Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Michael Cripps (c.1652–1723)

Mayor of Oxford 1704/5

Michael Cripps (or Creeps/Crips/Cripse/Gripes) was born in c.1652. He became a milliner of St Ebbe’s parish, on land formerly attached to 36–38 Church Street.

His parentage is uncertain. He could be the son of the Michael Cripps (described as a gentleman) who in 1667 paid poll tax for himself and his wife and three children in a property at the east of Ship Street in St Michael’s parish; but only two of that man's three children appear to have been baptised in his parish church (Robert on 8 June 1655 and Samuel on 7 October 1657).

Michael Cripps himself had at least four children:

  • Martha Cripps (baptised on 30 January 1674/5 at St Martin’s Church)
  • Hester Cripps (baptised on 4 October 1677 at St Martin’s Church)
  • Francis Cripps baptised on 27 November 1683 at St Martin’s Church;
    buried there on 15 August 1688)
  • Michael Cripps (buried on 7 November 1683 at St Martin’s Church).

Cripps was selected as the Mayor’s Child by William Morrell in October 1677 and took up a Chamberlain’s place.

In September 1681 he was made Senior Bailiff.

On 1 August 1689 he was fined £1 for not appearing at Council, but the fine was remitted on 23 September after he assured the council that he would “in future conform to the rules of the house”.

In 1696 Cripps paid tax on four windows in St Martin’s parish

By 1701 Cripps was a Keykeeper as well as a Bailiff, and was chosen as one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants.

In 1702 Cripps with three others was “discommoned” by the University for alleged misbehaviour and violence against the Duke of Somerset at the Eastgate. The council voted to defend them at the City’s expense, and eventually the University gave the four men

full liberty of tradeing and contracting with its members, upon Condition yt the City do by some Act (which may to posterity appear to be an Act of their corporation) own yt the University have a right of precedency in all publick processions, and of goeing next to the Person of ye King or Queen or any of ye Royall family whensoever they make any Publick entrance into this University and City.

On 29 September 1704, Michael Cripps was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1704/5), selecting the mercer Hugh Hopkins as his Child and John Freeman as his Chamberlain.

He then returned to serving as a Mayor’s Assistant until his death.

On 16 August 1718 a Martha Cripps was buried at St Ebbe’s Church: this could either be Cripps’s daughter of that name or his wife.

† Michael Cripps died in 1723 and was buried at St Ebbe’s Church on 13 May that year. The board on the wall of that church shown below lists him as a benefactor:

Cripps's benefaction, St Ebbe's

Mr MICHAEL CRIPS sometime Mayor of this City gave
Ten Twelve penny Loaves Yearly, to Ten poor Housekeep-
ers of this Parish, who do not receive Alms, to be distri-
buted at the Discretion of the Church-Wardens, and Over-
seers of the poor on Christmass Eve.

See also:

  • MS. Wills Oxon W. Ren. Bd. I. 107.350; 207.372; 122/2/3

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 25 September, 2018

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