Document signed by Henry VIII that heped found the London Stock Exchange | Tudor Life and Times | Forum
November 18, 2010
A 500-year-old document signed by King Henry VIII granting a loan which ultimately helped found the London Stock Exchange has emerged for sale for £65,000.
Addressed to John Heron, the Treasurer of the Chamber, King Henry informs him to loan £637 and 10 shillings – worth £3.94million today – to English cloth merchant Richard Gresham.
The loan enabled Gresham, a member of parliament, to found the House of Gresham – one of the most celebrated mercantile and financial houses of the 16th Century.
His son, Sir Thomas Gresham, then further increased the family fortune and in 1571 founded the Royal Exchange in the City of London – the country’s first stock exchange and central to founding modern business in England.
The monarch wrote: ‘Richard Gresham of oure Citie of London with other stonde bounde by obligacion for the payment to oure use of the somme of Sixe hundred thirty seven poundes and ten shillynges at a certayn daie expired.’
Signed by Henry VIII ‘Henry R’ in 1513 – four years into his 38-year reign – he also orders for the payment to be delayed for two years upon receiving sureties from Gresham the crown would be repaid.
At the time of the loan, 29-year-old Gresham was a major cloth merchant trading in Antwerp, Belgium.
An extremely influential figure, he served as the Lord Mayor of London, a Member of Parliament and was a major financier to the crown.
The loan was part of a raft of handouts Henry granted to help develop businesses and came from the central purse.
It helped fund Gresham’s empire and six years later his son Sir Thomas was born – who also became Lord Mayor of London and whose influence on the economy is still felt in London today.
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