3. Dick Whittington

The man who became Mayor of London four times (1397, 1398, 1406 and 1419) across the turn of the 15th Century lends part of his fame to a humble place that grew around a hill, simply because he stood there for a moment in time. Yes it’s amazing to think that Archway today is represented by the silhouetted image of Whittington’s cat.

Legend’s appear and grow over time when there isn’t much real information available that can be treated as undisputed fact. We know a little about the real Dick Whittington and it differs starkly with the legend.

For example, the tale of Dick Whittington and his cat is about a poor orphan boy from the countryside who came to London seeking his fortune. The actual man was the son of a Lord and there is no evidence of a cat.

So the legendary and historical figures are in contrast. What do you expect, it was a long time ago. So let’s look at the real version to see if there is anything specific that ties the man to the place.

When Richard Whittington arrived in London he had come from Gloucester. His father was Sir William Whittington, Lord of the Manor of Pauntley. As traffic enters the borough under Archway Bridge, the road on the left, formerly in olden maps called The Bank, is today renamed as Pauntley Street.

Sir William died in 1358 and Richard Whittington is thought to have been born in the 1350s, so presumably this is the reason he became an orphan in the legend, because he would have been no more than 8 years old when his father died.

The next thing we learn about him is that he served an apprenticeship dealing in cloths, silks and even gold fabric which he sold to the Royal Court. London was the centre of mercer purchases of silk, and he supplied Richard II with superlative Italian silks. Other clients included the duke of Gloucester, Henry IV and Henry V.

His trade as a mercer made him his personal fortune. He had acquired so much wealth that he would lend large sums of money to the crown. Further down Holloway Road, out of Archway and Upper Holloway, but still in Islington, can be found Mercer’s Road, see the map image below.

It was after his successful career that he turned away from textiles and became more politically active. Eventually he was rewarded with the position of Lord Mayor of London. He secured that position a further three terms before his death three years after the final term in 1423.

3. Dick Whittington

The man who became Mayor of London four times (1397, 1398, 1406 and 1419) across the turn of the 15th Century lends part of his fame to a humble place that grew around a hill, simply because he stood there for a moment in time. Yes it’s amazing to think that Archway today is represented by the silhouetted image of Whittington’s cat.

Legend’s appear and grow over time when there isn’t much real information available that can be treated as undisputed fact. We know a little about the real Dick Whittington and it differs starkly with the legend.

For example, the tale of Dick Whittington and his cat is about a poor orphan boy from the countryside who came to London seeking his fortune. The actual man was the son of a Lord and there is no evidence of a cat.

So the legendary and historical figures are in contrast. What do you expect, it was a long time ago. So let’s look at the real version to see if there is anything specific that ties the man to the place.

When Richard Whittington arrived in London he had come from Gloucester. His father was Sir William Whittington, Lord of the Manor of Pauntley. As traffic enters the borough under Archway Bridge, the road on the left, formerly in olden maps called The Bank, is today renamed as Pauntley Street.

Sir William died in 1358 and Richard Whittington is thought to have been born in the 1350s, so presumably this is the reason he became an orphan in the legend, because he would have been no more than 8 years old when his father died.

The next thing we learn about him is that he served an apprenticeship dealing in cloths, silks and even gold fabric which he sold to the Royal Court. London was the centre of mercer purchases of silk, and he supplied Richard II with superlative Italian silks. Other clients included the duke of Gloucester, Henry IV and Henry V.

His trade as a mercer made him his personal fortune. He had acquired so much wealth that he would lend large sums of money to the crown. Further down Holloway Road, out of Archway and Upper Holloway, but still in Islington, can be found Mercer’s Road, see the map image below.

It was after his successful career that he turned away from textiles and became more politically active. Eventually he was rewarded with the position of Lord Mayor of London. He secured that position a further three terms before his death three years after the final term in 1423.

His wife Alice was the daughter of Sir Ivo Fitzwaryn of Dorset. The crescent road off Hornsey Lane and just North of Pauntley Street is named after her family. The head of that family was a baron who frequented Parliament since 1295. The family continued in parliamentary service and started out with lands in Wilton and elsewhere in Wiltshire. By 1412 the estates in Wiltshire as well as Somerset, Dorset, and Surrey are estimated to have been worth over £163 p.a. and they would yet become richer and richer.

Fitzwaryn had two daughters, with no son to bequeath his fortune and his sister Philippa was a nun at Wilton. In August 1402 he arranged for some estates in Somerset and Wiltshire to pass to his daughter Alice and her husband Richard Whittington and the rest of his estate to the other daughter Eleanor, wife of John Chideock and later wife of Ralph Bush.

3. DICK WHITTINGTON

The man who became Mayor of London four times (1397, 1398, 1406 and 1419) across the turn of the 15th Century lends part of his fame to a humble place that grew around a hill, simply because he stood there for a moment in time. Yes it’s amazing to think that Archway today is represented by the silhouetted image of Whittington’s cat.

Legend’s appear and grow over time when there isn’t much real information available that can be treated as undisputed fact. We know a little about the real Dick Whittington and it differs starkly with the legend.

For example, the tale of Dick Whittington and his cat is about a poor orphan boy from the countryside who came to London seeking his fortune. The actual man was the son of a Lord and there is no evidence of a cat.

So the legendary and historical figures are in contrast. What do you expect, it was a long time ago. So let’s look at the real version to see if there is anything specific that ties the man to the place.

When Richard Whittington arrived in London he had come from Gloucester. His father was Sir William Whittington, Lord of the Manor of Pauntley. As traffic enters the borough under Archway Bridge, the road on the left, formerly in olden maps called The Bank, is today renamed as Pauntley Street.

Sir William died in 1358 and Richard Whittington is thought to have been born in the 1350s, so presumably this is the reason he became an orphan in the legend, because he would have been no more than 8 years old when his father died.

The next thing we learn about him is that he served an apprenticeship dealing in cloths, silks and even gold fabric which he sold to the Royal Court. London was the centre of mercer purchases of silk, and he supplied Richard II with superlative Italian silks. Other clients included the duke of Gloucester, Henry IV and Henry V.

His trade as a mercer made him his personal fortune. He had acquired so much wealth that he would lend large sums of money to the crown. Further down Holloway Road, out of Archway and Upper Holloway, but still in Islington, can be found Mercer’s Road, see the map image below.

It was after his successful career that he turned away from textiles and became more politically active. Eventually he was rewarded with the position of Lord Mayor of London. He secured that position a further three terms before his death three years after the final term in 1423.

His wife Alice was the daughter of Sir Ivo Fitzwaryn of Dorset. The crescent road off Hornsey Lane and just North of Pauntley Street is named after her family. The head of that family was a baron who frequented Parliament since 1295. The family continued in parliamentary service and started out with lands in Wilton and elsewhere in Wiltshire. By 1412 the estates in Wiltshire as well as Somerset, Dorset, and Surrey are estimated to have been worth over £163 p.a. and they would yet become richer and richer.

Fitzwaryn had two daughters, with no son to bequeath his fortune and his sister Philippa was a nun at Wilton. In August 1402 he arranged for some estates in Somerset and Wiltshire to pass to his daughter Alice and her husband Richard Whittington and the rest of his estate to the other daughter Eleanor, wife of John Chideock and later wife of Ralph Bush.