Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Richard Holloway (d. 1783)

Mayor of Oxford 1777/8

Richard Holloway was an upholsterer, and probably originated from London.

Holloway was admitted as a Freeman of Oxford on 22 February 1760, and took on William Smith as his apprentice in September 1761.

On 17 November 1763 it was announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal that Holloway had decided to remain in Oxford, rather than go back to the shop in London where he had served his apprenticeship.

On 20 February 1764 Jackson’s Oxford Journal reported that Holloway's apprentice William Smith (who would then have been about 19) had run away from him, suspected of thefts.

Holloway took on three more apprentices: James Halse in 1767, James Adams in 1774, and George Parsons in 1781.

On 30 September 1760 Holloway became a Chamberlain and was nominated by the Mayor, Thomas Munday, as his Child. He was sworn in on 30 October, and paid a fine to avoid serving as Constable. On 19 September 1763 he was elected Junior Bailiff.

On 20 October 1770 he published a notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal denying the charge (contained in an anonymous paper on the door of St Mary-the-Virgin Church) that he had embezzled the land tax collected for 1765.

In the following years there were numerous advertisements by Holloway in Jackson’s Oxford Journal about house content sales he would be conducting.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. According to H. E. Salter, the house immediately to the east of 90 High Street in St Mary the Virgin parish (now part of University College) was then in the occupation of Mr Holloway, and had a frontage of 12 yards, 1 ft. and 4 in.

On 6 November 1775 Holloway was chosen as one of the Mayor’s Assistants, and on 15 September 1777 was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1777/8), taking up the post on 30 September and nominating Thomas Wynne as his Child. After his term of office he returned to the post of Mayor’s Assistant.

Holloway is still listed as an upholsterer in Bailey’s Western & Midland Directory of 1783, but died that year,

† Richard Holloway died on 20 September 1783 (after a lingering illness, according to Jackson’s Oxford Journal). He was buried in St Mary-the-Virgin Church, and appears to have left behind no family. There was a sale of his stock was sold, and James Halse took over his shop.

Memorial to Richard Holloway




There is a memorial to Richard Holloway (left), fixed high on the wall of what is now the shop of St Mary-the-Virgin Church. It reads:

Sacred to the Memory of
Richard Holloway Gent
One of the Assistants of the City
Who served the Office of Mayor
In the Year of our Lord 1777
With reputation to himself,
And Satisfaction to his Fellow Citizens
He departed this Life
September the 20th 1783

See also:

  • Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entries numbered 2229, 2341, 2506, and 2666
  • PCC Will PROB 11/1109/351 (Will of Richard Holloway, Upholder of Oxford, proved 24 October 1783)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 September, 2019

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