Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


George Henry Warburton (1795–1861)

Mayor of Oxford 1850/1

George Henry Warburton was born in Oxford on 4 January 1795 and baptised at St Giles's Church the following day. He was the fourth child and eldest son of George Warburton and Mary Davis who were married at St Martin's Church in Oxford on 24 September 1786. His father had been admitted free on 31 October 1794 and had a grocer’s shop in St Giles’s parish until the 1820s.

His parents had ten other children baptised at St Giles’s Church: Mary (1788), Martha (1790), Ann (1791), Hannah (1797), Elizabeth (1800), William (1803), Thomas Pledwell (1805), Edward Andrew (1808), John (1811), and Charles (1816).

George junior became a grocer like his father, and was described as being of St Peter-in-the-East parish when he married Sarah Burgess at Nuneham Courtenay on 20 January 1820. The couple do not appear to have had any children. He first operated from his father's old shopat the east end of the High Street, probably on the north side. He moved across the road in 1835, and the following advertisement appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 13 February 1836 (p. 3c):

To be SOLD or LET, with immediate possession,—A good-sized Dwelling House with excellent FRONT SHOP, situate in the High-street, late in the occupation of Mr George Warburton, and wherein the grocery business has been successfully carried on upwards of half a century. These premises, from their convenient situation, offer a most advantageous opportunity to, and will be found well worth the attention of, any person desirous of commencing business in the principal street of Oxford.
Also to be SOLD, or LET, with immediate possession—A TENEMENT adjoining the Dwelling House, latterly occupied by Charles Souch.
Apply to Mr. Matthews, solicitor, Oxford—Letters to be paid.

Warburton announced in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 19 September 1835 that on that day he had moved to more commodious premises on the south side of the street (72 High Street), and would be stocking "fine flavoured Teas, Chocolate, Cocoa, West India and fine Mocha Coffees, Spices, Fruits; Wax, Spermaceti, London Mould, and Store Candles; fine Yorkshire Hams; Gloucester and Wiltshire Cheese; and a variety of other articles of Grocery of the best quality”.

Warburton was elected Councillor for the East Ward when the new Corporation was formed in 1835, and was re-elected in 1837, 1840, 1843, and 1846.

At the time of the 1841 census Warburton and his wife were living at 72 High Street with a grocer’s shopman and a female servant.

Warburton was elected Sheriff of Oxford for 1842/3. He was made an Alderman on 9 November 1850, the same day that he was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1850/1).

The 1851 census, taken during his mayoral year, shoes George Warburton (56), described as both grocer and Mayor: living over his shop at 72 High Street with his wife, an assistant grocer, two servants, and a lodger.

On 26 July 1851 he perambulated the city boundary.

In 1856 he was re-elected Alderman and made a magistrate.

Warburton's grave in Holywell Cemetery




Warburton was still living at 72 High Street at the time of the 1861 census. Just five months later he died after a few weeks' illness.


† George Henry Warburton died on 25 September 1861 at the age of 66. His funeral was held at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 1 October 1861 and he was buried in Holywell Cemetery (Plot F13).


His widow Sarah Warburton went to live in Clapham, where she died at the age of 75: her body was brought back to Oxford and she was buried with her husband on 7 May 1872.

See also:

  • Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 28 September 1861, p. 5c (obituary)
  • 1841 Census: Oxford (St Peter-in-the-East), 891/16/6
  • 1851 Census: Oxford (St Peter-in-the-East), 1728/15
  • 1861 Census: Oxford (St Peter-in-the-East), 893/84

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 21 January, 2022

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