Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


John Hartley (d. 1596)

Mayor of Oxford 1580/1

John Hartley (Hartley) was an Oxford fuller, and later a woollen draper and fuller.

He lived in All Saints parish, and Anthony Wood describes a tenement there belonging to Lincoln College that was known as Ram Hall that was “the house sometimes of old Alderman Hartley, quare”.

Hartley took on many apprentices over the years (as a fuller, a woollen draper, or both, and once as a shearman). They included Richard Bramer of Quainton (24 June 1547); Richard Croke of Warwickshire (25 March 1554); Randal Potter of Lancashire (29 September 1554); Cuthbert Atkinson of Yorkshire (28 September 1855); Mark Wicks of Abingdon (24 June 1462); Marshall Howbarke of Oxford (1 November 1569); Francis Tunkes of Wolverhampton (25 March 1574); William Lanwarren of Dorset (24 June 1579); John Pearson of Cumbria (24 June 1583); and Henry Hall of Warwickshire (4 October 1587, subsequently cancelled).

Hartley compounded for the office of Chamberlain on 4 October 1554, paying £3 6s. 8d. On 5 November 1556 he was granted a lease by the council of “certen voyd ground within the wall est warde from St. Myghells Churche”. He appears to have held this land until his death, because in March 1606 his executors paid five shillings for a tenement within the Town Wall in St Michael’s parish.

In 1558/9 Hartley was one of the collectors of the subsidy. He was appointed Junior Bailiff on 29 September 1561, and on 10 November 1561 he and the Senior Bailiff were discommoned by the University because they had violated its privileges; but by 9 December they had achieved a reconciliation.

On 16 September 1562 Hartley was elected one of the 24 Associates to the Mayor.

Several of Hartley’s apprentices were admitted free in the 1560s: Randal Potter in 1562, Cuthbert Atkinson in 1563, and Mark Wyckes in 1568. There is no evidence in the baptism registers of All Saints’ Church that he had any children, but the burial registers show that a John Hartley, son of John, was buried there on 29 July 1565.

On 1 April 1568 Hartley paid five shillings toward the Lottery in the South-West ward.

On 19 January 1579/80 Hartley was elected an Alderman, and on 29 September 1580 Mayor (for 1580/1).

His first wife, Ellen Hartley, was buried at All Saints’ Church on 29 November 1583, according to the parish register. (Anthony Wood gives the date as 29 November 1590, but the former seems more likely).

His second wife, Joan Hartley, was buried there on 12 June 1595.

† Alderman John Hartley died in 1596 and was buried at All Saints’ Church on 10 April 1596 (Wood adds “iuxta duas uxores”). He left £10 to be lent interest-free to weavers, fullers, and other freemen.

In the mayoral year 1580/1 Thomas Hartley, the apprentice of the fuller William Jackson, was admitted free: it is possible that this was John Hartley’s son. A Thomas Hartley was buried at All Saints’ Church on 25 August 1611.

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 22 September, 2018

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