Banbury Borough was incorporated by a charter of 1554. The charter granted a number of rights, including the assize of bread and wine, the use of a common seal, the right to hold markets and fairs, a court of record and view of frankpledge, the right to elect a member of parliament and the right to purchase land. The borough was to be governed by a common council, taking over the functions of the lord of the old manorial borough and consisting of twelve aldermen and twelve burgesses, headed by a bailiff. By a charter of 1608, the corporation gained the right to hold its own quarter sessions and appoint a coroner and recorder.
From the 1820s, Improvement Commissioners were appointed for the cleansing, lighting, paving and watching of the borough. They were replaced in 1852, when a Local Board of Health for Banbury and District was appointed to take on responsibility for sewerage, health and sanitation.
The corporation was reformed under the Municipal Corporations Act, 1835. Henceforth, the borough council was to consist of four aldermen and twelve councillors, elected by ratepayers. The first committee of the reformed corporation was the Watch Committee, which met from 1836. Along with ongoing responsibility for the administration of justice, markets and fairs and the upkeep of borough property, from 1888 the council regained the functions of the disbanded Local Board of Health.
From 1889, Banbury Borough held the status of a non-county borough. In that year, it was extended to include Neithrop and Grimsbury, now represented by six aldermen and eighteen councillors in total. The borough had responsibility for elementary education between 1902 and 1944.
Banbury Borough Council was dissolved in 1974 and superseded by Cherwell District Council.
The majority of the records were deposited over a number of years by Cherwell District Council (accessions 1168, 1220, 1326, 2208, 3511, 3723, 4780, 6045 and 6217). Further records have been received via Banbury Library (accession 1352), Banbury Museum (accession 1347), Oxfordshire County Council (accession 1621, 4607, 4676) and other sources (accessions 1348 and 3422). The collection was recatalogued by Katherine Kinrade in August 2019.
The catalogue has been arranged into twelve sections, as follows:
2: Administration and Proceedings
3: Officers and Representatives
4: Borough Property
6: Parliamentary Elections
7: Court of Record
8: Banbury Court Leet
9: Banbury Quarter Sessions
10: Building Control and Planning
11: Health and Sanitation