OXNEY, Solomon (d.1433), of London.
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Family and Education
bro. of Giles Oxney (d. by 1409), of London, goldsmith, and John Oxney (d.c.1412), of London, grocer. m. (1) by Jan. 1403, Cecily, wid. of Thomas Boner (d.1397), of London, jeweller; (2) Alice (d.1432).1
Warden of the Goldsmiths’ Co. 19 May 1397-8, 1403-4, 1408-9, 1416-17, 1420-1, 1427-8.2
Oxney was almost certainly a kinsman—and perhaps even the son—of the Solomon Oxney who served briefly as escheator of Kent in December 1369 and later collected various royal fines and taxes there. Throughout their lives, he and his two brothers retained strong connexions with the county, where they inherited part of what seems to have been a family estate. A conveyance made in February 1392 to ‘Solomon Oxney the younger of London’ suggests that the Kentishman and the goldsmith were quite closely related. The former was himself no stranger to the City, having married Alice, the widow of Richard Ditch (d.1361), a London lead merchant who had made him his executor.3
Very little is known about Oxney’s commercial activities, although he clearly enjoyed great prestige among his fellow goldsmiths, who elected him warden of their company no less than six times. He was a party to some minor business transactions with two Lombard merchants in March 1394, and shortly afterwards he petitioned the mayor of the Staple of Westminster for help in recovering an unpaid debt of £24 due from a burgess of Canterbury. Prominent among his customers were Thomas Mowbray, the Earl Marshal (exec.1405), and his younger brother and eventual successor, John. Oxney supplied Thomas Mowbray with silver vessels worth at least £36, if not far more, and he subsequently undertook some delicate work for John, who purchased various items of jewellery from him, as well as an elaborate depiction of his arms set into a double-headed axe.4 Oxney was closely involved in the affairs of several Londoners, the majority of whom were either goldsmiths or workers in metal. In May 1400 and July 1402, for example, he stood surety for Walter Merwe on his appointment as master of the Mint; and, along with three others, he offered bail of 5,000 marks on behalf of William Fitzhugh, a goldsmith summoned to appear daily before the Parliament of February 1413. The Cornish tin merchant, John Megre*, named him as the supervisor of his will, while at least two other business associates, who seem to have thought highly of his financial expertise, asked him to be their executor.5 Much of his time was taken up with administrative matters of this kind, often concerning members of his family and their friends. In July 1408 he and his brother, John, acted as sureties for the executors of John Drewe, a London grocer, and in the following year they became joint guardians of the deceased’s children. On his brother’s death, three or four years later, Solomon Oxney assumed responsibility for the administration of a considerable estate, and eventually obtained custody of John’s two sons, together with their patrimony. He was also on close terms with his wife’s kinsman, John Chesham, a London scrivener, for whom he stood surety in April 1422 and whom he subsequently appointed to be one of his own executors.6
Oxney’s possessions in London and Kent were quite extensive. His first wife, Cecily, had been left a life interest in a shop and house in West Cheap by her former husband, the jeweller, Thomas Boner; and Oxney himself is known to have leased another three shops from the wardens of London Bridge at some point before September 1404. His name appears two years later on a list of goldsmiths who were bound severally in the sum of £200 to keep the peace as inn keepers in the City, so he must by this date have acquired at least one hostelry. Towards the end of his life Oxney purchased the reversion of three tenements in the parish of St. Nicholas Acon, but his title to other London property was evidently that of a trustee.7 It is now impossible to determine how much land the goldsmith held in Kent. During the Trinity term of 1398 he acquired two messuages and a small farm at Sarre on the Isle of Thanet, and at the time of his death he held rents and tenements at Oxney, near Dover (perhaps the place of his birth).8 His services as a feoffee-to-uses were much in demand both in and out of London; and among those who settled their land and possessions upon him were John Asshwell, Lancaster King of Arms, Andrew Newport*, John Holym (who also named Oxney among his mainpernors on becoming guardian of the temporalities of the bishop of Chichester in 1418) and the goldsmith, John Coraunt.9
Although he never achieved high office in London, Oxney played a full and active part in civic life. As warden of his livery company he successfully petitioned the Parliament of January 1404 that the goldsmiths might be given further powers of assay and supervision over the cutlers, whose competition they feared. Between 1407 and 1427 he attended at least five parliamentary elections held at the Guildhall. He also performed jury service many times in the City (usually representing Langbourne Ward) until, in December 1423, he was excused from this tedious obligation on the grounds of age and infirmity. Such disabilities did not however prevent him from serving a sixth term as warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company in 1427, although an enquiry held two years later to determine the validity of his former letters of exemption found that he was indeed ‘over 70 years of age and afflicted with deafness’.10
Oxney died between 18 June and 25 July 1433 and was buried in the church of St. Nicholas Acon, to which he left a generous bequest of property. Since he had no surviving children, part of his estate went to his nephew, Thomas Oxney, the rest being set aside for pious uses.11
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Corporation of London RO, hr 131/41, 143/28; hpl Monday aft. feast Conception of Virgin, 14 Hen. IV; Guildhall Lib. London, 9171/1, f. 405d, 3, ff. 308d-9.
- 2. T.F. Reddaway and L.E.M. Walker, Early Hist. Goldsmiths’ Company, 329-32.
- 3. Corporation of London RO, hr 89/199; hcp 114 m. 2d; CFR, viii. 257; ix. 57, 146; CCR, 1389-92, p. 531.
- 4. Cal. P. and M. London, 1381-1412, p. 217; C241/188/2; Add. Ch. 16556; R.E. Archer, ‘The Mowbrays’ (oxf. Univ. D. Phil. thesis, 1984), 227, 249.
- 5. CCR, 1399-1402, pp. 209, 581-2; 1409-13, p. 421; Corporation of London RO, hr 144/61, 79, 148/26, 151/32.
- 6. Cal. Letter Bk. London, I, 68, 143, 266; Corporation of London RO, hr 143/28; PCC 17 Luffenham.
- 7. Corporation of London RO, hr 131/41, 138/68, 158/21, 26, 36; hcp 140 m. 12; Bridge House rental (1404), f. 3; Guildhall Lib. 9171/3, ff. 359d-60d; Cal. P. and M. London, 1381-1412, p. 278.
- 8. CP25(1)111/251/1095; PCC 17 Luffenham.
- 9. CCR, 1441-7, p. 78; CFR, xiv. 233; CP25(1)113/296/73, 232/70/19; Corporation of London RO, hr 129/42-44, 141/17.
- 10. RP, iii. 536; C219/10/4, 12/5-6, 13/4-5; Corporation of London RO, hpl 137, 139, 145-7, 149; Cal. Letter Bk. London, K, 19, 86-87.
- 11. PCC 17 Luffenham; Guildhall Lib. 9171/3, ff. 359d-60d; Corporation of London RO, hr 162/15.