Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


James William Heading (1877–1968)

Mayor of Oxford 1947/8+

James William Heading was born at Round Robin Farm, Sevenhampton in Highworth, Wiltshire on 30 October 1877 and baptised at St Michael's Church, Highworth on 28 November.

He was the son of the farmer John Heading (born in Faringdon in 1846/7) and Louisa Castle (born in Wantage in 1849/50), who were married at Wantage in 1874.

At the time of the 1881 census James (3) was living at Round Robin Farm, Highworth with his father John  (33), who was described as a farmer employing four men, four women, and four boys, his mother Louisa (31), and his siblings John (4), Francis (2), Christopher (1), and Rebecca (two months). An unemployed governess was boarding with them, and they had a 17-year-old servant girl and a 14-year-old nursemaid.

Ten years later in 1891 James was staying at Goosey House in Goosey, Berkshire with his grandfather James Heading (72), a widower and farmer.

James Heading was educated at Brighton Grammar School, and by 1900 he was employed by the bankers Gillett & Co at their Witney branch. (Gilleyt’s later merged with Barclays.)

The 1901 census shows James (24) boarding in Market Square, Witney with a pianoforte dealer and his family.

On 30 April 1907 in Reigate, Surrey, James William Heading (27), described as a bank clerk of Southfield House, Oxford, married Edith Caroline Adams (22). She was born in Reading on 24 August 1884 but currently living at Oak Lodge in Reigate. and was the daughter of the deceased grocer Richard Adams. They had the following children:

  • William Richard Heading (born at 106 Abingdon Road, Oxford on 15 September 1910 and baptised at St Matthew's Church on 23 October)
  • Phyllis Heading (born in Oxford on 2 July 1916)
  • Margaret Heading (born in Oxford in 1921)
  • Doris Heading (born in Oxford in 1923).

The 1911 census shows James Heading (32), described as a bank clerk, living at 106 Abingdon Road, Oxford with his wife Edith (26) and their six-month-old son William and one servant. By 1914 they had moved to the Banbury Road.

In November 1937, a few days after the start of his early retirement, Heading was elected on to Oxford City Council.

The 1939 Register shows James Heading living at 386 Woodstock Road, Oxford with his wife and three daughters.

In 1947 Heading was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1947/8), and because he was Mayor at the time of the changeover of the month of the local election date from November to May, at the end of his year of office he served an extra six months as Mayor until May 1949. He was then made an Alderman.

Heading was then living at 386 Woodstock Road. He was a freemason, and was the founder of Annerley Lodge and a past master of Alfred Mark Lodge. He was a keen golfer, and also played football, cricket, and tennis.

Heading retired from the Council in 1957.

In 1960 his wife Edith Caroline Heading died in Oxford at the age of 75.

† Alderman James William Heading died at the age of 85 on 4 September 1963, leaving a son and three daughters. His funeral was held at St Peter’s Church, Wolvercote.

See also:

  • Oxford Times, 6 September 1963, p. 26 (obituary)
  • Oxford Times, 13 September 1963, p. 18 (funeral)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 4 December, 2018

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