Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Thomas Wyatt (1777–1845)

Mayor of Oxford 1830/1

Thomas Wyatt was born in Oxford on 14 March 1777. He was the son of John Wyatt and Mary Treadwell, who were married at St Aldate's Church on 14 January 1775 and had the following children:

  • Thomas Wyatt (born on 14 March 1777 and baptised two days later at St Aldate’s Church)
  • Sarah Wyatt (baptised on 29 September 1778 at St Aldate’s Church; buried there on 7 December 1780)
  • Mary Wyatt (baptised on 31 May 1780 at St Aldate’s Church, buried there on 14 December 1780).

Thomas's father John Wyatt, who was a bargemaster, died when his son was only ten, and was buried at St Aldate’s Church on 22 April 1787.

On his thirteenth birthday (14 March 1790) Thomas Wyatt was apprenticed to the builder John Johnson.

On 23 February 1802 at St Martin’s Church, Thomas Wyatt (24), who was described in the marriage notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal as a builder of St Aldate, married Martha Ensworth, third daughter of the wine merchant Thomas Ensworth (and sister of the future mayor, of the same name). They had three sons:

  • Thomas Wyatt junior (born on 9 April 1803 and baptised at St Aldate’s Church on 3 July 1803)
  • Charles Wyatt (born on 25 November 1807 and baptised at St Aldate’s Church on 22 June 1808)
  • Henry Wyatt (baptised at St Aldate’s Church on 24 March 1811).

Thomas Wyatt’s mother, described as “Mary Wyatt the elder”, died at the age of 70 and was buried at St Aldate’s Church on 30 October 1803.

Also in 1803, Wyatt came on to the city council. He was elected Junior Chamberlain in 1805 and Junior Bailiff in 1809.

On 18 August 1825 his eldest son Thomas was admitted free, followed by his third son Henry on 30 July 1832.

On 10 October 1830 “Thomas Wyatt, builder” was unanimously chosen to be one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants, and at the end of the next month was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1830/1).

In March 1831 Wyatt called a town meeting in support of parliamentary reform, stating at the meeting that he had “long considered a Reform of Parliament as just and necessary”, and in Aprl an Oxford Reform Committee was formed under him.

The coronation of William IV took place near the end of Wyatt's term of office on 8 September 1831, but he did not attend the coronation feast in the Mayor of Oxford’s traditional role as butler, as these services were dispensed with for this Coronation.

At the end of September 1831, Wyatt expressly declined to become a candidate for Aldermanship. Notwithstanding this, the Freemen of Oxford assembled in the Town Hall yard called out, “Wyatt, Wyatt”— “send out the Mayor” — we’ll have Wyatt.” In the end Thomas Ensworth was elected.

After the passing of the Municipal Corporations Act, Wyatt was elected councillor for the West Ward on 26 December 1835 and six days later was elected an Alderman for six years.

Wyatt was a timber merchant as well as a builder, and is listed as a timber merchant at Friars Wharf in St Ebbe’s in Robson’s Commercial Directory of 1839.

The 1841 census shows Thomas Wyatt living at Friars Wharf, St Ebbe’s with his wife Martha and three servants. He was described as independent and had probably retired from work. He also resigned from the council in 1842. He died in his home at St Ebbe’s at the age of 67 on 2 March 1845.

His short obituary in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 8 March 1845, p. 3b read:

On Sunday last, at his residence in St. Ebbe's, in the 68th year of his age, Mr. Thomas Wyatt, builder and timber merchant. Mr. Wyatt was for many years a member of the old Corporation in this city, and served the office of Mayor in the year 1830. He was likewise elected a Town Councillor and Alderman on the passing of the Reform Bill, which offices he resigned about three years since. His loss will be long regretted by a numerous circle of relatives and acquaintances, by whom he was highly respected.

Thomas Wyatt’s business premises were advertised to be let or sold in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 3 May 1845. The advertisement (inserted by his son Thomas, who was about to move the family business to the Steam Saw Mills that were in the course of erection) described the property as:

valuable, extensive and well arranged freehold premises known as Friars Wharf (west of the Basin), the property of the late Mr Thomas Wyatt, comprising a spacious Wharf and Yard, with powerful Crane, convenient and substantially built Carpenters’ Workshops, Store Room, and Counting House: Timber, Deal, and Sawing Sheds; two very complete Dwelling Houses, Gardens, Labourer’s Cottage, and Offices.

Thomas Wyatt's son Thomas Wyatt junior (born 1803) became a surveyor, architect, and builder.

His daughter Elizabeth Jane Wyatt married Alfred Williams, the architect who designed Harrods and Harvey Nichols in London.

See also:

  • Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entry numbered 2907
  • 1841 Census: Oxford (St Ebbe), 891/03/54

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 January, 2021

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