Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Edmund Augustine Bevers (1849–1921)

Mayor of Oxford 1903/4 and 1908/9

Edmund Augustine Bevers was born at Cowley House (now the Hall building of St Hilda’s College, and then in Cowley parish) in 1849, and was baptised at St James's Church in Cowley on 12 August.

His father was Edward Bevers senior (born in Bermondsey in 1811) was a surgeon dentist who in 1840 had taken over the practice of William Lukyn at Cowley House. His mother Isabella Coggan was born in Fulham in c.1818. His parents were married at St Peter's Church in Hammersmith on 9 April 1842.
For more on his parents, see the page about their grave in St Sepulchre's Cemetery

Edmund's parents settled in Cowley House, where his older sister Winifred Morgan Bevers was born in 1849. in August 1849 the family moved to 46 Broad Street (one of the houses demolished to make way for the New Bodleian Library).

On 4 March 1851 Edmund's mother Isabella Bevers died at 46 Broad Street at the age of 33 just after the birth of her son Harcourt Arthur Bell Bevers.

At the time of the 1851 census Edmund (2) was living at 46 Broad Street with his father Edmund senior (39) and his siblings Winifred (2) and Harcourt (six weeks). His father's sister-in-law Miss Alice Coggan (30) had come to manage the house, and they also had three house servants and a nurse for the baby.

On 19 April 1854 Edmund's father married Alice Coggan. The marriage took place well away from Oxford in Hammersmith, as it was then illegal for a man to marry his deceased wife's sister. They had three daughters (stepsisters for Edmund junior); Margaret Isabella Bevers (1855), Catherine Alice Bevers (1857), and Dora Emily Bevers (1859).

Bevers was educated at Christ Church School, Oxford, but is hard to find in the 1861 census. He went on to Guy’s Hospital, where he won the gold medal in Anatomy.

He served as a dresser in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1.

At the time of the 1871 census Edmund (23) was a medical student boarding in Lambeth.

In 1872 he became a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries, and in 1873 he became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and commenced medical practice in Oxford.

On 23 April 1874 at Holy Trinity Church, Newington, Surrey, Edmund Augustine Bevers, described as a surgeon of St Mary Magdalen parish, Oxford married Helen Wood of Trinity Square, London, the daughter of the late William Wood. Edmund brought his wife back to Oxford, where they had three children:

  • Edmund Cecil Bevers (born at 1 Bevington Road on 3 June 1875 and baptised at St Giles's Church on 18 August)
  • Maud Bevers (born at 1 Bevington Road in 1876 and baptised at St Giles's Church on 2 June)
  • Violet Bevers (born at 1 Bevington Road on 14 December 1878 and baptised at St Giles's Church on 19 February 1879).

Bevers found that there was a better opening in dentistry than surgery, and went into partnership at 46 Broad Street with his father Edmund; the latter died on 14 February 1880.

Edmund Augustine Bevers was the very first person to register a motor car in Oxford.

At the time of the 1881 census Edmund (31), described as “surgeon & dentist MRCS LSA” was living at Allandale, 117 (then 67) Woodstock Road with his wife Helen (28) and his children Edmund (5), Maud (4), and Violet (3), plus two servants.

In 1886 Bevers was elected Dental Surgeon at the Radcliffe Infirmary, a post he held until 1920, and in 1889 his younger brother Harcourt joined him in the Broad Street practice.

Bevers was elected to the City Council as Conservative representative for Central Ward in 1883, and served until 1889.

In 1889 the Council was reconstituted, with the disappearance of the Central Ward. Nine new councillors were elected from each of the four new wards. Bevers stood for the West Ward, but with 631 votes only managed to come eleventh. In 1890, however, Bevers stood again for North Ward, and was returned unopposed. He was elected Sheriff of Oxford for 1902/3.

At the time of the 1891 Edmund (41) was living over his practice at 46 Broad Street (where he had lived as a child) with his wife Ellen (38) and their children Edmund (15), Maud (14), Violet (13) and his wife's sister Edith Wood (22). They employed a cook, housemaid, and page boy.

Bevers was one of the first people in Oxford to get a telephone line installed, and in 1895 they had the simple phone number 38.

In October 1899 Edmund Augustine Bevers was elected candidate for the north ward.

At the time of the 1901 census Edmund Augustine Bevers (51), who described himself as a surgeon and employer, was living at 46 Broad Street with his wife Ellen (48), their daughters Maud (25) and Violet (23), and three servants: a cook, a housemaid, and a 15-year-old page boy.

Arms of Bevers


In 1903 Bevers was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1903/4), and five years later in 1908 he was elected Mayor a second time (for 1908/9).

The arms of Bevers (left) were added to the wall of the Lord Mayor’s Parlour when he served as Chief Magistrate.



By 1908 Edmund Augustine Bevers and his wife and daughters had moved to a ten-roomed house in Iffley called Woodhouse, leaving his son at 42 Broad Street.

All three of his children were married before the next census:

  • On 21 April 1904 at All Saints’ Church in Oxford, Violet Bevers (26), who was living in All Saints parish, married the Revd Edward William Dixon Penfold (28) of Chelmsford, Essex.
  • On 12 September 1908 at Iffley Church, Maud Bevers (32) married Benjamin Edgar James (35), a dental surgeon of 86 St Bernard's Road (then called St John's Road).
  • On 17 November 1908 at Witley Church, Surrey, Edmund Cecil Bevers (33), described as a surgeon of 42 Broad Street, married Tryphena Laetitia Seymour (39) of Wisley Vicarage, Surrey, the daughter of the late Revd Edward Seymour.

In 1910 Bevers presented a painting to the City which now hangs in the Assembly Room. It is from an original by Guido Reni and shows Salome with the head of St John the Baptist.

At the time of the 1911 census Edmund Augustine Bevers (61), described as a surgeon & dentist, was living at Woodhouse in Iffley with his wife Helen (58) and a servant.

In 1911 Bevers was defeated again in an election, but in 1912 he returned to the council, and was elected an Alderman in 1918. He served on five important council committees until his death: Property & Estates (Chairman 1908–11 and from 1916); Watch (Vice-Chairman from 1916); Public Health (Vice-Chairman from 1914); Parliamentary; and Farm.

He was also a member of the War Memorial Committee, the Visiting Committee of the Littlemore Asylum, and Chairman of the Charity Trustees and Governors of the Boys’ High School. He was also a Justice of the Peace.

Bevers retired from dentistry in 1919 when he was 70.

† Edmund Augustine Bevers died in his sleep at home at 70 Woodstock Road on the night of 27 December 1921 at the age of 72: his death was quite unexpected, and the day before he had gone out shooting. His funeral was held at SS Philip & James Church on 31 December, and family mourners included his wife, his only son Edmund Cecil Bevers, his two daughters (Mrs James and Mrs Penfold) and his three unmarried sisters Winifred, (Margaret) Isabella, and Dora). The Mayor (with the mace-bearer carrying the mace draped in black), the Sheriff of Oxford, the Provost of Worcester, the Chief Constable, and the Member of Parliament for Oxford also attended. Bevers was buried at Wolvercote Cemetery (Grave H1/51)

His effects came to £16,841 4s. 3d., and his executors were his wife and Charles Wood, Esq.

His wife Helen Wood Bevers died at 25 Beaumont Street, Oxford on 19 March 1924. She was buried in a nearby grave to her husband in Wolvercote Cemetery (Grave H1/61). Her effects came to £3,119 9s. 3d., and her executor was her son Edmund junior.

The children of Edmund Augustine Bevers
  • Edmund Cecil Bevers (born 1875) was living at 42 Broad Street at the time of the 1911 census with his wife Tryphena and one servant. They do not appear to have had any children. He was elected consulting surgeon at the Radcliffe Infirmary in 1915. He died at 39 Belsyre Court, Oxford, at he age of 86, and was buried in his father's grave at Wolvercote Cemetery on 15 December 1961. His effects came to £258,657 5s., and his executors were his niece Helen Penfold and his solicitor. His wife Tryphena Laetitia Bevers who died at the age of 87 was buried in her mother-in-law's grave on 23 February 1954.
  • Maud Bevers, Mrs James (born 1876) was aged 34 in 1911 and living at 307 Woodstock Road with her husband Benjamin Edgar James (38) and one servant. They were living at 1a Warborough Mount, Quinta Road, Torquay when Benjamin died at the Mount Stuart Nursing Home there on 27 May 1942. His effects came to £6,000 19s., and his wife Maud was his executor.
  • Violet Bevers, Mrs Penfold (born 1878) was living at Worthing in East Sussex in 1911 with her husband the Revd Edward William Dixon Penfold and their first three children John Edward Penfold (5), Cecil Penfold (4), and Joan Penfold (2), plus two servants. They had two children born in the East Preston district: Helen M. Penfold in 1911 and Thomas B. D. Penfold in 1915. Her husband died at Durrington Vicarage near Worthing on 28 August 1948, and Violet died at the Old Vicarage, Durrington Hill, Worthing at the age of 98 on 24 January 1979. Her effects came to 321,540.

See also:

  • A. G. Gibson, The Radcliffe Infirmary (Oxford, 1926). pp. 192–3
  • Oxford Chronicle, 30 December 1921, p. 16d (obituary)
  • Oxford Journal Illustrated, 4 January 1922, pp. 8cd (report of his funeral) and 9 (photographs of Bevers in his mayoral robes, and of his coffin being carried to church by the City Police)
  • 1851 Census: Oxford (St Mary Magdalen), 1728/559
  • 1881 Census: Oxford (St Giles), 1499/99

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 9 April, 2019

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