Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Roger Griffin (1625–1677)

Mayor of Oxford 1662/3

Roger Griffin (or Gryffin/Griffyn) was baptised at St Martin's Church at Carfax on 7 August 1625. He was the son of the whitebaker Roger Griffin senior (who was himself admitted on to the council in 1622) and his wife Ellen. Roger’s older sister Ellen had also been baptised at that church on 15 November 1621

On 8 August 1625, the day after Roger was baptised, his mother Ellen Griffin was buried at St Martin's Church.

Roger became by trade a draper.

On 16 May 1650 his father Roger Griffin senior was also buried inside St Martin’s Church. Roger, now aged 24, must have taken over his business. He also got married around this time

Griffin’s daughter Barbara was born on 27 September 1651. The baptismal entry below from St Martin’s Church reads: “Barbara Griffin ye daughter of Mr Roger Griffin was baptised October ye 23rd born Sept. ye 27th”.

Baptism of Barbara Griffin

Griffin’s son Roger was born on 6 October and baptised on 25 October 1652, but he only lived six weeks and was buried inside the church on 18 November 1652.

The following year, on 30 September 1651, Griffin was elected on to the Common Council, and the same day he expressed his desire for a Bailiff’s place, which he was given, paying £10 and £4 for his entrance fee. On 7 October 1651 he paid the usual fine of 3s. 4d. for not serving as Constable.

On 15 September 1656 Griffin was appointed Senior Bailiff.

On 3 June 1656 one of the Chamberlains, Seth Ireland, was suspended from the Council for divulging some council information which had particularly abused Griffin, but was readmitted the following March.

At the parliamentary election in April 1660, Griffin was one of the two people appointed “for takeing the voyces” for Lord Faulkland; on 10 May 1660 he was appointed one of the group to distribute wine, bread, and cakes at the proclamation in Oxford of Charles II as King of England; and on 14 May 1660 he and two others were appointed to take to Lord Faulkland a Remonstrance expressing their abhorrence at “the Murther committed upon the late King and expressing theire Duty and Loyalty to his Majestie that now is”. At the Coronation Day of Charles II on 23 April 1661, Griffin was one of the group providing entertainment, distributing bread to the poor, and organizing the wine that was to flow in Carfax Conduit: he put in a claim of 14 shillings for 14 dozen loaves of bread.

In September 1661 Griffin was appointed a Keykeeper, and on 23 April 1662 he was elected one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants. On 15 September 1662 he was elected Commissioner for Barges and Mayor (for 1662/3). He nominated the milliner Richard Souch as his Child and Walter Bonner alias Pitts as his Chamberlain, and the following April recommended that Ralph Saunders of Iffley should be admitted free and granted a Bailiff’s place.

Griffin was appointed an Alderman for the North-West ward in 1664 and took the oaths of obedience and supremacy on 7 October that year. From 1666, however, he represented the South-West ward.

Anthony Wood, when writing of Portmanmote Hall in St Martin’s parish, describes it as being in “Ginginer’s Place in S. Martin’s Parish where E. Griffyn now lives”. In 1665 Griffin paid tax on five hearths in St Martin’s parish in a house on the site of the present 38 Queen Street, and was assessed as follows for poll tax at that house in March 1667:

  • For himself: £1 1s. 0d. (£1 for his title and poll tax of one shilling)
  • For his wife Mrs Jane Griffin: poll tax of one shilling
  • For his daughter Ursula [should this read Barbara?] Griffin: poll tax of one shilling
  • For his servant Margaret Brent: three shillings (i.e. one shilling in the pound on her yearly wages of £2, plus poll tax of a shilling)

In the year 1668/9 Griffin claimed £3 from the council for a barrel of powder delivered by him to the trained bands for the City’s use, and in 1670/1 £24 5s. for what he disbursed for several necessaries at the fire in St Aldate’s.

On 13 January 1672/3 Griffin was appointed to attend on the Vice-Chancellor of the University to request that he waive the matriculation of Thomas Trapp a hatter, who had set up a shop in the city without being a freeman.

† Alderman Roger Griffin died on 2 July 1677 and was buried at St Martin’s Church, apparently on the same day. Anthony Wood recorded in his diary:

2 July, Munday, Roger Griffin, alderman, sometimes mayor of Oxford, died; aet. 57 or 58 [actually 52]. He was by trade a draper and son of Roger Griffin, baker. He married …; by her hath but one onlie daughter [presumably Ursula], married to …, son of Sir William Walker.

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.

In his will Griffin is described as being of St Martin’s and St Thomas’s parishes.

The Jane Griffin who was buried at St Martin’s Church on 23 September 1693 may be his widow.

See also:

  • MS Wills Oxon Bd I Acct 197.189; 166/2/11

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 28 September, 2018

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