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Browne, William (d. 1489), merchant and benefactor, was the son of John Browne (d. 1442), a Stamford draper and Calais stapler, and his wife, Margery (d. 1460). He was born into a family that can be traced in Stamford back to the mid-fourteenth century. His date of birth is uncertain, though it seems likely that he was born during the decade following 1410. It is possible that he was the ...

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Canynges, William (1402–1474), merchant and ecclesiastical benefactor, was one of the younger of seven children of John Canynges, clothier and merchant of Bristol, and his wife, Joan Wotton. He was born into a notably successful Bristol family. William Canynges (d. 1396) was a wealthy clothier who was five times mayor of ...

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Chestre, Alice (d. 1485), trader and benefactor, in common with many fifteenth-century women, seems particularly to have come into her own after the death of her husband. Henry Chestre, a Bristol draper, had been prosperous and was numbered among the worthy men of his parish, ...

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Collier [Collyer], Richard (1480x85?–1533), mercer and benefactor, was born at Horsham, Sussex. The identity of his parents is unknown. He was closely related to the Caryll family of the neighbouring parish of Warnham, but the precise nature of that kinship remains unclear....

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Cooke, John (d. 1528), mercer and benefactor, was born in Minsterworth, a few miles west of Gloucester, the son of Thomas and Alice Cooke. The loss of Gloucester's early civic records means that little can be said of his career there, except that he prospered greatly in the town. He served as sheriff—the equivalent of bailiff—in 1494 and 1498, and became an alderman in 1501, the year in which he was first chosen to be mayor; he was elected again in 1507, 1512, and 1519. In June of 1513 he was involved, as mayor, in a dispute over common rights with the abbot of ...

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Elsyng, William (d. 1349), mercer and hospital founder, probably came from the village of Elsing in Norfolk. His parents are known only by their first names, John and Emma. His brother Richard had the surname Feverer, which may have been the family name before their likely birthplace replaced it. Like many ...

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Percyvale [née Bonaventure], Thomasine (d. 1512), trader and school founder, was born in Week St Mary, near Bude in Cornwall, daughter of John and Joan Bonaventure. She became the subject of a legend, recounted by Richard Carew in his Survey of Cornwall...

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