Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Mayors of Oxford in early medieval times

Before the mid-thirteenth century, Oxford was governed by two reeves, while the chief spokesman for the burgesses was the Alderman of the merchant guild. Laurence Kepeharm, sole alderman in c.1200, was the first person to be described (in the Osney Cartulary) as Mayor of Oxford. At first there was uncertainty about the Latin word for the French “maire”, and originally “marrus” was used, but “maior” was soon accepted.

At first Mayors held office for life, but from the 1230s they were elected annually, beginning their term of office on Michaelmas Day (29 September). Often, however, the same man was elected for a number of years running.

Follow the pointer at the top to view each page of this section chronologically.

The dates of this first group of Mayors are not certain.

The following thirteenth-century dates are generally accepted, but may not be totally accurate. For instance, William Le Espicer may have been Mayor in 1285

First half of the fourteenth century

* 1279/80 uncertain: it could be Andrew de Worminghall senior

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 21 April, 2022

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