Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Richard Bryan (c.1538–after 1611)

Mayor of Oxford 1605/6

Richard Bryan (or Brian/Bryand/Bryant) was born in c.1538, the son of Richard Bryan senior, a baker of Henley-on-Thames.

On 24 August 1550 Richard was apprenticed for eight years to the mercer John Wayte and his wife, with the promise of double apparel and 20s. at the end of the term.

Richard Bryan was admitted free as a Hanaster in the mayoral year 1559–60. He then moved away from Oxford, which meant he forfeited his freedom; but he was readmitted on 10 April 1573, as this extract from the council records shows:

Rychard Bryan. Hytt ys agreed at this Counsell that Rycharde Bryan of the Cytie of Oxford, brewer, shalbe admytted agayne to be free of the guylde of this Cytie for the som of xs wch he hathe payde to the Chamberlens of the same Cytie, and iiijs vjd wch he hathe payde for the offycers fees of the same Cytye; and so ys admytted agayne and sworne.

Forfeiture of Fredom Md that the saide Richard was ons free before of this Cytie by reason he hadd bene an apprentis, and admytted into the fredom, but because he departed away forthe of the Cytye, and left no coffer nor other suffycyent thing wheareuppon any distresse mgiht be takne to pay scott and lott, and all other taxes and tallages, theirefore he lost his fredom, and was dreven to compound anewe for the same freedom agayne, and to be newly admytted.

On his return to Oxford, Richard Bryan took up the trade of a brewer, and swiftly took on two apprentices: Thomas Lawrence of Edgeware (21 December 1573) and William Gell of Wiltshire (21 December 1574).

Bryan came on to the Common Council on 29 September 1574, and was elected Chamberlain in 1576 and Senior Bailiff in 1578.

His apprentices Jerome Grene and and Thomas Lawrence were admitted free in the years 1580–1 and 1582–3 respectively.

In August 1584 Bryan was granted a lease of tenements on the north side of the Castle mills.

On 19 April 1593 Bryan was admitted to brew by the University.

In June 1595 he was chosen one of the thirteen Associates of the Mayor’s Council, paying £5 to the use of the City.

In September 1605 Richard Bryan was appointed Mayor (for 1605/6), and at the end of his term he requested that a Chamberlain’s place should be granted to Morris Pryce.

In 1606 a Richard Bryan was described as the innholder of the Bear Inn in Alfred Street.

In September 1608 Bryan was elected Alderman, paying £10 to the use of the City and giving twenty shillings and a new purse to the Macebearer, according to ancient custom.

In July 1611 it was agreed that “fyve pounds shalbee given unto Mr Alderman Bryan after such tyme he shall resigne his Aldermanshippe and another Alderman is chosen into his place; and in September that “£6 13s 4d shalbee allowed unto Mr Alderman Brian uppon resignacion of his Aldermanshippe”.

† Alderman Richard Bryan died after mid-1611, but his burial has not been found.

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 25 September, 2018

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