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John Olney, Lord Mayor of London, 1446-1447

​John Olney, Lord Mayor of London, 1446-1447.

​Anne Lancashire, Professor of English at the University of Toronto, writes about an addition to the Mayors and Sheriffs of London (MASL), 1190-1558 database which she created and edits. This electronic resource is a must for anyone interested in early London history.

Mayors and Sheriffs of London, or MASL - the researched and referenced public access database of the names of London’s mayors and sheriffs by year(s) of office and by guild/company membership - has recently received a useful addition. This is a link to a new web page providing, for the years 1190-1558, two kinds of information on the annual confirmation, by the Crown, of London’s incoming sheriffs (which normally took place on 30 September) and of the incoming mayor (which normally took place on 29 October).

When 30 September or 29 October fell upon a Sunday, it was customary in at least some periods for the usual presentation or oath-taking ceremony to be postponed until Monday; and the web page provides both information on the custom and a list of the years in which a postponement is noted in the manuscript records of the city and/or of the city’s livery companies. These shrieval and mayoral ceremonies also normally took place at the Exchequer at Westminster, but in some years the Tower of London was substituted for the Exchequer, with the Constable of the Tower acting as the monarch’s representative in the place of the Barons of the Exchequer; and the web page also provides a list of known years of Tower shrieval and/or mayoral confirmations.

The list of Tower oaths by the mayor is particularly useful in that, from 1453, the mayor’s oath-taking at Westminster involved a water procession on the Thames to Westminster and back, with constructed pageants (probably from some time in the early to mid 16th century) along the “return” land route from the river to the Guildhall; but in Tower oath years no water procession took place, and the land procession was less elaborate than usual.

Work is also in progress on the first of several extensions which will bring the MASL database - currently running from 1190 to 1558 - from 1558 up to the present. The first full extension will be from 1558 to 1642, and will be added in 2013, probably as a linked web page until funding permits its full integration into the database. A working list of mayors from 1642 to1900 will also be added.

MASL has been developed with the support of the University of Toronto Library, and is available to the online public as part of UTL's series of online digital information collections.

For users working at London Metropolitan Archives, a link to MASL is provided on the public-access computers.

Further information

You can find many pictures of Lord Mayors of London on Collage: The London Picture Archive.

Find pictures Search Collage

You can find out more about other archives held at LMA on our collections pages.

14 November 2012
Last Modified:
01 August 2018