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Sir Oliver Greenway (?1671–1740)

Mayor of Oxford 1717/18, 1721/2, and 1729/30


Oliver Greenway (or Greeneway/Greenaway) is likely to be the child of that name, the son of John Greenway and Mary, who was baptised at West Hendred on 5 September 1671. (Greenway was eventually buried in West Hendred, suggesting it was his original home.)

Oliver Greenway became an Oxford tanner (at Littlegate, according to the diariSt Thomas Hearne).

On 16 April 1702 at St Aldate’s Church, Oliver Greenway married Mary Pinnell, the daughter of Alderman James Pinnell. Greenway and his wife had seven children in ten years, but all except the eldest died in infancy:

  • Elizabeth Greenway (baptised on 27 January 1703/4 at St Aldate’s Church)
  • John Greenway I (baptised on 2 July 1705 at St Aldate’s Church; buried there 4 July 1705)
  • James Greenway (baptised on 28 January 1706/7 at St Aldate’s Church; buried there 14 April 1715)
  • John Greenway II (baptised on 1 August 1708 at St Aldate’s Church; buried there 15 March 1708/9)
  • Martha Greenway (baptised on 29 July 1709 at St Aldate’s Church; buried there 12 August 1709)
  • Richard Greenway (baptised on 25 May 1711 at St Aldate’s Church buried there 13 June 1714)
  • Robert Greenway (baptised on 18 December 1712 at St Aldate’s Church buried there 17 June 1714)
  • Then, after a 13-year gap, an Oliver Greenway, son of Oliver, was baptised on 8 April 1725 at St Aldate's Church;
    and the baptism was also recorded at St Martin’s Church with the same date.

On 18 September 1702 Greenway was admitted free for £8 in money and 40s. in wine, official fees, and a leather jack, on condition he did not use any other trade than a tanner. His freedom was the gift of his father-in-law, who was then Mayor elect, and as soon as he became Mayor in September Pinnell nominated Greenway as his child and gave him a Chamberlain’s place. Two years later in September 1704 Greenway was elected junior bailiff.

On 25 March 1716 Greenway took on as an apprentice Samuel Green (the son of John Green, deceased, late yeoman of Chilswell Farm).

In November 1716 Greenway was chosen as one of the Mayor’s eight Assistants. In September 1717 he was elected Mayor of Oxford (for 1717/18), selecting Timothy Gabell as his Child and William West as his Chamberlain.

Greenway was appointed Mayor a second time in September 1721, this time selecting James Green as his Child and Richard Walker as his Chamberlain. During his mayoralty, on 30 July 1722, he was chosen to fill one of the Alderman’s places.

Greenway’s only surviving daughter, Elizabeth, is probably the Elizabeth Greenaway who married John Tyrell of Stanford-in-the-Vale at St Aldate’s Church on 8 July 1725.

Thomas Hearne in his diary implies that Greenway made a special effort to be elected Mayor in 1727 because of the impending Coronation:

This Greenaway being a very great Whig, & having made some attempt to be Mayor this year, on purpose that he might be knighted at the Coronation, tho’ he could not succeed, it was done I suppose, for that reason by way of sneer upon the Tories, of wch kind is the Mayor.

Although Greenway failed in his attempt to be made Mayor, when George II was crowned on 4 October 1727 he was knighted anyway, despite only being one of the Mayor’s Assistants, causing Thomas Hearne to remark, “which thing of Knighting one of the Mayor of Oxford’s Attendants is perfectly new”.

As Sir Oliver Greenway, in 1729 he was elected for a second term as Mayor (for 1729/30), choosing John Austin as his Child and George Wentworth as his Chamberlain.

His wife Mary Greenway, described in the burial register as “the wife of Sir Oliver” was buried at St Aldate’s Church on 1 November 1740. Her husband survived her by only three months.

† Sir Oliver Greenway died near the beginning of 1741 and was buried at West Hendred on 5 February 1740/1.


See also:

  • Malcolm Graham, Oxford City Apprentices 1697–1800, entry numbered 958

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 20 September, 2018

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