Sir George Monoux

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George Monoux was Walthamstow’s first benefactor and probably its most wealthy and famous.

Monoux began his rise to fame and fortune as a merchant adventurer in Bristol during the 1480’s exporting cloth to Bordeaux, Spain and Portugal, and importing wine, oil, salt and sugar. Monoux served as bailiff of Bristol in 1490-01 and mayor in 1501-2.

Early in the 16th Century he moved to London, where he continued his successes in the cloth trade. He was admitted to the freedom of the City as a member of the Drapers’ Company in 1505 – 6. He was subsequently Master of the Drapers’ Company on six occasions. Monoux entered the world of London politics as alderman for Bassishaw ward in 1507. During 1509-10 he served as sheriff of London and as Lord Mayor in 1514-15. Monoux also represented the City in Parliament.

He invested extensively in London property during his mercantile career and in numerous counties extending to the North in Yorkshire. He bought a country seat in Walthamstow, known as ‘Moones’, where he lived until his death on 8th February 1544.

The Drapers Company was one of the many City Guilds or Livery Companies which at the time regulated and promoted their respective trades. These companies had (and still have) a strong social welfare tradition, with many providing weekly allowances (doles) or annual pensions for members who because of age, sickness or disability could not pursue their occupations. Wealthy members of the Livery Companies often bequeathed money or property to establish almshouses for poor and aged companymen. Sir George Monoux was among this small, but wealthy and influential group of merchant benefactors, and founded the School in Walthamstow which bears his name, together with the first of the Almshouses...