BRAMPTON, William II (d.1440), of Burford and Oxford.
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Family and Education
Tax collector, Oxford Mar. 1401, Oxon. Dec. 1429, Aug. 1430.
Bailiff, Oxford Mich. 1404-6; alderman 1415-20, 1423-5, 1426-30, 1432-6, 1437-8; mayor 1420-3, 1425-6, 1430-2, 1436-7, 1438-9.3
J.p. Oxford 17 Apr. 1422-May 1436, Mar. 1437-d.
His 25 years in municipal office, including eight as mayor, and his comparatively great wealth, made William Brampton one of the most influential of Oxford burgesses in the first half of the 15th century. He did not, however, originate there, nor was he exclusively concerned with municipal affairs. He is first recorded, in 1396, at Burford, one of the Cotswold wool towns some 15 miles north-west of Oxford, and he continued to appear in the local records (usually described as ‘of Oxford’) throughout his life. He owned at least four houses there, was a member of the town guild, and as late as 1429 is mentioned in Chancery as ‘woolman of Burford’. Even so, it is very likely that for the greater part of his active career he was resident in Oxford.4
Although he had earlier served as a tax collector there, Brampton is first mentioned in Oxford sources in 1403, when Thomas Forsthill* conveyed to him a hall for scholars, called Gloucester hall, in St. Aldate’s parish. He later passed it on to John Hickes*, but acquired other properties nearby, including a number of cottages, which he leased from Osney abbey, and a house in Castle Street. In addition he held land in the parish of St. Cross, Holywell.5 It was while an alderman that Brampton was twice elected to Parliament, in 1416 and 1419, and during his first term as mayor he was returned to that of May 1421. His name appears on the parliamentary election indentures for the borough 11 times between 1420 and 1437, being omitted only in 1425 (when he was himself elected) and from the indenture of 1435, which contains no list of witnesses. During his mayoralty of 1425-6 he received 40s. expenses for going to Westminster ‘ad defendendum attinctam quam Prior sancte Frideswyde prosecutus fuit versus homines ville’. Four years later Brampton, like most of his fellow burgesses, became involved in the dispute over market dues between the corporation and the chancellor of the university. He was in London on business connected with the case in late 1429 or early 1430, when a supper was bought for him there while 80 men of Oxford were visiting the City, probably to present a petition. He continued to hold municipal office until 1438, when he was elected mayor for the eighth and final time.6
Earlier in 1438 Brampton had been party to a conveyance of the manor of Swinbrook and other land near Burford, and by 1440 he had retired to his native town. It was there that on 9 June, ‘videns michi periculum mortis iminere’, he made his will. This interesting document shows that Brampton died a very rich man, having prospered from the profits of his business as a wool merchant. His legacies in cash and rents totalled more than £800, apart from the capital value of his property, which is not specified in detail but included an inn at Burford. He asked to be buried in the parish church there, in the chapel of the guild of the Holy Trinity, to which he left £20 for windows and a ‘flatrofe’ covered with lead. Other bequests included £500 to his wife, provided she remained a widow (otherwise only £200), 200 marks to the poor living in the Burford almshouses, £10 to the repair of roads near Oxford, and £2 to St. Martin’s church there for forgotten tithes. He apparently also gave 100 marks towards payment of the fee farm of Oxford. His executors were his widow Margaret, Thomas Barbour, a Burford merchant, and Thomas Brampton, a kinsman, the last of whom was to inherit most of his property. They were to be supervised by Thomas Send, vicar of Burford, who, in the event of a dispute, was to act as umpire. Barbour and Thomas Brampton, however, were still at odds over the will with Send some 30 years later.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: Charles Kightly
- 1. Reg. Chichele, ii. 608. Richard Brampton, butcher of Oxford, who died in 1362, was perhaps the MP’s gdfa.: Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxiv. 198-9.
- 2. R.H. Gretton, Burford Recs. 665.
- 3. Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxxvii. 19-22; lxiv. no. 358; lxvi. no. 548; lxviii. no. 771; lxxxix. no. 238; xc. no. 812; Queen’s Coll. deed 2297. Both Brampton and Thomas Coventre I* are given in the records as mayor for 1430-1; possibly Brampton deputized for Coventre while the latter was serving in Parliament: C219/14/2.
- 4. Burford Recs. 333-4, 360, 421-2, 665; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 311; CP25(1)191/25/29.
- 5. Oxf. Hist. Soc. xv. 201-2, 205; lxviii. no. 771; xci. 196, 199-200, 215, 231; ser. 2, xiv. 104; Merton Coll. deed 2600.
- 6. C219/12/4, 6, 13/1, 2, 4, 5, 14/1-4, 15/1; Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxxi. 285.
- 7. Reg. Chichele, ii. 606-8; Burford Recs. 110-11, 614; Bodl. Twyne ms, 4, f. 317.