Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Edward Lock (1730–1813)

Mayor of Oxford 1776/7, 1791/2, and 1806/7

Edward Lock was baptised on 20 August 1730 at St Edburgh’s Church, Bicester. His father was Edward Lock senior, and his mother may be Mary Bennet of Kettleton [?Kidllington], who was married to an Edward Lock at Bicester on 29 March 1713. Seven other children of Edward Lock senior, probably his siblings, were also baptised there over a twenty-year period: William (1714), Mary (1716), Elizabeth (1717, buried the same year), Sarah (1721), John (1724), Elizabeth (1727), and Anne (1734).

Edward served his apprenticeship in London, and then came to Oxford to work with the goldsmith John Wilkins at 135 High Street in All Saints parish. When Wilkins retired in 1757 his widow Catherine Wilkins took over the business, and in 1759 Edward Lock took it over from her.

On 14 June 1759 at All Saints’ Church, Oxford, Edward Lock of All Saints parish married Hannah Bridge of Bicester. They had just one child:

  • Joseph Lock (born on 13 April 1760 and baptised at All Saints’ Church on 17  April 1760).

Lock, described as a silversmith, was admitted a Freeman of Oxford by Act of Council on 2 February 1760.

His shop was much frequented by Parson Woodforde during his time in Oxford, with his first recorded purchase being a pair of plated spurs for which he paid 15/- on 13 December 1760. Lock sold him many costly items, including gold buckles, silver shoe and knee buckles, black mourning buckles, plain buttons, a seal, a spring clock, a Commonwealth crown and shilling, and a balance to weigh guineas, and silver-handled candlesticks and cutlery, and also mended his watch for half a crown. On 23 December 1762 Woodforde wrote, “I have changed £30 … into 2 Bank Bills with Mr. Locke the silversmith this evening”, which indicates that Lock was already involved in a small scale in banking; and later when Woodforde received a £10 draught as a legacy, he went to Lock, not to a bank, to change it into cash. He also bought a lottery ticket there.

On 30 September 1762 Edward Lock was chosen by the Mayor, Anthony Weston, as his Child, which meant that he could immediately be admitted as Chamberlain. In 1764 he was appointed Keykeeper and in 1766 Senior Bailiff. In 1771 he was appointed to a committee to settle the value of the city interest in its houses as a consequence of the Mileways Act.

James Woodforde seems to have been a friend as well as a customer of Edward Lock.. On 16 October 1771 Woodforde (then aged 31) wrote, “I slept at Mr. Locke's the Silversmith in High Street”, and continued to stay there for over a week. He says that Mrs Lock would not accept payment for lodging, tea, and fire, so instead he gave her son 5s. 3d. and the Lock servants 5s. 6d.

By the time of the 1772 Survey of Oxford Lock had moved his shop to the western part of the present 7 High Street, also in All Saints parish, which had a frontage of 6 yards 2 ft. 3 in. This shop was much frequented by Parson Woodforde.

When in 1772 the King called in all gold coin, Edward Lock was apponted the receiver in Oxford

On 3 May 1776 Lock was appointed one of the Mayor’s Assistants and on 30 September 1776 was for the first time elected Mayor (for 1776/7), nominating John Parsons as his Child.

As well as his council activities, Lock subscribed to the building of Botley Causeway, gave financial support to the Radcliffe Infirmary, invested in the Banbury to Oxford stretch of the Oxford Canal, and from 1788 was Treasurer of the New Oxford Provident Society. He also served as a magistrate, and when a certain Lucy Bennett tried to sell him a silver spoon, he had her arrested: it transpired that she was the daughter of the butler of Worcester College, and that other spoons were missing: Lucy was transported for seven years.

Lock took on several apprentices: Thomas Jackson in May 1768, his own son Joseph Lock in April 1774, and John Davis in December 1784.

6-7 High Street


Bailey’s Western & Midland Directory for 1783 lists Edward Lock and Son as Goldsmiths and Jewellers in the High Street.


On 19 April 1787 his wife Hannah Lock was buried at All Saints’ Church.


Also in 1787 Lock purchased his shop and home (now 6 & 7 High Street) from the Commissioners of the Mileways Act when part of it was to be pulled down to the widen the street.


In the 1790s Lock became a partner in a new bank which opened in his shop until the possession of the adjoining house at 6 High Street could be obtained: this took the name University & City Bank.


Edward Lock went into partnership with his son Joseph at around this time.



Right: 6 and 7 High Street in the parish of All Saints, where Edward Lock lived and worked from 1787 to his death in 1814

In 1791 Lock was elected Mayor a second time (for 1791/2).

On the night of Thursday 12 June 1794 there were illuminations in Oxford to celebrate the defeat of the French fleet by Lord Howe at the battle eleven days earlier that was known as “The Glorious First of June”. Jackson's Oxford Journal reported thus two days later:

… and the Front of the House of Messrs. Locks, Goldsmiths, with the Bank adjoining, was remarkably conspicuous, by Wreaths of variegated Lamps, and a Transparency; where a select Band of Musick had been procured, consisting of French Horns, Clarinets, Violins, and divers other Instruments, who played up, with infinite Spirit, the good old Tunes of God Save the King, Rule Britannia, and Britons Strke Home;—Musick both well-timed and popular.

In 1801 Lock lost the struggle with a rival banker and Mayor of Oxford, John Parsons, for the position of Alderman (said to cost each of them £400), but just one year later he too was granted an Alderman’s place.

In 1806, at the age of 76, Lock stood against against his rival John Parsons again, this time in the mayoral election. He beat him, and so served a third term as Mayor of Oxford (for 1806/7).

Edward Lock died at the age of 83 on 11 September 1814 and and was buried three days later at All Saints’ Church in Oxford, where there is a memorial to him. His short obituary in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 11 September 1814 read:

On Thursday morning last died, after a few days illness, in the 84th year of his age, Edward Lock, Esq. one of the Aldermen of this city. He was appointed to a Chamberlain's seat in the Council in 1762; elected Bailiff, with Jabez Jagger, in 1766; one of the eight Assistants, in the room of Mr. Thomas Tredwell, 1776; Mayor in the same year, and again in 1791 and 1796; and, on the death of George Tonge, Esq. in 1802, was elected Alderman. He was a man of the strictest integrity, and for many years a most active and useful Magistrate.

He left his sister Mrs Elizabeth Pavior four shillings a week during her natural life (provided that she remained a  widow), and everything else to his only son Joseph.

See also:

  • Joseph Lock, Mayor 1813, 1829 (Edward Lock’s son)
  • Arthur G. Grimwade, London Goldsmiths 1697–1837: Their marks and lives
  • Ann Natalie Hansen, Oxford Goldsmiths before 1800 (At the Sign of the Cock, 1996), pp. 96–102
  • C.F.C. Beeson, Clockmaking in Oxfordshire 1400–1850 (Oxford: Museum of the History of Science, 1989), pp. 126–7
  • Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 11 September 1813, p. 3b (death notice)
  • Oxford Times, 5 October 1990, p. 19: “Finding the key to Lock the goldsmith”
  • Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entries numbered 2335, 2497, and 2749
  • PCC Will PROB 11/1554/77 (Will of Edward Lock, Goldsmith of Oxford, proved 7 March 1814)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 7 March, 2021

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