The Mayotts were a leading family in Abingdon for more than two hundred years. Roger Mayott arrived from Horton in Staffordshire at some time before 1509. Over a hundred of his descendants can be identified in Abingdon before the last of them was buried at St Helen’s in 1715. Six Mayotts were mayors a total of fifteen times, and the same six were masters of Christ’s Hospital a total of sixteen times. By the 1660s, the family had split into several cousinages, of which two were wealthy enough to have their own coats of arms. Roger Mayott himself had been a farmer as well as a merchant, but later generations seem to have concentrated on trade and industry, notably brewing. They had marriage alliances with other prominent families in Abingdon, Oxford, and Reading.
In spite of their divisions, the Mayotts seem always to have acted as a unit in civic affairs. In the factional conflicts that rent Abingdon’s élite society from about 1580, the Mayotts through several generations led the conservative opposition to the Tesdales, whom they saw as social upstarts and reviled for their radicalism in religion. They frequently appealed to the Privy Council, which criticised their factionalism but, in 1629, removed a puritan vicar of St Helen’s of whom they disapproved. Before and during the Civil War which raged in the 1640s, the Mayotts and their friends dominated St Nicolas and Christ’s Hospital, while in the Corporation and in St Helen’s the parties were more evenly matched. During the interregnum that followed the war, the Mayotts came to terms with the more conservative elements of the regime. They helped to defend St Nicolas against puritan attempts to have it demolished, and gained the trust of the republicans who ruled briefly after Oliver Cromwell’s death. But when the monarchy was restored in 1660, the Mayott mayor of the time could not reconcile himself to the change. In 1663, when invited to swear allegiance to the new regime, he refused to do so, and was dismissed from his civic offices. From then on, Mayotts seem to have tended to leave Abingdon and live as gentlemen in Oxford or on country estates, and there would be no further Mayotts among the mayors of Abingdon.
The contribution of the Mayotts to Abingdon history is commemorated in the names of Mayott’s Road and of Mayott House.
See Glossary for explanations of technical terms.
© AAAHS and contributors 2013