Robert Large Mercer

Mayor of London 1439-1440, first employer of William Caxton.

By David M Large - Published by the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, 2008.

Robert Large's career followed a route from apprenticeship to membership of the influential Mercers Company, where he became warden. He developed trading activities overseas as a merchant of the Calais staple, emerging as a ship-owner able to make substantial loans to the Crown. He involved himself in the government of the city, from councilman to alderman, sheriff, MP and ultimately mayor, with the participation in civic and parliamentary elections to be expected of one in his position. His second marriage to a rich widow and his investment in property gave him the status of a prosperous landowner in his final years.

In this study, David Large reveals that Robert took on as an apprentice none other than William Caxton. Robert died an extremely wealthy man, leaving monetary bequests amounting to almost £8000. His charitable bequests were so outstanding as to be noted in the epitaph for his son Richard 17 years later, while his generosity to the poor and substantial benefactions towards the repair of watercourses and London Bridge ensured he would be remembered in the city for much longer. David Large continues the story with the mercer's children, and an account of others of his name in medieval and subsequent times.
Paperback, 102 pages including indexes, ISBN 978-0-9546812-2-7,
price inclusive of shipment: UK £13.50, Europe £17, Rest of World £19.50.

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