Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Humphrey Boddicott (1600–1660)

Elected Mayor of Oxford in 1647

Humphrey Boddicott (or Bodicot/Bodicot/Bodicote/Bodicut/Budwit) was born in Bicester in 1600. He was the son of the Bicester yeoman Edmund Boddicott, and his mother was probably called Elizabeth. The following Boddicott baptisms took place in Bicester during the relevant period, and it is possible that they are all Humphrey’s siblings:

  • Henry Boddicott (baptised on 15 August 1585 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • Thomas Boddicott (baptised on 25 December 1586 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • John Boddicott (baptised on 6 August 1588 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • Edward Boddicott (baptised on 3 March 1589/90 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • Anne Boddicott (baptised on 15 February 1591/2 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • Thomas Boddicott (baptised on 30 September 1593 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • Edmund Boddicott I (baptised on 7 November 1595 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester,
    buried there in 1597)
  • William Boddicott (baptised on 3 November 1597 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • AliceBoddicott (baptised on 11 November 1599 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • Humphrey Boddicott (baptised on 8 March 1600 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • Jane Boddicott (baptised on 20 March 1602 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • Simond Boddicott (baptised on 28 April 1605 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • Adrye Boddicott (baptised on 28 June 1607 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester)
  • Edmund Boddicott II (baptised on 22 April 1610 at St Edburg's Church, Bicester), described as “Edmundus filius Edmundi”.

It appears that Humphrey’s father Edmund Boddicott was buried at Bicester on 3 January 1610, when Humphrey was only ten years old. This means that his youngest brother, Edmund, was probably born posthumously.

On 11 March 1615, at the age of 15, Humphrey Boddicott was apprenticed for nine years to Francis Harris, a vinter at the Mermaid (formerly the Swindlestock) Tavern at Carfax. When his master died in the middle of 1623, it was agreed that Boddicott should serve the remainder of his apprenticeship with Francis Harris junior, who had succeeded his father at the Mermaid.

Boddicott was admitted free on 23 January 1626 and must have set up trade for himself soon afterwards, as he took on his first apprentice on 12 June 1626. He did not hold one of the three city wine licences, and it appears that he was licensed by the University. On 10 October 1627 he resigned his own licence, and was then licensed to act as innkeeper for Mrs Martha Rogers, the widow of Christopher Rogers, M.A. (the Principal of New Inn Hall),and formerly the widow of John Garbrand.

On 18 June 1626 at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Chapel (with the marriage recorded in the register of St Mary-the-Virgin Church), Humphrey Boddicott married his first wife Anne Penne. They had four daughters:

  • Anne Boddicott I (baptised on 20 August 1627 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church:
    appears to have died)
  • Margaret Boddicott (baptised on 5 January 1628/9 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church)
  • Anne Boddicott II (baptised on 16 July 1631 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church)
  • Elizabeth Boddicott (baptised on 6 December 1633 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church).

Humphrey Boddicott was elected on to the Common Council on 29 September 1631, paying the usual fine of 3s. 4d. to avoid serving as Constable. About that time Lord Goringe obtained a patent from the Crown to grant wine licences in Oxford, and Boddicott evidently sought to obtain a wine licence in his own name from him:

Memorandum that whereas Humfy Bodicott hath agreed with me for a license to sell wines in ye citie of Oxford for ye life of himself & Anne his wyfe, And that he is to pay rent from Christmas next cominge, I do hereby promise that ye said License shall be sent downe under ye Great seale forthwith, And therefore authorize ye said Humfry or his assigns to draw wines in Oxford aoresaid without prejudice either to him or them for their so doinge. Witnexx my hand this second day of December. Goringe.

His first tavern, which he ran until 1636) is unknown, and it appears that it only had the sign of the simple vinter’s bush, which he later used on his tokens.

In September 1633 Francis Harris, his former employer, took up the office of Mayor, and on 2 November he nominated Humphrey Boddicott as his Chamberlain.

In 1635 Humphrey Boddicott’s first wife Anne Boddicott died, and she was buried at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 27 November.

The Elizabeth Boddicott, described as “wife of Edmund” who was buried at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 23 August 1636, may have been his mother.

On 20 September 1636 Humphrey Boddicott was elected Senior Bailiff.

On 6 November 1639 Boddicott took a lease from University College of a tavern opposite All Souls College, which during his tenure appears to have become known as the Three Tuns. It stood on part of the site of the present westernmost section of University College, and Boddicott remained here for the rest of his life. It was patronized more by Town than Gown, and Anthony Wood paid many visits there between 1657 and 1666: there are entries in his diary such as “spent at Bodicote’s Tavern with my cozen John Drope, 7d.”.

On 14 June 1645 Boddicott was elected one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants. In April 1646 he lent £20 towards the payment of the soldiers of the garrison.

On 20 September 1647 Humphrey Boddicott was elected Mayor of Oxford for 1647/8, and ten days later took the mayoral oath (which had hitherto been taken at Westminster in London) in the Guildhall in Oxford. It was the shortest mayoral term ever in Oxford, however, as it only lasted four days. On 4 October 1647 John Nixon, who had been Mayor the previous year, took up the position of Mayor again “according to an order of the House of Commons”, and it was agreed that

the twoe Orders of the Honourable House of Commons which were sent to this Citie for the Continuance of the old Mayor and Bayliffes in theire places untill further order, shalbe entred into a Booke.

The assumption is that Boddicott, whose candidacy for Mayor was supported by Alderman Francis Harris (his former employer who had chosen him as his Chamberlain fourteen years before) was a Royalist. Also by order of Parliament Boddicott was not allowed to remain a member of the house, and lost his place as an Assistant.

On 1 January 1649 Humphrey Boddicott renewed the wine licence of Mrs Rogers for the next ten years; but later that year he married again: his new wife was Judith Potter (born 1602), the daughter of William Potter (Mayor in 1610, 1618, and 1623). Miss Potter had been given a wine licence by her father in 1624, and Boddicott was henceforth able to use hers. Anthony Wood reports that in 1649 Boddicott provided wine to the value of £5 1s. 8d. for the banquet in honour of Thomas, Lord Fairfax.

† Humphrey Boddicott died in 1655 (between 19 May when he signed his will and 27 June when it was proved), so he did not benefit from the 1660 annulment of the Act that had banned him and other members from the Council.

In his will, he divided his estate into four, to be shared by his second wife Judith Boddicott and his three unmarried daughters Margaret, Anne, and Elizabeth.

His second wife Judith Boddicott carried on running the Three Tuns on her own until 1664, when her wine licence was transferred to Anthony Hall. She was buried at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 6 June 1665. On 28 March 1666 Anthony Wood wrote, “At Dick Pont’s new tavern, viz. at Bodicot’s where he began to sell wine the 26 day”.

Humphrey Boddicott’s three surviving daughters
  • Elizabeth Boddicott (baptised in 1633) was buried at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 8 January 1662/3.
  • Margaret Boddicott married John Whitehall at Charlton on Otmoor on 14 July 1688. “Mrs Whitehall” was buried at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 1 April 1687, a fact confirmed by Anthony Wood (III:217)
  • Wood mentions that another of Boddicott’s daughters (presumably Anne) had married John Cross (III:217).

See also:

  • H. E. Salter, Surveys and Tokens, pp. 385–9, and tokens numbered 27 and 28 with “HUMPHRY BODICOTT” around an image of a vinter’s bush on the obverse, and “VINTENER IN OXON” around an image of three tuns on the reverse
  • PCC Will PROB 11/248/315 (Will of Humfrey or Humphrey Boddicott or Boddycott, Vintner of Oxford, proved 27 June 1655)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 September, 2019

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