Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Nathaniel Castle (1800–1861)

Mayor of Oxford 1858/9

Nathaniel Castle was born in Deddington in c.1799, the son of Richard Castle.

He was apprenticed to the hatter Jeremiah Randall on 20 April 1811, and admitted free on 12 August 1825. By 1830 he described himself as as a  hosier of St Aldate’s parish.

On 30 May 1830 at St Mary Magdalen Church, Oxford, Nathaniel Castle married Mary Green, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Green, who was born in Oxford on 12 May 1797 and baptised at St Mary Magdalen Church on 4 June. They do not appear to have had any children.

13 High Street, Oxford

Robert Juggins had been a hatter in the High Street until 1830, and soon after his marriage Nathaniel Castle went into partnership with John Juggins at 13 High Street in All Saints parish (left).

Vincent's Directory of 1835 lists Juggins & Castle as hatters in the High Street. and Castle was was a hatter and hosier there for the next quarter of a century.

The 1841 census shows Nathaniel Castle living over the shop with his wife Mary. Also living with them were his apprentice Richard Castle and Ann Castle, who was still at school: they were probably his nephew and niece.

In Pigot's Directory of 1842 and Gardner's Directory for 1852 Nathaniel Castle is listed in his own right here at 13 High Street as a hatter and mercer respectively.

In 1851 Nathaniel (51), described as a hatter & men's mercer, was living over the shop at 13 High Street with his wife Mary (53), his niece Ann Castle (24) and his wife’s niece Adelaide Green (14). An apprentice (Robert Juggins of Wheatley), two student lodgers, and two servants also lived with them.

In 1852 Castle was elected for the first time to the Town Council, and he was re-elected in 1853, 1856, and 1859, serving as Sheriff in 1855/6.

On 12 April 1856 Castle announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal that he was taking William Robert Juggins (the nephew of his late partner Robert Juggins) into partnership with him at 13 High Street, and that the business was now Messrs. Castle & Juggins, Hatters, Shirt makers, Hosiers, Glovers &c.

Castle was elected Mayor of Oxford for 1858/9.

On Friday 16 November 1860 Nathaniel Castle went out to ride with the South Oxfordshire hounds, and was thrown from his horse, which then trampled his chest. He died the next day

† Nathaniel Castle died on 17 November 1860 aged 61. The following report on his death and inquest appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal of 24 November 1860:

Fatal Accident to Mr. Justice Castle.

On Friday the 16th inst. a serious accident befell Mr. Justice Castle, of the High-street, in this city, while he was out with the South Oxfordshire hounds, and we deeply regret to say that it terminated fatally on the following evening. The deceased, who had not been in good health for the last few years, was recommended by his medical advisers to avail himself as much as possible of equestrian exercise, and he acted upon that advice by taking a ride most days, and more frequently early in the morning before breakfast. During the hunting season, however, he was a regular attendant in the field, when his health and avocations permitted, and appeared to enjoy the sport as much as any one. On Friday the 16th the South Oxfordshire hounds met at Holton Stone Pits, and Mr. Castle joined them on a dark grey horse, which he had ridden but three times previously, and which, only the night before, some of his friends told him was not adapted for him, and recommended him to get some one to ride it for him until it became more manageable. Mr. Castle, however, had such confidence in his skill as a rider that he went out the next morning with the same horse to meet the South Oxfordshire hounds, and just as the fox broke cover the animal was startled by the noise, and Mr. Castle was thrown to the ground, when the horse trod upon his right breast and fractured four of his ribs. He was sufficiently recovered to reach home, and his medical advisers, Dr. Giles and Mr. G. R. Wyatt, were soon in attendance upon him, but from the commencement, owing to the extent of the injuries, great doubts were entertained as to his recovery. The next day the symptoms became worse, and towards the afternoon it was evident that his dissolution was at hand, and between nine and ten o’clock that night his sufferings were terminated by death.

On Monday evening an inquest was held on the body at his residence in the High-street, by W. Brunner, Esq., who explained to the Jury that painful and trying as it was to him to hold in inquest on one with whom he had been on such intimate terms, and with whom he had spent the evening before this melancholy accident, still his duty, as a servant of the Crown, required him to make this investigation, as he was bound to do in all cases within his district, without reference to the position  or circumstances of the party.

After several witness reports, the Jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

He was buried at Holywell Cemetery on 23 November 1860, and the tradesmen in All Saints' parish, and some others in the High Street where the funeral procession passed, closed their shops out of respect to his memory.

His effects came to under £12,000, and his wife Mary was his executor.

At the time of the 1861 census his widow, Mary Castle was the head of the household, but soon after this she advertised in Jackson’s Oxford Journal that she was disposing of her husband’s business to John Juggins. She died on 20 November 1862, and left all her property to her relations.

Webster’s Directory for 1866 shows John Juggins as the hatter and hosier at 13 High Street.

See also:

  • Poll Book 1835
  • L.5.6 Hanasters 1780–1889
  • Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 5 June 1830: Announcement of Castle’s marriage
  • Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 24 November 1860: Announcement of Castle’s death, and details of inquest
  • 1841 Census: Oxford (All Saints), 891/02/03
  • 1851 Census: Oxford (All Saints), 1728/76

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 3 January, 2021

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