Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


James Banting

Mayor of Oxford 1832/3

James Banting (or Banten) (1779–1859) was the son of the tailor James Banting and his wife Rachel Prior. His family were rooted in St Aldate’s: his father had been baptised at St Aldate’s Church in 1755 and had married there on 6 July 1777; his grandparents were James and Mary Banting of St Aldate’s, and his great-grandparents were James and Ann Banting (who were buried at St Aldate’s in 1798 and 1793 respectively).

Banting himself was baptised at St Aldate’s Church on 16 February 1780. He had an older sister, Mary (baptised 5 July 1778), and six younger siblings: Rachel (baptised 2 December 1781, who died of smallpox just before her fifth birthday), Prior (7 September 1783), Ann (2 February 1786), Sarah (18 November 1787), Susanna (30 July 1789), and Joseph (19 April 1791).

Banting’s grandfather (recorded in the register as “James Banting Senior”) was buried at St Aldate’s on 19 October 1798 and less than a month later, on 24 November, his father (recorded as “James Banting Tailor”) was also buried there.

Banting appears to have taken over his father’s business, and Pigot’s Directory for 1823 lists James Banting & Co. as tailors in St Aldate’s.

Banting’s mother, Lydia, was buried at St Aldate’s on 3 November 1808.

Banting did not marry (the James Banting of St Aldate’s who married Ann Elliott at St Aldate’s Church on 16 December 1816 is a different man, though probably a relation). His main appearance in Jackson’s Oxford Journal throughout the years was in a list of people who had renewed their game licences.

Banting came on to the Council for the first time in October 1821.

On 31 October 1829 instructions for payment appeared inJackson’s Oxford Journal for “all persons indebted to the late Partnership oconcern of JAMES BANTING & Co. of this city, tailors”. Hence the firm is not listed in Pigot’s Directory for 1830, and Banting was styled Esquire.

Banting was elected Junior Chamberlain in 1825, Senior Bailiff in 1828, and Mayor’s Assistant in 1831. In 1832 he was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1832/3). After the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act in 1835, he did not return on to the Council.

It appears that Banting owned land at Enstone, including a farm occupied by a Mr Hooper where a fire was reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 11 May 1839.

By the time of the 1841 census, Banting (described as Independent) was living with his sister Sarah at Worton (to the south-east of Yarnton). By 1851 they had moved into Oxford and were living in Beaumont Mansion in Beaumont Street with three servants: James is described as a 71-year-old landed proprietor born in Oxford, and Sarah as a 62-year-old annuitant, both unmarried. Hence when his game licnece was renewed in September 1842, he was described as being of St Mary Magdalen parish.

His fellow mayor Richard James Spiers recorded that on 4 March 1859 “James Banting Esq. died, aged 80”, and the following notice was published in Jackson’s Oxford Journal the next day:

DIED. March 4, at his residence in Beaumont-street, in this city, James Banting, Esq., aged 80.

Banting must have held on to his farm at Worton, because Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 16 April 1859 advertised the following property of James Banting, Esq. for sale: 26 half-bred fat sheep, 25 head of short-horn cattle, 11 pigs, 7 cart-horses and mares, and a two-year-old and a yearling colt.

Banting’s house in Beaumont Street, with coach house and stables, was advertised to let in the edition of 9 April 1859, and his furniture on 23 April 1859. It included

dining and drawing-room suites in mahogany and rosewood, handsome chimney glasses in gilt frames, turkey carpet in good condition, mahogany 4-post and other bedsteads, wardrobe … also neat 4-wheel phaeton, set of harness, 2 saddles and bridles.

One of Banting’s sisters, Miss Ann Banting (73) of Walton Street, died on 28 May 1859.

See also:

  • 1841 Census: Oxford (Worton), 889/11/2
  • 1851 Census: Oxford (St Mary Magdalen), 1728/604

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 11 September, 2012

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