Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Sir Thomas Munday (c.1696–1772)

Mayor of Oxford 1750/1, 1760/1, and 1770/1

Thomas Munday was born in Oxford in c.1696, the son of the mealman Daniel Munday. His father was already dead when on 12 January 1712/13 at the age of about 15 Thomas was signed up to be apprenticed from 20 May 1713 to the upholsterer William West (with the stipulation that his parents were to provide his clothes, the cost of sickness, and the washing of his linen).

Munday became an Oxford upholsterer. In September 1725 he was appointed Mayor’s Child by Robert Vicaris and took up his Chamberlain’s place immediately, paying the usual fine of 3s. 4d. for not serving as Constable.

He is probably the Thomas Munday who on 1 October 1722 at Iffley Church married Sarah Gradwell.

Thomas and Sarah Munday had the following eight children (six of whom died when only a few months old):

  • Mary Munday (baptised on 17 May 1724 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church,
    buried at St Aldate’s Church on 12 June 1724)
  • Thomas Munday (baptised on 4 January 1725/6 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church,
    buried at St Aldate’s Church on 23 March 1725/6)
  • John Munday (baptised on 3 November 1727 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church,
    buried at St Aldate’s Church on 31 March 1728)
  • Thomas Munday (no baptism recorded,
    buried at St Aldate’s Church on 27 June 1729)
  • Mary Munday (twin, born on 21 December 1732 and baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 9 January 1732/3)
  • Sarah Munday (twin, born on 21 December 1732 and baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church on 9 January 1732/3;
    buried at St Aldate’s Church on 13 March 1732/3)
  • William Munday (baptised on 29 April 1737 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church)
  • Katherine Munday (baptised on 4 October 1739 at St Mary-the-Virgin Church,
    buried at St Aldate’s Church on 18 September 1740).

In September 1731 Munday was elected Junior Bailiff for a year, and in 1734 he became a keykeeper.

In June 1750 Munday was elected one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants, and at the end of September that year he started his first term as Mayor (for 1750/1), choosing William Moore as his Chamberlain and Samuel Culley as his Child.

Munday returned to being a Mayor’s Assistant, and on 30 September 1760 he started his second term as Mayor (for 1760/1), choosing Benjamin Watson as his Chamberlain and Richard Holloway as his Child. On 22 September 1761 Munday took on the usual mayoral role as butler at the Coronation of George III at Westminster Hall, and on the day after he was knighted and entertained by the High Steward, Sir James Dashwood, and Sir Thomas Stapleton MP. The Senior Bailiff, William Thorp, wrote an account of the occasion.

In March 1763 Sir Thomas Munday requested to be discharged from the Treasurership and his post as one of the Keykeepers, but continued as one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants.

In February 1764 at St Aldate’s Church in Oxford, his daughter Sarah Munday married the Revd Dr Thomas Nowell, Principal of St Mary Hall,. Jackson’s Oxford Journal described her as “a most accomplished young lady, with a handsome fortune”.

In 1766 the City of Oxford was in such debt that it tried to sell its two parliamentary seats. As a result, the Mayor and ten councillors (including Sir Thomas Munday) were committed to Newgate Prison in London for four days: they were discharged with a reprimand from the Speaker of the House of Commons on 10 February 1768.

On 30 September 1770 Sir Thomas Munday started his third and last term as Mayor of Oxford (for 1770/1), selecting Thomas Giles as his Chamberlain and Thomas Stockford as his Child. During his term of office, in January 1771, he stood as returning officer at the election of Lord Robert Spencer as M.P. for Oxford.

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, Sir Thomas Munday had the occupation of a garden on the site of the present 88 St Aldate’s Street with a frontage of 18 yards, 0 ft. and 4 in.

Sir Thomas Munday died on 26 October 1772 at the age of 76 and was buried at St Aldate’s Church. It appears that his widow, Lady Munday, went to live with her daughter Sarah at Iffley. She died there on 4 August 1778 at the age of 79 and was buried with her husband.

Mrs Nowell's School

Thomas Munday’s daughter Sarah (Mrs Nowell)

Sarah Munday (b. 1733) and her husband Thomas Nowell (Principal of St Mary Hall) came to Iffley in 1767 to live at The Manor House. They founded a charity to educate poor children to make them fit for “good service”, and the school became known as “Mrs Nowell’s School”. Sarah died in 1800, and her husband a year later.

The name of the school lived on after Mrs Nowell's death. The incription on the right, dated 1822, still survives on the house in Iffley.

See also:

The other upholsterer called Thomas Munday

There is another upholsterer in Oxford called Thomas Munday who overlaps with the mayor of the same name. The second Thomas Munday was described as being of the parish of St Mary the Virgin when he married Anne Tesdale at South Hinksey on 18 June 1759. Their son Thomas was baptised at St Mary-the-Virgin Church in 1760 and their daughter Mary at All Saints in 1771.

He took on a number of apprentice upholsterers: Richard Kennington in 1764, William Robinson in 1769, William Langford in 1771, and his own son Thomas in 1775. Twelve years later, James Wildgoose may have been taken on as an apprentice upholsterer in 1787 by Thomas junior rather than his father.

This Thomas Munday was buried at All Saints’ Church on 31 July 1792, and his will was proved on 13 November 1792:
PCC PROB 11/1225

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 14 October, 2020

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