Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


John Croney (c.1614–1694)

Mayor of Oxford 1692/3

John Croney (or Crony) was born in c.1614. He became an Oxford tallow-chandler on the site of the present 43 Cornmarket in St Michael’s parish.

Croney served as Constable for the North-West Ward in 1645/6.

John Croney and his wife Margaret had at least seven children (one stillborn) between 1647 and 1659. As Croney is recorded as having seven live children in March 1667, at least one is missing from the list below:

  • Stillborn child (buried at St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church on 24 November 1647)
  • Rachel Croney (baptised at St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church on 13 October 1648)
  • Jane Croney (born in about 1649, as her age is given as 42 when she was buried in All Saints’ Church on 17 January 1691/2)
  • John Croney (baptised at St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church on 27 April 1658, but according to his age at burial would have been born in 1653, and described as his eldest son)
  • William Croney (probably born around 1654)
  • Mary Croney (baptised at St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church on 8 November 1655)
  • Deborah Croney (assigned her father's lease in 1697)

John Croney was elected on to the Common Council on 30 September 1652. On 4 November that year he was fined for coming to a council meeting without his gown.

On 30 September 1653 the new Mayor, Thomas Williams, nominated Croney as his Child to have a Bailiff’s place.

On 2 September 1662 Croney refused to pay two shillings for two fines, and was dismissed from the house until he paid. On 12 September 1665, it was minuted that he had been absent for nearly three years for not paying a fine of one shilling, but that he was to be readmitted to his position without paying the fine and without paying any of the preachers’ money for the time past.

In 1665 Croney paid Hearth Tax on four hearths in St Michael’s parish (43 Cornmarket Street). He was assessed as follows for poll tax at this address in March 1667:

  • For himself: poll tax of one shilling
  • For his wife Margaret and his seven children: poll tax of one shilling each
  • For Jean Ruffyan his sister-in-law: poll tax of one shilling
  • For his apprentice Leonard Tipping: poll tax of one shilling

His apprentice Leonard Tipping was admitted free on 29 April 1672, and Thomas Tipping on 27 September 1678.

On 22 July 1672 Croney was distrained for not attending the previous council meeting, but this time his fine was waived as he gave a good excuse. On 15 September 1673, however, he was fined a shilling for not attending the Mayor in his gown to church, and on 15 December 1677 it was agreed that the Council would take action to bring him and others to their obedience for refusing to come to the Council in spite of several warnings. On 16 March 1677 Croney failed to take heed of that warning, and was fined ten shillings. Although on 12 April 1677 he was restored to his place in the house and his fines were remitted, on 16 July following he was fined 2s. 6d for defaulting at the previous council meeting, and 7s 6d. on 16 August.

Notwithstanding his poor attendance record, on 17 September 1677 Croney was elected Junior Bailiff. He failed to appear at the election, and the council agreed that he if should be absent on Michaelmas Day (the first day of the new council year) then he should be fined £100 and proceeded against, possibly before the King and the Council Board. This appears to have had the desired effect, as Croney remained as Junior Bailiff until the end of the year.

On 16 August 1680 John Croney was elected one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants, and took the usual oaths and paid £5. He then left the house without leave and refused to provide the customary entertainment for the house, and he was fined £20 for his neglect. This fine, however, was remitted the next month on 27 September.

On 1 September 1683 Croney was appointed a Keykeeper.

Anthony Wood records in his diary that that the daughter of John Croney of St Michael’s parish (possibly Mary, born 1655) was the servant of Wright Croke (son of Sir Richard Croke and later a barrister of the Inner Temple, who was living at Marston), and that they were married at the end of August 1684.

Crony’s eldest son, John Croney junior was admitted free on 22 March 1685, but died the following year, aged 33. He was described as being of St Peter-in-the-East parish and was buried in the middle aisle of St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church on 2 October 1686.

Crony's wife Margaret Croney died just over three months after her son at the age of 75 and was buried in the same aisle of the church on 19 January 1686/7.

On 16 February 1687/8 the Mayor produced a letter in which King James II ordered the removal of a number of officers, including Croney, from their council positions. Croney was present at this meeting, and immediately took leave of the house.

Croney was reinstated as one of the Mayor’s Assistants in September 1688, under His Majesty’s new charter to the City. On 1 August 1689 he was fined £2 for not attending a council meeting, and on 26 August it was agreed that legal proceedings should be taken against him for the recovery of this fine.

On 6 June 1692 John Croney resigned from the house, and the council agreed to accept his resignation on payment of £50, provided it was paid within one week. He evidently failed to pay, because on 19 September 1692 he was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1692/3). He came in as Mayor on 30 September and took the usual oaths, and Theodore Spencer was awarded a Chamberlain’s place as his Child.

John Croney died at the age of 80 on 1 December 1694 and was buried three days later in the middle aisle of St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church. He was described in the register as “Sumtime Mayor of this Citty”.

Croney’s family

William Croney junior

On 24 May 1695 the Council decided to consult the Recorder about commencing an action against John Croney’s heir William Croney, who refused to pay the £5 which should have been paid when John Croney left the office of Mayor.

In 1696 William Croney was listed as paying window tax on fifteen windows in St Michael’s parish (43 Cornmarket).

On 13 November 1698 at St John’s Church, William Croney married Mrs Mary Slatford, a widow, and continued the family chandlery business, sending his eldest son (another William) to another chandler, Thomas Slaymaker, to learn the trade in May 1718 but taking on his sons James and John himself in 1720 and 1722 respectively.

Croney’s daughter

Wood (I:196) records that Croney’s daughter was the maid of Wright Croke (Martin Wright’s grandson) who lived in Marston. At the end of August 1684, when he was about 26, Croke married her.

See also:

  • Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entries numbered 150, 256, 638, 973, 1061, 1153, 1170, and 1344

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 25 September, 2018

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