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Isaac Bartholomew (c.1555–1618)

Mayor of Oxford 1599/1600


Isaac Bartholomew was a whitebaker of St Aldate’s parish in Oxford.

On 24 January 1577/8 at St Aldate's Church, Isaac Bartholomew married Joan Andrews.

Isaac Bartholomew came on the common council on 29 September 1580.

On 20 November 1584 he was appointed to sell wood to the poor:

Hit is agreed that Isacke Barthelmewe and John Blythe shalbe sellers of the woode and fagotts provided for the poore and to be accomptable for the money receaved unto this Cytie; in which sale they shall respect those that have greatest nede at theire discretion and to sell sixe single bylletts for a pennye and a fagott for a pennye.

On 29 July 1585 Bartholomew was appointed one of the three collectors of a tax in the south-west ward, and on 4 October 1585 he was elected Chamberlain.

Bartholomew took on a number of apprentice bakers over the years, including Robert Rawlins of Cassington on 30 November 1582; Thomas Bartholomew of Warborough (the son of the husbandman Thomas Bartholomew, and likely to be a relation) on 29 September 1589; William Lawrence of Wiltshire on 1 May 1581; William Tredwell of Middle Aston on 7 April 1594; Thomas Wise of Drayton on 19 March 1597; Thomas Gibson of Long Hanborough on 29 September 1598; and William Baylie of Worcestershire on 11 December 1601.

On 21 December 1586 Bartholomew was admitted by the University as a white baker. On 14 December 1587 he was one of twelve bakers bound in a bond of £20 each to sell “thirteen of bread to the dozen within the University”. He was also one the bakers found faulty for not observing the size of loaf appointed by the Vice-Chancellor and the Clerks of the Market, and was fined a dozen loaves of bread to be distributed among the poor.

On 16 September 1588 Bartholomew was elected one of the bailiffs, and on 29 September 1591 Survyeor of nuisances.

On 2 November 1591 Bartholomew was admitted by the University as a brewer of ale and beer.

On 7 December 1592 he was chosen as one of the thirteen associates, paying the £5 fee. On 3 October 1593 he was also appointed one of the Keepers of the five keys.

On 30 August 1596 it was agreed that Bartholomew should travel with the Mayor and Town Clerk and seven other members of the council to London to present the earl of Essex, the High Steward elect of Oxford, with a piece of plate and some gloves.

On 29 August 1597 Bartholomew was granted a lease with Henry Dodwell in reversion for 40 years of that part of the Augustine Friars with the Augustine Fair (the site of the present Wadham College).

On 3 October 1597 Bartholomew was chosen as one of the four Surveyors of mills. The next month his wife, Joan Bartholomew, died, and she was buried at St Aldate’s Church on 25 November.

His second wife was called Mary.

Bartholomew was elected Mayor on 16 September 1599 (for 1599/1600), choosing John Royse, a tailor, to be awarded his freedom for a gilt penny.

After his term of office, Bartholomew is described as “gent.”.

On 10 November 1600 his son William Bartholomew was apprenticed to the tailor Richard Bartholomew, who was likely to be a relation.

On 25 July 1601 Isaac Bartholomew was chosen Alderman,

’and the xli. beeing here layd downe, by the consent of this howse hee is respected untill Munday next come fortnight, for the taking of his oathe or to refuse the place paying xli., as hath byn accustomed, which respyte is given of specyall favour unto him for diverses causes’.

On 4 May 1603 it was agreed that Bartholomew should be one of the group attending the Mayor at the Coronation of King James I in London on 25 July, but in the event no one from outside London was allowed to attend because of plague. On 29 August 1603 he was appointed one of the two Coroners within the city and suburbs, and on 1 February 1604 he was chosen with Alderman Goode to view the waters with a view to ascertaining a convenient route for barges of ten to fifteen tons to come from Burcot to Oxford via Abingdon.

On 5 October 1610 it was agreed that:

Mr Isaac Bartholomew and Mr John Bird shalbee imployed by this Cyttie about our Myll cause which is to bee heard on Saturday come sennight betwixt the Cyttie and Merton Colledge, and that George Box shall attend Mr Alderman Bartholomew in his journey therefore; and that such money as shalbee fitt and shalbe necessarily expended by them shalbee taken owt of the Cyttie’s chest and delivered unto them.

On 4 February 1611 Bartholomew was one of the group who rode with the Mayor to London to present to William Lord Knollys, Treasurer of His Majestie’s household, letters patent from the city.

Three of Bartholomew’s apprentice whitebakers were admitted free as follows: William Bayley (23 April 1611), Simon Fox (8 August 1617) and Thomas Minn (10 May 1619).

In June 1612 Bartholomew went off to London again to a hearing about the controversies between the City and the University before the Privy Council, and on 10 August 1614 it was agreed that he would ride to Lancashire with the Town Clerk with letters from the Steward of Oxford to the Earl and Countess of Derby concerning the alienation of land at Eynsham.

On 10 February 1612/13 his son William Bartholomew was buried at St Aldate’s Church.

On 2 March 1615 Bartholomew’s son, Matthew Bartholomew, was made a freeman and awarded a bailiff’s place gratis, paying only the officers’ fees.

On 2 January 1618 it was agreed that Alderman Bartholomew, because of his age and infirmity, should be allowed to nominate William Wright as his deputy, and within nine months he was dead.

† Alderman Isaac Bartholomew died in autumn 1618 and was buried at St Aldate’s Church on 21 September. He asked in his will that his body “shalbe buryed without extraordinary solemnity” in whatever church seemed most expedient.

On 25 September 1623 his widow Mary Bartholomew (also known as Mary Isaac) was admitted by the University as a white baker.


See also:

  • PCC Will PROB 11/132/317
    (Will of Isaac Bartholomew or Bartholomewe, Alderman of Oxford, proved 29 September 1618)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 27 April, 2020

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