Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Thomas Treadwell (1717–1776)

Mayor of Oxford 1758/9

Thomas Treadwell was baptised at St Ebbe’s Church on 19 May 1717. He was the son of James Treadwell, a cook of the University of Oxford who had been matriculated as a “privilegiatus” on 29 November 172, and his wife Mary. Thomas's four younger siblings were also baptised at that church: James (15 August 1720); Ann (23 February 1723/4); Catherine (21 February 1724); and Elizabeth (7 March 1726/7).

On 1 January 1733/4 Thomas was apprenticed for seven years to the chandler & grocer William Turner (who was himself to become Mayor in 1743), but on 4 March 1733/4 he was transferred to a new master, Robert Rogers. On 1 September 1735 his younger brother James was also taken as an apprentice by William Turner.

Treadwell was first chosen to serve on the Common Council on 30 September 1748. He was sworn in on 7 October, paying £3 10s. and 3s. 4d to avoid serving as Constable. He was chosen as City Chamberlain in 1750 and as Senior Bailiff in 1754.

Treadwell had become a hardware merchant by the time that he took on Edmund Leverett as an apprentice in May 1757: he is likely to have been a relation, as a Mary Treadwell had married a Richard Leverett at St Martin's Church on 31 December 1742. Treadwell's second and last apprentice was Thomas Willsdon in April 1763.

On 11 April 1757 Treadwell was elected one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants. Just five days later at St Thomas's Church, Thomas Treadwell (described as being of St Martin’s parish) married Mary Treacher, the niece of the brewer Alderman John Treacher of St Thomas’s parish, who himself had been Mayor of Oxford in 1741 and was to serve again in 1763.

In September 1758 Treadwell was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1758/9). He named William Rowland as his Chamberlain and Vincent Shortland as his Child.

Thomas wife Mary Treadwell died in 1762.

Parson Woodforde made a number of purchases at Treadwell’s shop when he was in Oxford. On 19 February 1762 he paid 4s. 6d. for “an Edinburgh Leathern Snuff Box”; on 25 May 1763 sixpence for “a Mohogany thing to keep Books wide open”; on 8 October 1773 twelve shillings for “a Pair of Pocket Globes with a Map annexed to them”; and on 13 October 1773 2s. 6d. for “a new-fashioned Corke-Screw”. On 14 October 1773 he paid four guineas for “an exceeding good Microscope with a Stand & all the Apparatus belonging to it”; on 30 December 1773 two shillings for a pair of mock beaver gloves; and on 28 March and 5 May 1774 two shillings each for another two pairs.

Treadwell continued to serve as one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants until 1775, and then moved to Beckley Park for the change of air. He was buried at Beckley Church on 28 April 1776.

In his will he left to Sarah, the wife of John Hopkins, one guinea (to be received after her husband's death). He describes her as his sister, but she was probably his sister-in-law, who had remarried. He left to his niece Katherine, the wife of the Revd Farrer of Warrington, £4 7s. 6d; and to his first apprentice, Edmund Leverett, who was then living at Beckley Park, all the furniture and other property he had there. The bulk of his estate went to his second apprentice, Thomas Willsdon, and his will continued:

… but I give to him nothing more of my property but after all my debts funeral expenses and legacies are paid I do give and bequeath unto Thomas Willsdon son of [blank] Willsdon late of Woodstock in this County which said Thomas Willsdon was my late apprentice and who now liveth with me and carrieth on the Business I do repeat I give unto the said Thos Willsdon all the Rest and Residue of my effects both real and personal of what kind soever or wheresoever they may be at my decease as Bonds Mortgages Stock in Grade Household furniture Government Securities and what ever I may be entitled to at my decease I so give and bequeath it all to that upright and Just Man my late apprentice Thos Willsdon and I so appoint and constitute the said Thomas Willsdon sole Executor and Residuary Legatee to this my last Will and Testament.

Evidently Thomas Willsdon inherited Treadwell's hardware business.

See also:

  • Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entries numbered 1552, 2151, and 2262
  • PCC Will PROB 11/1020/80 (Will of Thomas Treadwell, Hardware Merchant of Oxford, proved 13 May 1776)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 10 February, 2020

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