OFFORD, William (d.1432/3), of Oxford.
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Family and Education
m. (1) Alice; (2) bef. 1410, Elizabeth; (3) bef. 1429, Margaret, wid. of John Stafford of Oxford.1
Bailiff, Oxford Mich. 1404-5, 1410-11, 1414-15; alderman 1407-8, 1419-24, 1427-30, 1431-2; surveyor of nuisances 1409-10; mayor 1424-5, 1426-7;2 coroner at d.
J.p. Oxford June 1426-d.
Offord, a fishmonger by trade,3 held municipal offices from 1404 onwards, and it was as a former bailiff that, in April 1418, he was accused of being a party to the corporation’s usurpation of the abbot of Osney’s franchise in the villages of North and South Osney. In the following year Offord attended the borough election to Parliament, and thereafter he was present at the elections of 1421 (May), 1423, 1425 (as mayor), 1427, 1429, 1431 and 1432—all those, in fact, at which he was not himself returned, up to the time of his death.4 His own first three returns to Parliament occurred while he was alderman.
In 1423 Offord granted a shop in Cornmarket to University college, a transaction probably connected with a dispute between the parties, during which he was ordered to appear in Chancery to swear not to encroach on college property. Ten days after the end of his last Parliament, held at Leicester between February and June 1426, Offord was appointed a j.p. in his home town, remaining in this office until his death. As an alderman he became involved in the dispute about the taxing of victuallers which broke out between the corporation and the chancellor of the university in 1428: in October of that year he was among the burgesses who took an oath before the chancellor’s court that the market dues levied on victuallers by the borough were customary and not an illegal exaction.5 It must also have been at about this time that he was serving as a coroner.
Offord owned five messuages in the parish of St. Cross, Holywell, which he and his third wife placed in the hands of trustees (Hugh Benet* and John Quarame*) in 1429. By his will, made in July 1432, he left to the town an annual rent drawn from two other properties in the parish of St. Peter-le-Bailey, which he had acquired ten years earlier from the executors of John Ottworth*. He also made provision for 1d. each to be offered by 64 burgesses attending the mass annually held on St. Scholastica’s day in St. Mary’s church, and for 1s. to be given to the clerk who read to them then; and he bequeathed a tenement to the church of St. Peter-le-Bailey, to pay for masses for himself and his three wives, who were all buried there. He died shortly before 31 Jan. 1433, when a new coroner was ordered to be elected in his place.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: Charles Kightly
- 1. Oxf. Hist. Soc. xvii. 105; xxxvii. 116; Merton Coll. ms 2605.
- 2. Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxxvii. 19-21; lxvi. no. 548; C219/14/3; Oxf. Archs. D/5/1, f. 48; Bodl. Twyne ms 23, f. 358.
- 3. Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxxiii. 269.
- 4. Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxxi. no. 190; C219/12/3, 5, 13/2, 3, 5, 14/1-3.
- 5. Twyne mss 4, f. 105, 16, f. 50; C1/5/125; Oxf. Hist. Soc. ser. 2, xiv. 2.
- 6. C219/14/3; Twyne ms 23, ff. 159, 379; Oxf. Archs. D/5/1, f. 48; Merton Coll. mss 2605-6; CCR, 1429-35, p. 195.