Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


John Treacher I (c.1704–1780)

Mayor of Oxford 1741/2, 1754/5, and 1763

John Treacher was born in c.1704. He was from a prominent Baptist family, and his father may have been Abraham Tracher of Thame.

Treacher was an Oxford brewer. He was appointed a Cloth Searcher in 1730, and on 2 April 1731 was chosen as Mayor’s Child by Henry Wise, taking up his automatic place as Chamberlain and paying the usual fine of 3s. 4d. for not serving as Constable. On 30 September 1734 he was chosen as a Keykeeper, and on 15 September 1735 was elected Senior Bailiff for one year.

Around this time John Treacher married his wife Mary. (One possible marriage was that of John Treacher and Mary Soder at St Paul's Cathedral in London on 29 November 1734.) John & Mary Treacher had their children baptised at the City Church (St Martin’s at Carfax), which was prudent for someone with council ambitions, as although dissenters were not forbidden from sitting on the council at this period, they never attained high office. They had four children, but only one survived infancy:

  • Deborah Treacher (privately baptised on 24 February 1735/6 by St Martin’s Church,
    and buried there on 14 October 1737)
  • Mary Treacher (privately baptised on 2 March 1736/7 by St Martin’s Church,
    and buried there on 1 May 1737)
  • Elizabeth Treacher (privately baptised on 4 August 1739 by St Martin’s Church,
    admitted to the church on 4 August 1739, buried there on 10 March 1739/40)
  • Thomas Treacher (privately baptised on 9 January 1743/4 by St Martin’s Church,
    admitted to the church on 2 February 1743/4)
  • Susannah Treacher (infant buried at St Martin’s Church on 8 August 1746).

On 12 February 1740 John Treacher was made one of the Mayor’s Assistants, and on 30 September 1741 he was elected Mayor of Oxford for the first time (for 1741/2), choosing William Clutterbuck as his Child and Anthony Weston as his Chamberlain.

Treacher returned to serving as one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants, and by 1745 he was also the City Treasurer. On 19 November 1750 he was sworn in as one of the four Aldermen, paying the macebearer “a Jacobus piece of gold, and also £10 and £10 for entertainment”.

The Council’s audited accounts of December 1751 include the following item under Franchises: “Paid Mr. Ald. Treacher and Mr. Tawney for Beer: £4–16-0”. When the new Town Hall was built in 1752, vaults were built under the south end for Messrs Treacher, Tawney, and Ives. In addition on 2 April 1756 Treacher was granted a least of 40 years from the following Michaelmas of “a room and cellar now occupied by William Taylor at the north end of the Hall and a new room in the Hall Yard (provided no other person be permitted to sell ale in the Town Hall Yard) for the fine of £150 and the yearly rent of four shillings, a couple of capons, and the usual covenants”. On 1 December 1757, “The lease granted to Mr. Ald. Treacher of new rooms under the north end of the town hall and other premises there is to be sealed with a licence of alienation for 15 years”, and on 13 July 1767 he was granted a new lease of his vault under the Town Hall for a term of 40 years for a fine of £3. On 8 May 1769 Mr. Ald. Treacher was given a new lease of “all his tenements in Saint Nicholas, alias St. Thomas’ parish”, for 40 years for a fine of £20. On 24 January 1774, “A pump was to be erected in the Town Hall Yard, Mr. Treacher allowing six guineas, the town clerk three guineas, the tenants of the other vaults half a guinea each, and the rest is to be paid by the City.”

On 25 March 1754 Alderman Treacher took on as an apprentice his nephew John Treacher, the son of Thomas Treacher, gentleman of Pyrton (deceased): he too would become Mayor of Oxford.

On 1 October 1754 Alderman Treacher was elected Mayor a second time (for 1754/5), naming Nicholas Pinnell as his Chamberlain. At the end of 1756 he was elected to a committee of seven people, headed by the Mayor, to undertake the selling, letting, and repair of the City estates. On 2 November 1759 he was elected one of the Commissioners of Sewers, and by 1767 he served as one of the City’s Justices of the Peace, and also became a Barge Commissioner.

Treacher’s only surviving child, Thomas, was matriculated at the University of Oxford from The Queen’s College on 4 April 1759 at the age of 15.

On 18 January 1763 the Mayor of Oxford, William Ives, died, and Alderman Treacher took over as Mayor of Oxford for the rest of the year (January–September 1763).

In 1766 the City got into such debt that they tried to sell its two parliamentary seats. As a result, the Mayor and ten councillors (including Alderman Treacher) 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.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. Alderman Treacher then had the occupation of a house, yard and malthouse on the west side of the road leading from the City Bridge to Fisher Row with a frontage of 42 yards, 0 ft. and 8 in, plus another 4 yards, 0 ft. and 9 in. of frontage listed as “Alderman Treacher; way leading to his house”. He also had a “rickyard &c.” in Church Street, St Ebbe’s with a frontage of 58 yards, 0 ft. and 0 in.

On 30 September 1778 his wife Mary Treacher died, and was buried at St Martin’s Church on 7 October 1778.

In September 1779 Treacher was elected Mayor a fourth time, but declined to serve and paid a £50 fine.

John Treacher died at the age of 76 on 22 March 1780 and was buried in St Martin’s Church at Carfax on 29 March 1780.

In 1896 St Martin's Church was demolished (apart from its tower), and all bones uncovered were transferred to an unknown communal grave in Holywell Cemetery. A stone in the old church read:

J. Treacher, ob. March 2, 1780.
M. Treacher, ob. Sept. 30 1778.
The Rev. Thos. Treacher ob. Aug. 11 1786

In his will he left his nephew Thomas Treacher and his niece Grace Treacher £200 each. He was reputedly worth £40,000, and all the rest of his wealth went to his only surviving child Thomas Treacher.

Treacher’s surviving son

Thomas Treacher junior (born 1742/3) became a demy and later a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. He was also Rector of Croughton in Northamptonshire from 1779 to 1782.

When his father died on 22 March 1780 it appears that he inherited the brewing business together with his father’s former apprentice, John Treacher.

The Revd Treacher renewed the lease of the arched cellar or vault under the east part of the Town Hall in 1781, and of the new rooms under the north end of the Guildhall in January 1785.

Thomas Treacher and his wife Mary had four children:

  • Susannah Martha Treacher (privately baptised at Begbroke on 7 February 1782)
  • George Treacher (privately baptised at Begbroke on 21 February 1783)
  • Lucy Treacher, baptised at Begbroke in 1784)
  • Ann Treacher (baptised at Begbroke on 27 November 1785).

The Revd Treacher died at Begbroke on 11 August 1786.

Treacher’s daughters

All his daughters died in infancy. A memorial stone in St Martin’s Church (unfortunately with the top broken off) read: “Daughters of the Rev. Thomas Treacher and Mary his wife”.

Treacher's vault under the Town Hall

In April 1798 the lease of all Treacher’s rooms under the Town Hall was granted to William Hall, with a note that this lease was never to be renewed again.

See also:

  • John Treacher II (Mayor 1784), his nephew and apprentice
  • Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entry numbered 2092
  • PCC Will PROB 11/1064/116 (Will of John Treacher, Alderman of the city of Oxford, proved 15 April 1780)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 28 September, 2018

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