Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Tobias Payne (1665–1739)

Mayor of Oxford 1705/6 and 1715/16

Tobias Payne (or Pain or Paine) was born in Oxford on 14 July 1665. He was the youngest son of the brazier John Payne, who himself had been Mayor of Oxford in 1687, and his mother was probably Alice Emerson of Conrhill, London. His older brothers Thomas and John were born on 11 July 1656 and 11 September 1657 respectively.

Toby Payne followed the trade of his father and also an Oxford brazier and pewterer, remaining in All Saints parish.

Tobias Payne must have married in about 1688, and had the following children

  • John Payne (baptised on 1 February 1690/1 at All Saints’ Church)
  • Margaret Payne (baptised on 20 April 1694 at All Saints’ Church)
  • Jane Payne (baptised on 21 June 1695 at All Saints’ Church)
  • Elizabeth Payne (baptised on 9 January 1696/7 at All Saints’ Church)
  • Lucy Payne (baptised on 2 May 1698 at All Saints’ Church)
  • Thomas Payne (baptised on 7 January 1701/2 at All Saints’ Church)
  • William Payne (baptised on 29 March 1703 at All Saints’ Church)
  • James Payne (baptised on 24 March 1703/4 at All Saints’ Church)
  • Catherine Payne (baptised on 13 September 1705 at All Saints’ Church)
  • Ann Payne (baptised on 25 May 1707 at All Saints’ Church)
  • George Payne (baptised on 26 June 1709 at All Saints’ Church)
  • Richard Payne (baptised on 1 October 1710 at All Saints’ Church)
  • Robert Payne (baptised on 31 January 1711/12 at All Saints’ Church)
  • There was also at least one more daughter, Frances.

A number of Payne’s children appear to have died in babyhood, but there is some uncertainty as the burial register does not state relationships or ages.

His father John Payne died in 1689 and Tobias inherited his shop, which was on the north side of the High Street between the Mitre and the present market. He paid tax on 16 windows there in 1696.

Payne was chosen as one of the 24 members of the Common Council on 30 September 1692, paying the usual fine of 3s. 4d. for not serving as High Constable. In 1693 he was appointed a Keykeeper; in 1694 one of the two Chamberlains; and in 1696 Junior Bailiff.

In 1703 Tobias Payne was chosen as one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants and on 13 September 1705 was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1705/6), selecting Henry Lea (or Lay) as his Child.

Payne returned to his position of Mayor’s Assistant, and took on an apprentice brazier, John Warwick, in December 1710.

In September 1715 Tobias Payne was chosen Mayor a second time (for 1715/16), selecting Henry Kirby as his Child. Thomas Hearne approved of the choice of Payne, “who is a Brazier, [&] hath ye Character of a pretty honest Man”.

Payne returned to being Mayor’s Assistant again after his year of office, and in March 1718 he took on his own son James, who was now 14, as an apprentice brazier. In 1720 Payne was appointed a Justice of the Peace.

On 2 September 1726 it was reported that:

Mr Pain, one of the eight assistants, had in a public and scandalous manner been arrested by one Richard Johnson on a ‘mesne press’ contrary to the privilege and against the custom of the City. It is agreed that the said Johnson be prosecuted as the Recorder shall advise.”

This arrest was probably in connection with a Chancery suit between the Council and a Mrs Sawyer, who demanded some money back which the council maintained belonged to her husband and not to her.

In September 1729 Payne took on a third apprentice, William Collison; but this apprenticeship was cancelled by mutual consent in May 1733.

He remained a Mayor’s Assistant until his death.

† Tobias Payne died in 1639 and was buried at All Saints’ Church on 6 September that year.

The widow Margaret Payne of St Ebbe’s who listed in the All Saints burial register on 4 November 1754 may be Payne’s wife.

A plaque in All Saints’ Church commemorates Tobias Payne’s daughter Frances Phipps, the wife of William Phipps.

See also:

  • John Payne, Mayor in 1687 (his father)
  • MS.Wills Oxon. W.Bd. 210.383; 110.15; 145/4/32
  • Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entries numbered 706, 1024, and 1418

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 24 November, 2019

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