Oxford History: Mayors & Lord Mayors


Stanier Waller (1844–1930)

Mayor of Oxford 1919/20

Stanier Waller was born at Bishop's Tachbrook in Warwickshire on 13 August 1844. His parents were the Revd Ernest Adolphus Phipps Waller and Louisa Wise who were married at Offchurch, Warwickshire on 15 January 1935. He had five older siblings: Ernest Alured Waller (1836), Henry Waller (1837), Edmund Waller (1838), Louisa Mary Waller (1841), and Mary Nutcombe Waller (1843).

Stanier was only eight months old when his father died on 20 April 1845.

Waller joined the Royal Engineers in c.1864, and served with them for 38 years.

His brother Captain Edmund Waller died in London on 6 February 1871, and his brother Lieutenant Henry Waller died on 18 July 1873 in Bermuda. His mother Louisa Waller died in Warwick on 22 October 1874.

On 23 April 1879 in the Brackley district, Stanier Waller married Sophia Louisa Willes (born in Leamington in 1846 and the daughter of William Willes of Astrop House, Northamptonshire). They had the following children:

  • Louisa Waller (born in Belgravia, London in about September 1880)
  • Stanier Edmund William Waller (born at Castle Street, Farnham, Surrey in 1881 and baptised there on 22 September, wrongly registered as Stainer)
  • Wathen Ernest Waller (born in Farnham, Surrey on 3 July 1886 and baptised at St Andrew's Church there on 5 August)
  • Michael Henry Waller (born in Farnham, Surrey on 29 September 1888)
  • Dorothy Waller (born in Aldershot, Hampshire on 5 March 1891).

The 1881 census shows Stanier Waller (36) and his wife Sophia (35) living at Guildford House in Farnham, Surrey with their first child Louisa (seven months). The family was looked after by a cook, housemaid, nursemaid, and nurse.

In 1882, after active service in Egypt, Waller was made a Brevet Major.

The 1891 census shows Major Stanier Waller (46) living in barracks at Aldershot with his wife and all five of their children, ranging in age from one month to ten years. They employed a governess, nurse, nursemaid, cook, and housemaid.

Two years later, on 25 June 1893, Stanier Waller’s wife Sophia Louisa Waller died at the age of 47.

In 1897 Stanier Waller was made a Colonel, and in that year (five years before his retirement) he moved to Oxford, where he commanded the University Volunteers for some years.

The 1901 census shows Colonel Waller (56) on his own at 28 Bardwell Road with three servants. His elder daughter Louisa (20) was staying with her maternal uncle William Willes and his family in Cranborne Road, Bournemouth, and his younger daughter Dorothy (10) was staying with her paternal uncle the Revd Ernest Waller and his family at the Rectory in Little Packington, Warwickshire.

In 1902 Waller was awarded the CVO, and in 1904 was granted an honorary MA by the University.

In 1904 Stanier Waller was elected on to Oxford City Council as the Conservative representative for the North Ward. He served on the Waterworks, Highways, Education, Allotments, and Library Committees.

The 1911 census shows Stanier Waller (66), described as a retired Colonel RE and a University Lecturer, still living at 28 Bardwell Road. His son Stanier junior (29), who was a reserve Lieutenant in the Royal Fusiliers, and his daughter Dorothy (20) were now living with him, and they had a cook, a lady’s maid, and a parlour maid. His son Wathen (24) was a medical student boarding iat 134 York Road, Lambeth, and his son Michael (22) was a theological student boarding at Cuddesdon.

Two of Stanier Waller's sons were married in the next four years:

  • In the fourth quarter of 1912 at St George's, Hanover Square, Wathen Henry Waller married Mabel C. Stopford.
  • On 27 September 1915 at Cowley St John Church, Lieutenant Stanier Edmund William Waller (34) of St Giles parish in Whittington married Alice Amy Harris (20) of 327 Cowley Road.

On 15 July 1917 his eldest daughter Louisa Waller died.

Waller was County Director of the Red Cross in Oxford and in 1918 was awarded the OBE.

In 1919 Stanier Waller managed to hold on to his seat despite a big Liberal victory, and was unanimously elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1919/20). He was proposed by Alderman Bevers, who described him as “a youthful prodigy” (his age was 74!) and was seconded by Alderman Sherwood, who said that Waller had “the warmest affection”.

On 1 May 1923 his son Stanier Edmund William Waller died at Athol, 23 Hodford Road, Golders Green, Hendon, Middlesex at the age of 42. He was buried at Wolvercote Cemetery on 8 May 1923.

Waller was made an Alderman, but did not seek re-election after the extension of Oxford’s boundaries in 1929.

† Stanier Waller died at his home at 174 Banbury Road on 14 June 1930 at the age of 85. His funeral was at St Michael & All Angels Church, and he was buried at Wolvercote Cemetery.

His eldest three children were already dead, but his three youngest children all survived him. Dr Wathen Ernest Waller died in Worthing at the age of 72 in 1958; the Revd Michael Henry Waller in Brighton at the age of 83 in 1974; and Dorothy Waller in Brighton at the age of 95 on 2 March 1986.

See also:

  • Oxford Times, 20 June 1930, pp. 12d, 13g: obituary
  • 1881 Census: Surrey (Farnham), 787/65

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 6 December, 2018

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