Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


John Payne (c.1630–1689)

Mayor of Oxford 1687/8

John Payne (or Paine) was born in c.1630, and had sisters called Katherine and Elizabeth.

He became an Oxford brazier, and on 9 September 1656, when he was a young man, he was one of the first five recipients to have a share in the £50 given to the city by Mrs Mary Brett to be let out on good security to five freemen. On 20 May 1658 Anthony Wood recorded in his diary, “For 1 brass peices of coine of yong Paine the tinker, 2d.

On 13 August 1655 at St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church in Oxford, John Payne of All Saints parish married Alice Emerson of Cornhill, London. They had three sons:

  • Thomas Payne (born on 11 July 1656 as recorded in the All Saints baptismal register)
  • John Payne (baptised on 11 September 1657 at All Saints’ Church)
  • Tobias Payne (born on 14 July 1665, as recorded in the All Saints baptismal register).

As Payne was a brazier, he may well be the “Mr Payne” who during the Commonwealth (1649–1660) bought for £2 1s. the monumental brasses (weighing 112lbs) that were torn from the old All Saints’ Church.

In 1665 Payne paid tax on three hearths in All Saints parish, and was assessed as follows for poll tax there in March 1667:

  • For himself, his wife, and his two children [Thomas and John]: poll tax of one shilling each
  • For his apprentices Thomas Collis and Anne Mathews: poll tax of one shilling each
  • For his servant Sarah Cupper: three shillings (i.e. one shilling in the pound on her yearly wages of £2, plus poll tax of a shilling)

Payne was elected on to the Common Council on 1 October 1666, and came in and took the oaths on 15 October, paying the usual fine of 3s. 4d. for not serving as head Constable.

On 12 March 1668 his apprentice brazier Thomas Coles or Collis was admitted free.

On 30 September 1670 he was chosen by the new Mayor Francis Greneway as his Chamberlain. On 16 September 1672 he was elected Senior Bailiff. On 14 September 1674 Payne was fined five shillings for going out of the house before the Mayor’s election was over.

On 22 April 1681 his apprentice brazier Sampson Bond was admitted free.

On 2 October 1684 Payne was chosen as one of the Mayor’s Assistants

On 19 September 1687 John Payne was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1687/8). He chose Robert Aldworth as his Child and Edward Reade as his Chamberlain. There are no council records between 18 May and 25 September 1688, as the city was now governed by nominees of King James II. Two-thirds of the way through his term of office, on 6 June 1688, Payne was ejected from the council by the King.

On 25 September 1688 the King's new Charter for the city was produced and publicly read in the Guildhall, and in pursuance of this Richard Carter who was therein nominated Mayor took over immediately from Payne, a few days earlier than usual.

On 29 October 1688, however, Payne was reinstated as a Bailiff, and it was agreed he could have the fishing days traditionally awarded to the Mayor within the following month. He died the following spring

John Payne died in 1689 (“on Easter day at night”, according to Wood) and was buried at All Saints’ Church on 2 April that year.

His youngest son Tobias Payne took over his business, and was eventually himself elected Mayor.

See also:

  • PCC Will PROB 11/395/41 (Will of John Payne or Paine, Gentleman of Oxford, proved 13 April 1689)
  • Tobias Payne, Mayor of Oxford in 1705 and 1715 (his son)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 January, 2021

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