MAYOR, John (c.1735-1817), of Lacy Court, nr. Abingdon, Berks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1774 - 6 Mar. 1775
11 Mar. 1775 - Dec. 1782

Family and Education

b. c.1735, 1st s. of John Mayor, brass founder, of Little Moorfields, London.  m. (1) 30 June 1757, Miss Nettlefold; (2) 26 Nov. 1770, Miss Dickenson of East Smithfield.

Offices Held

Sheriff, Berks. 1774-5.


Mayor, a London brewer with considerable property in Essex, had a ‘strong personal interest and connexion’1 at Abingdon, where in October 1773 he was nominated as the corporation candidate. In September 1774, a month before the election, a letter to him in Jackson’s Oxford Post,2 inquired: ‘Had you a freehold in the county, when you were set over the heads of all the gentlemen of property in it to be made a pocket sheriff? And have you anything more than an ale-house now?’ Nevertheless, on 8 Oct., the same newspaper hoped his success would be ‘a hint for foreigners [meaning his opponent Nathaniel Bayly] in future, not to introduce themselves ... to the disunion of any borough’. Bayly petitioned against Mayor’s being returned while serving as sheriff, and the election was declared void 6 Mar. 1775; but on 11 Mar. Mayor was re-elected.

On 15 Mar. North stated in the House that ‘he was not personally known to Mr. Mayor’ who had, however, ‘entitled himself to his friendship’ by his strenuous support of ‘the present American measures’.3 The English Chronicle, an Opposition paper, wrote of him in 1780:

He is strongly attached to Lord North, and votes with him invariably; but as he is in all his common habits, and general intercourse in life, a very worthy, honest, upright man, no doubt can be entertained that his political bias is the pure effect of sentiment and conviction.

Only two speeches by Mayor are reported, 12 Apr. and 4 May 1780, both opposing a tax on malt. In March 1782 North wrote to the King:4

Mr. Mayor has a claim upon the public for very diligent labours, and a very essential assistance in amending the tax upon paper. Lord North has not been able to reward him and therefore thinks himself obliged to state his merit to his Majesty.

A pension of £1,000 was given to him, and appears in the list of pensions communicated to Rockingham 21 Apr. 1782, and to Shelburne 17 July 1782. In August 1782 John Robinson noted in a parliamentary survey for Shelburne that Mayor ‘has rendered services to the revenue, and has expectations of office as a reward’.5 In December 1782, for reasons unascertained, he vacated his seat.

A plan for an office to control the supply of government stationery was submitted by Mayor to the Treasury on 4 Jan. 1784,6 and was put into operation in August 1787, with him for superintendent; where he remained till 1799, building up the range and importance of his office.

Mayor died 23 Sept. 1817 ‘at a very advanced age’.7

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: Mary M. Drummond


  • 1. Laprade, 43.
  • 2. Quoted Townsend, News of a Country Town, 78.
  • 3. Almon, i. 320.
  • 4. Fortescue, v. 417.
  • 5. Laprade, 43.
  • 6. T29/54/519; T29/58/493.
  • 7. Gent. Mag. 1817, p. 473.