Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


John Dewe (1574–1640)

Mayor of Oxford 1626/7

John Dewe (or Dew/D’ewe) was baptised at All Saints’ Church on 31 December 1574, the son of John Dewe senior. John's younger sister Mary Dewe was baptised at the same church on 10 March 1576/7.

John's grandfather, John Dewe alias Sadler, was a husbandman of Wolvercote. John's father, who had been apprenticed to William Matthew, mercer and upholsterer, in about 1562, duly became an Oxford mercer and served as a Bailiff on the council until 1603: his shop in All Saints parish was between a tenement of All Souls College and a tenement of Magdalen College.

John Dewe junior was admitted free on 23 April 1614 and was awarded a Bailiff’s place, paying £6 13s. 4d., 4s. 6d., and 2s. 6d. Anthony Wood describes him as “servant to the Freers of Watereaton, afterwards innholder”.

Dewe appears to have had a first wife called Mary who was buried at St Martin’s Church on 17 February 1622/3.

Two months later, on 14 April 1623 at St Martin's Church, John Dewe married Mrs Joan Payne (the widow of former Mayor Walter Payne) in the same church; but she did not live for long after the marriage, and was buried at that church on 23 March 1623/4.

In the year 1622/3 council records show that John Dewe of the Roebuck (on the corner of Cornmarket Street and Market Street) was paid 18s. 6d. for “Mr Recorder’s charges in diett”, and the following year £8 6s. 10d, “for dynner and other thinges when the Commission for charitable uses was sate upon”. A Thomas Dewe was later landlord of the Roebuck, and it seems likely that this is John’s brother or nephew. This Thomas had seven children baptised at St Martin’s between 1625 and 1629, naming his firstborn John, and was still described as an innkeeper when he was buried at St Martin’s on 12 January 1639.

On 22 July 1624 John Dewe was elected one of the Thirteen, paying his £5, and two years later he was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1626/7). He recommended that Richard Astell alias Miles should be given a chamberlain’s place, and nominated John Arpyn as his Child.

Dewe returned to his place on the Mayor’s Council. On 29 August 1636 he sent a deputy to ride out to meet King Charles I, which suggests that he may have been unwell. He died just over three years later

† John Dewe was buried at St Martin’s Church on 24 February 1639/40.

In 1896 St Martin's Church was demolished (apart from its tower), and all bones uncovered were transferred to an unknown communal grave in Holywell Cemetery.

See also:

  • MS. Wills Oxon I Acct 107.58; 296/4/85

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 29 September, 2018

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