29 November 1496)
  • Wood’s City of Oxford, Vol. III, pp. 170–2 (which takes the genealogy further)
  • Biography not yet available on the History of Parliament website

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 September, 2019

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