Mayor of Oxford 1711/12, 1718/19, and 1730/1
Henry Wise (1665–1741) was the eldest son of the second marriage of John Wise (a yeoman of Drayton St Leonard) and Fleur (daughter of John Harrison of Beech Hill, Berkshire). He was educated at Dorchester Grammar School.
His portrait (left) shows him in 1711.
Wise was an Oxford mercer. He married Mary Trollopp at St Aldate’s Church on 29 April 1697, and in September that same year took
In September 1699 Wise was given a chamberlain’s place as the Mayor’s Child by the Mayor, Sir Robert Harrison (who may have been a relative of his mother). He paid 3s. 4d. for not being Constable, and was immediately granted a Bailiff’s place, paying £5 to be spent on wine. A year later he was appointed Junior Bailiff.
In November 1700 Wise took on William Aris as his apprentice, followed by William Collyson in January 1707/8. The latter transferred to Thomas Lawrence to learn the chandlery trade instead in March 1710/11, and Wise took on another new apprentice, Richard Hinde, in June 1713.
Wise must have married his wife Mary in the late 1690s. At first they lived in St Martin’s parish, but by 1706 they appear to have moved to St Michael’s (although family burials took place in St Peter-in-the-East Church). They had the following children:
- John (baptised at St Martin’s Church on 30 March 1699/1700, baptised 7 April 1699/1700)
- Henry (baptised at St Martin’s Church on 2 November 1701, and buried at St Peter-in-the-East on 15 June 1710)
- Mary (baptised at St Martin’s Church on 21 November 1703, buried at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 19 May 1704).
- Thomas (born on 4 November 1706, baptised at St Michael’s Church on 24 November 1706)
- Elizabeth (Mrs Lowe): no obvious baptism, but mentioned on Wise’s memorial.
In 1702 Wise inherited a considerable part of the family fortune on the death of his father.
On 23 February 1711 Wise was appointed one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants, and on 19 September that year commenced his first term as Mayor. During his mayoralty, on 3 January 1712, he was elected Alderman. He chose Abraham Rousier as his Child.
On 3 April 1718 Wise’s eldest son, John, was matriculated at the University of Oxford from Brasenose College at the age of 15. He obtained his BA three years later in 1721.
On 15 September 1718 Wise commenced his second term as Mayor, proposing that John Knibb should have a Chamberlain’s place.
In November 1720 Wise took on John Austin as his apprentice, and then in January 1722/3 his own son Thomas, who was aged about 15.
In 1726, according to Thomas Hearne, Wise stood again for Mayor against Sir John Boyce, and lost by a great majority. None the less, on 14 September 1730 he was elected again for a third term, choosing John Smith as his Chamberlain and John Treacher as his Chamberlain.
On 14 November 1728 Wise’s eldest son died at the age of 28. Described as “Mr John Wise of Brasenose College”, he was buried at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 22 November 1728.
On 6 December 1732 Wise was chosen Barge Commissioner.
On 28 May 1737 Wise’s daughter Elizabeth married William Low of St Clement’s at St Michael’s Church.
Wise died on 9 October 1741at the age of 76 according to the plaque below, which is on the wall of the Church of St Peter-in-the-East. But there is a mystery here: the burial register of the church states that Alderman Wise was buried there on 12 April 1741, and the latter seems likely, as a replacement Alderman for Wise was sworn in on 13 April 1741. The plaque appears to have been put up after the death of his daughter Elizabeth 25 years later, when precise details could have been forgotten.
Iuxta deponuntur Reliquiæ
Hujus Civitatis Aldermanni
Obiit Die 9o Octobris 1741
Ætatis suæ 76.
Iuxta quoque requiescit Maria
Uxor ejus, quæ obiit Ian: 19o
1752, Ætatis suæ 76.
Necnon Iohannes Henrici et
Maria Filius, qui ob: 14o
Novembris 1728. Ætatis suae 28.
In eodem etiam Sepulchro
Sita est ELIZ: LOWE
Hen: et Mar: Filia
Obiit Oct: 2. 1766
[Near this place lie the remains of HENRY WISE, Alderman of this City, who died on 9 October 1741 aged 76. Also nearby rests Mary his wife, who died on 19 January 1752, aged 76. Also John, the son of Henry and Mary, who died on 14 November 1728 at the age of 28. In the same tomb has been placed ELIZABETH LOWE, Daughter of Henry and Maria, who died on 2 October 1766]
Wise left most of his wealth and property to his son Thomas. He also left £250 to his granddaughter Frances (who married Joseph Gauntlett at Ardington on 10 November 1771), and 3/- a week (payable on Mondays) to his granddaughter Constance. There is a mysterious condition to the latter legacy, namely that she should not “dwell in the same house with John Wise of Oxford, Banker or to hold any connection or correspondence with him, either by word of mouth or writing or otherwise” on pain of loosing the annuity.
The portrait on the left is inscribed on the frame “Alderman Henry Wise, 1711”, but was originally identified as another Mayor of Oxford, Thomas Wise.
It has now been identified as the portrait of John Harris, but it is dubious
- Richard Wise, Mayor in 1716
- Thomas Wise, Mayor in 1746 (his son)
- Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entries numbered 182, 527, 776, 1071, 1152, and A40
- Possible portrait of Henry Wise in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, Oxford
- PCC Will PROB 11/709 (Will of Henry Wise, Gentleman and one of the Alderman of the City of Oxford, proved 14 April 1741)
Some of the above information was kindly supplied by Ken Wise