Whittington, Richard

died March 1423, London

Lord mayor of London (1397–99, 1406–07, 1419–20).

The son of a knight, he earned a vast fortune as a merchant and made loans to Henry IV and Henry V, then entered city politics and served three terms as lord mayor. In legend he is portrayed as an orphan who ventures his only possession, a cat, as an item to be sold on one of his master's trading ships. Ill-treated by the cook, he runs away, but at the edge of the city he hears the bells say, "Turn again, Whittington, lord mayor of great London." He returns to find that his cat has been sold for a great sum to a Moorish ruler plagued by rats. He becomes a wealthy merchant and later lord mayor.

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Universalium. 2010.

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