Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


John Crews Dudley (1809–1874)

Mayor of Oxford 1852/3

John Crews Dudley was born in Oxford on 20 June 1809 and baptised the next month on 18 July at St Peter-in-the-East Church.

He was the son of Crews Dudley and Jane Castell, who were married at St John the Baptist Church in Oxford on 20 November 1805. He had an older sister, Jane Castell Dudley (baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 14 November 1806), and a younger brother, Samuel Dudley (born on 2 August 1812 and baptised at St Peter-in-the-East Church on 26 August).

Soon after John’s birth the family moved to 6 Broad Street, where his father Crews Dudley practised as a solicitor: he was involved in the speculative development of Summertown in the 1820s, and also served on the council, rising to the position of Bailiff.

John Crews Dudley followed his father into practice as a solicitor, while his younger brother Samuel (1814–1879) entered Jesus College, Oxford and was eventually ordained.

On 23 July 1839 at St Luke's Church, Chelsea, John Crews Dudley married his first wife Elizabeth Stevens, the eldest daughter of the merchant William Stevens of Oxford.

Initially John and his wife lived at 28 St John Street in St Giles’s parish, and the 1841 census shows them there with one servant. They had the following children:

  • Elizabeth Jane Crews Dudley (born at 28 St John Street in 1841/2 and baptised at St Giles’ Church on 27 April 1842 )
  • Martha Trimmer Dudley (born 28 St John Street in 1843 and baptised at St Giles’ Church on 6 October)
  • Althea Eliza Dudley (born at 28 St John Street in 1845 and baptised at St Giles’ Church on 24 September)
  • Crews Dudley (born at 28 St John Street in 1846 and baptised at St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church on 4 May 1847)
  • George Dennis Darville Dudley (born at 7 Broad Street in 1849 and baptised on 14 October at St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church).

When John Crews Dudley’s father Crews Dudley died on 19 December 1846 (after forty years in practice), he took over his business and moved with his family into 6 Broad Street, in St Michael’s parish.

John’s first wife Elizabeth Dudley died at the age of 44 just five months after the birth of her fifth child, and was buried at St Michael’s on 13 March 1850. Three weeks later Dudley’s mother, who was still living in St Giles’s parish, died at the age of 77 and was buried at St Sepulchre's Cemetery on 5 April 1850.

The 1851 census shows John Crews Dudley (40), attorney and solicitor, living at 7 Broad Street with his children Elizabeth (9), Martha (7), Althea (5), Crews (4), and George (1). The family had four servants (a cook, governess, nursemaid, and general servant).

The next year, 1852, he was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1852/3). On 22 September 1853 Dudley perambulated the city boundary (details here).

In 1861 Dudley (50) was living at 6/7 Broad Street. No. 7 was now in fact the County Court office (where he served as a magistrate), and although they may have occupied some of this house, his real residence was No. 6 (right). He was still a widower with his five children living at home, and an Alderman of the City of Oxford. All the children were still at school except Elizabeth (19) who doubtless looked after the house with the help of three servants (a male servant out of livery, a cook, and a housemaid).

On 8 August 1861 at Stoke Newington, John Crews Dudley was married by his brother, the Revd Samuel Dudley, to his second wife, Selina Ives Powell. Selina, who was born in Easthorpe, Essex, who was only 34 at the time of the marriage, was the daughter of the late John Powell, Esq. At the time of the 1861 census Selina (32), described as a landowner, had been the companion of her widowed aunt Mrs Julia Dudley (71) at Nelson Terrace, Stoke Newington. Her husband, the merchant William Dudley, had been born in Bicester, so doubtless was a relation of John Crews Dudley.

John's second wife Selina Ives Dudley died at 6/7 Broad Street at the age of 37 on 31 October 1864, just over three years after their marriage.

His daughter Althaea was married in 1868:

  • On 14 April 1868 at St Michael's Church, Althea Elizabeth Dudley (22) married the Revd Henry Elwell (23) of Blackburn.

At the time of the 1871 census, John Crews Dudley was living at 6/7 Broad Street with three of his children: George (21), who was now an articled clerk; Elizabeth (29); and Martha (27), plus their two servants. His unmarried son Crews (21) was an articled clerk to a solicitor lodging at 61 Denmark Road, Northampton with an accountant’s clerk and his wife

† John Crews Dudley died at 6 Broad Street at the age of 64 on 8 February 1874, and he was buried in St Sepulchre's Cemetery (see his grave)

Children of John Crews Dudley and his first wife Elizabeth
  • Elizabeth Jane Crews Dudley (born 1841/2) never married: see her grave for more information
  • Martha Trimmer Dudley (born 1843) never married. She initially lived with her older sister Elizabeth in Oxford, but by 1891 was living at 11 Cross Street, Hastings. She died in Hastings at the age of 66 in 1909.
  • Althea Elizabeth Dudley, Mrs Elwell (born 1845) and her husband Henry Elwell had eight sons. In 1891 she was living at Harlow Common in 1891 with Henry and six of their sons: Henry Edward Elwell (22), who was a student of theology, and John (12), Charles (11), Herbert (9), William (5), and Walter (2), plus a governess, cook, housemaid, and nurse. They were still in Harlow in 1901 with four of their children. Althea Elizabeth Dudley died on 13 March 1906 and was buried in Harlow at St Mary Magdalene churchyard.
  • Crews Dudley (born 1846): see his grave for more information
  • George Dennis Darville Dudley (born 1849): see his grave for more information

  • Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 27 July 1839: Announcement of Dudley’s marriage
  • Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 26 December 1846, p. 3d: Obituary of Dudley’s father, Crews Dudley
  • 1841 Census: Oxford (St Giles), 891/06/16
  • 1851 Census: Oxford (St Michael), 1728/540
  • 1861 Census: Oxford (St Michael), 894/77
  • 1871 Census: Oxford (St Michael), 1438/74

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 20 January, 2022

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