Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


William Banister (d. 1540)

Mayor of Oxford 1537/8 and 1538/9

William Banister (or Banaster/Banastre/Banester/Bannister/Banyster) was admitted free in the mayoral year of 1520/1, and was elected on to the Common Council on 29 September 1521.

In the lay subsidy of 1524, Banister paid five shillings in the parish of St Mary Magdalen. In September that year he was one of the two people who presented the new Mayor to the Barons of the Exchequer.

Banister was elected Junior Bailiff on 29 September 1526. In 1532 he was one of six people chosen to go to London and deliver a submission to the King (Henry VIII).

Banister was elected Alderman on 29 September 1536, and Mayor in 1537 (for 1537/8). The following year he was elected Mayor again (for 1538/9).

† Alderman William Banister died in 1540, and there appears the following payment in an account of the churchwardens of St Mary Magdalen parish: “Reed for the buriall of Mr Will. Banister, late Maior, 6s8d”; and on 1 June 1540:

Mr Mayre and the Counsell hathe agreed wt Amy Banyster, late the wyffe of William Banyster, late Mayre of the Towne of Oxford, for the hole accompts for hys ij yeres mayreraltye, all things clerly counted, acquyted, and dyscharged; the seyd Amy byndethe herself to paye xli, whereof she hathe payd in hande cs to be pd at Ester next commyng.

The other William Banisters

  • On 18 November 1503, a William Banister was ordered in the Chancellor’s Court to pay a statutory penalty of 5s. 4d. to Joan Wem in fortnightly instalments of 6d.: this may be the Mayor’s father.
  • A William Banister was one of the Proctor’s servants in 1530 and 1532.
  • A William Banister who could be the Mayor’s son was admitted free in the mayoral year 1534/5.
  • In 1543 Dr John London, the chief agent in Oxford for the Dissolution of the local religious houses, asked that a William Banister, who “had nothing but 4d. a day from the King”, might be given the Whitefriars’ site for life, but the request was not granted.

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 29 September, 2018

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