Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Richard Smith (c.1569–1618)

Mayor of Oxford 1616/17

Richard Smith (or Smyth or Smythe) was born in c.1569. He became an Oxford tailor.

He was admitted free on 27 March 1590 for 50s. and 4s. 6d, and took on six apprentices between 1590 and 1602: John Smith of Warborough (16 November 1590); William Godfrey of Berkshire (19 April 1590); Nicholas Beale of Great Haseley (19 May 1594); Anthony Fletcher of Little Milton (24 June 1596); and William and Thomas Maulton of Nottinghamshire (on 25 December 1599 and 24 August 1601 respectively).

He may be the Richard Smith who married Mary Browne at St Aldate’s Church on 18 July 1597 (although by the time of his death he was married to Anne). He had two sons: Isaac and John Smith.

Smith came on to the Common Council in October 1597, and was elected a Chamberlain in 1600 and Senior Bailiff in 1601.

On 21 August 1609 he was chosen one of the eight associates and was “sworn to the supremacy”.

The site of Wadham College was city property until 1610, when according to the wishes of King James I they sold it for £600 to provide a site for the college. In return the college promised that in the foundation of the college the city could nominate a fellow and two scholars.In December 1610 the council elected Smith’s son, Isaac, to a scholar’s place “in the Colledge to bee newlye founded by Mris. Wadham and others”. (Alumni Oxonienses shows that Isaac Smith was awarded his BA in May 1617 and MA in July 1620.)

In August 1611 Smith was fined forty shillings by the council for suing a freeman of the City at Westminster when he could have had justice in the Oxford city courts. In June 1612 he was one of the deputation sent to London about controversies between the City and University to be heard before the Privy Council.

In 1616 Richard Smith, still a tailor but now described as a gentleman, was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1616/17). On 8 August 1617 he was granted a lease by the Council of the house called Redcocks, “in which he now dwells”, for 41 years. (This was on the site of the present 118 High Street, in All Saints parish). In the same month Edmond Badger was admitted a freeman as his Child.

† Richard Smith died in 1618 and was buried at All Saints’ Church on 2 April

His wife Anne Smith was buried there on 26 March 1627.

On 10 December 1618 it is recorded in the council minutes:

Upon the opening of the matter in this howse touching securitie to be geven to the Citty on the behalf of young John Smith, late sonne of Mr Richard Smith, for a porcion of money of threescore pownds to be kept by the Citty and imployed for the education and profitt of the said orphan, it is this day agreed and this howse doe well like of it, if Mrs Anne Smith, wife of the said Mr Richard Smith, doe become bownd with Richard Bartlett, baker, Richard Scyers, shoemaker, and Richard Hore, shoemaker, for the payment of £20 yerely for three yeres, the said bonds to be made to be paid to Mr Oliver Smith and Mr John Willmott, to thuse of the said orphan.”

And on 22 January 1622:

As touching the £60 due to John Smith, son of Mr Richard Smith, deceased, which by former Act was ordered to remayne in the hands of Mr Alderman Smith and Mr Willmott, it is agreed that if Mrs Anne Smith shall put in securitie such as Mr Mayor shall approve and like well of for the educacion of the boy and repayment of the £60, and that shee doe pay to the Cittie the five pownds which was geven by Mr Richard Smith, her husband, by his last will, that then shee may have the use of the said £60.

(There is also an Oliver Smith, son of Richard Smith, who was baptised at St Aldate’s on 5 March 1611/12 and buried there on 7 May 1628: but he would have been a minor at the time of Smith’s death, and would probably have been treated similarly to John if he had been this Richard Smith’s son.)

See also:

  • MS Wills Oxon W. 195.329; 59/3/25

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 29 September, 2018

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