Thomas White (merchant)

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Statue of Sir Thomas White in Coventry

Sir Thomas White (1492–12 February 1567) was an English cloth merchant, civic leader and founder of St John's College, Oxford.

Career[change | change source]

Thomas White was born in Reading, Berkshire. He was the son of William White, a clothier of Reading, and his wife, Mary, daughter of Henry Kibblewhite. At age 12 he became an apprentice to a London merchant.[1] In time he became a prosperous clothier. In 1546 he served as sheriff of London. In 1553 he was Lord Mayor of London.[1] Thomas White became Sir Thomas White when he was knighted by Queen Mary II of England the same year.[1] Sir Thomas founded St John's College, Oxford in 1555.[2] He died on 12 February 1567 at Oxford University. Sir Thomas was buried in the chapel of St. John's College, Oxford.[3]

The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity was started in 1542 and it still exists. It gives interest-free loans to new businesses in Leicestershire and Rutland. There are several memorials to Sir Thomas White in England and he is memorialized on Leicester's clock tower.

Family[change | change source]

Sir Thomas first married a woman named Avice. She died on 26 February 1558.[3] He married secondly Joan, daughter of John Lake. She was the widow of Ralph Warren, Lord Mayor of London.[4] Sir Thomas White did not have any children by either wife.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Charles Mathew Clode, Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist (London: Harrison and Sons, 1875), p. 456
  2. John Stow, A survey of London (London: Chatto & Windus, 1876), p. 195
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 David Nash Ford, 'Sir Thomas White (1492-1567)', Royal Berkshire History (2003)
  4. Henry Thomas, The Wards of London, Vol I (London: J. Gifford, 1828), p. 423

Other websites[change | change source]