Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Richard Kent (fl. 1490)

Mayor of Oxford 1492/3, 1493/4, 1496/7, 1501/2, 1502/3, 1508/9, and 1511/12

Richard Kent was an Oxford draper. He was on the “Concilium maioris” in 1474, and was elected a bailiff in 1475 and an Alderman in 1485.

In June 1491 Alderman Richard Kent and his wife Joan leased to the butcher Thomas Baistow a tenement in Grandpont, a new shop in the south side of St Mary’s Street (to the west of another tenement belonging to Kent), and a meadow near Osney called Mynchyn Mede.

Richard Kent was elected Mayor of Oxford for 1492/3, 1493/4, and 1496/7.

In 1500 Kent appears several times in the Chancellor’s Court, indicating that he was a tradesman to the University. In that year he rebuilt the house off the High Street that is the present Chequers pub as a tavern, known as Kent's Hall..

Richard Kent was elected Mayor again for 1501/2, 1502/3, and 1508/9. He was therefore Mayor on 24 June 1509, the date of Henry VIII’s coronation, but it is not clear whether he attended the Coronation and performed Oxford mayor’s traditional role of butler at the Coronation feast. Around this time he was described as a merchant.

Kent appears in a list of Justices of the Peace in February 1510/11, and when he was elected Mayor for the seventh time on 29 September 1511 (for 1511/12), he was presented to the Barons of the Exchequer by John Ashley and John Snowe.

Anthony Wood records that Alderman Richard Kent owned Kemp Hall (“rather Kent’s Hall”) in the reign of Henry VIII (1509–1547), but that he sold it in about 1546 to William Frere. Alderman Kent would have have been aged about 96 in that year, and Wood may be confusing him with his son of the same name: this son was cited in the Chancellor’s Court in 1501 for preventing John Botewell of Monks’ Risborough from supplying scholars in the country.

† Richard Kent died at some point after 1512.


©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 26 August, 2020

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