Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Ralph Flexney II (c. 1558–1624)

Mayor of Oxford 1612/13

Ralph Flexney (or Flaxney) II was born in Oxford in c.1558. He was the son of the Oxford chandler Richard Flexney (and probably the nephew of Ralph Flexney I, an earlier Mayor of Oxford whose brother was called Richard). Anthony Wood says that Ralph's mother was Margaret Woodward, the daughter of the Mayor Edward Woodward. She had had had two earlier marriages: first to William Cogan and then to the Mayor Edmund Irish (d.1556).

On 25 March 1566 Ralph was apprenticed for eight years to the Oxford butcher Richard Ladiman, with the promise of double apparel and 40s. at the end of this term. He was admitted free in the mayoral year 1575–6.

On 8 June 1579 at St Aldate's Church, Ralph Flexney married his first wife Agnes Smith: she was the daughter of Thomas Smith, who was himself three times Mayor of Oxford. Agnes died the following year, and was buried at St Aldate's Church on 18 July 1580.

When his apprentice William Sergeante was admitted free on 21 September 1586, Flaxney was described as a chandler rather than a butcher.

On 30 November 1586 at St Aldate's Church, Ralph Flexney married his second wife, Beatrice (or Betonie) Jennings, and they had the following children:

  • Margaret Flexney (baptised on 8 March 1588/9 at St Aldate’s Church)
  • Susanna Flexney (baptised on 22 January 1590/1 at St Aldate’s Church)
  • Thomas Flexney (baptised on 6 November 1594 at St Aldate’s Church), described as eldest son
  • Richard Flexney (baptised on 5 December 1596 at St Aldate’s Church)
  • Mary Flexney I (baptised on 12 September 1599 at St Aldate’s Church;
    buried there on 8 September 1600)
  • Anne Flexney (baptised on 31 December 1601 at St Aldate’s Church)
  • Mary Flexney II (baptised on 6 April 1606 at St Aldate’s Church).

Flexney was first elected on to the Common Council in April 1587, and was promoted to Bailiff in 1591.

In January 1601 he was elected as one of the Thirteen on the Mayor’s inner council, and in September 1612 he was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1612/13). At the end of his year of office, he requested that William Chillingworth, a mercer, should have a Bailiff’s place gratis.

On 5 September 1615 his second wife, Beatrice or Betonie Flexney, was buried at St Aldate’s Church.

Ralph Flexney continued to serve on the Mayor’s Council until his death.

† Alderman Ralph Flexney died in mid-1624 and was buried at St Aldate’s Church on 12 July that year. Anthony Wood records the following inscriptions to him and his two wives on the north wall of the chancel of that church:

Ralph Flexney, Alderman, somtimes Mayor of Oxford, buried 12 July 1624
Agnes, wife of Ralf Flexney, daughter of Thomas Smith by Rose his wife, buried 18 July, 1580
Betonie, 2nd wife of Ralf Flexney, buried 5 Sept. 1615

In his will he made bequests to his sons Thomas and Richard and his daughters Anne and Mary

See also:

  • Ralph Flexney I, Mayor of Oxford 1551/2, 1552/3, 1562/3, 1577/8
  • PCC Will PROB 11/145/498 (Will of Raphe Flexney, Gentleman of Oxford, proved 13 April 1625)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 27 September, 2018

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