Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Richard Wood (c.1650–1700)

Mayor of Oxford 1694/5

Richard Wood was born in c.1650.

He became a stone cutter, and was was admitted free on 27 November 1676, and was evidently too poor to pay the usual fee, as it was agreed that he should pay in kind by doing as much work in the way of his trade as the Mayor and council should think fit.

Wood erected a sundial at the South Bridge in 1673, for which the Council paid him £1 15s.

On 7 February 1680, Anthony Wood records in his diary that Francis Noyes or Noy “died in the house of Richard Wood stone-cutter near the [Sheldonian]Theater”, indicating that he lived in Broad Street.

Wood was first elected on to the Common Council on 3 October 1684 and came in and took his oaths three days later, paying three shillings to avoid serving as Constable.

On 30 September 1685 the new Mayor, Edward Combes, selected Richard Wood as his child, and he was immediately offered a bailiff’s place. On 19 September 1687 he was elected Senior Bailiff.

On 15 February 1687 Anthony Wood records that “Elizabeth Blacke … died in the house of Richard Wood next to Mr Bird’s hay”.

In 1691 Wood was granted a lease of 45 Broad Street, opposite the Sheldonian Theatre, in St Michael's parish. In 1696 he paid tax on twenty windows at this property.

On 20 November 1693 Wood was elected one of the Mayor’s eight assistants, taking the usual oaths and paying £5.

On 15 August 1694 Anthony Wood records that Catherine Juxon, daughter of Sir William Juxon of Little Compton, Gloucestershire, “died of the small pox in the house of Richard Wood, stone-cutter, against the Theater”.

On 17 September 1694 Wood was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1694/5). He selected the mercer Robert White as his Child. At the end of his year of office, on 20 September 1695, Anthony Wood reports that the men supporting the Recorder, William Wright, at the general election “went to Taylor the new mayor, and Wood the old mayor, and made a disturbance at their dores”.

On 3 December 1694 James Bonniwell, apprentice to Richard Wood, Mayor, was admitted free.

After his year of office, Wood was sent to inspect property by the council: in December 1796 he went with the Macebearer and the two chamberlains to inspect a house in Bullocks Lane and get it put into such necessary repair and they thought fit, and the following February he went with three others and the macebearer to inspect the middle arch of the South Bridge with a view to reporting whether it would be better to repair it with timber or stone, and what it would cost.

In September 1698 Wood was appointed a Keykeeper.

† Richard Wood died in 1700 and was buried at St Mary Magdalen Church on 11 September that year. He was described in the register as a “stone cutter”.

Unfortunately in the mid-nineteenth century St Mary Magdalen sold his gravestone to a college in a job lot of hardcore, and a builder used it as a cesspit cover. Mark Griffiths in The Times of 20 September 2003 in an article headed "Boulder thinking: Designers are using stones again" explains how it turned up during the renovation of a friend's garden, where it had lain under earth and brambles for over a century.

See also:

  • MS. Wills Oxon W. 205.98; 156/4/1

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 24 September, 2018

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