Dick Whittington was born around 1350 in Gloucester to William Whittington, Lord of Pauntley. When he was 13 he was sent to London to be apprenticed to John Fitzwarren. Later he was to become the greatest merchant in medieval England. He supplied silks from Peking for the wedding dresses of the daughters of King Henry 4th and also lent money to the king. He did become mayor of London 4 times, in 1397,1398,1407 & 1420 and just like the rhyme says married Alice, the bosses daughter.
1357: Dick Whittington is born around this time in the tiny village of Pauntley, Gloucestershire
1370: Dick Whittington makes his way to London hoping to find ‘the streets paved with gold”. On arrival in London, the young man becomes apprenticed to learn the trade of a Mercer.
1379: Whittington is first noted on the London scene as a benefactor to a civic gift. He also establishes his own business which for many years supplies luxury goods such as velvets and damasks to nobility and royalty.He is made a member of the Court of Common Council for the Coleman Street Ward.
1389: King Richard 11 pays Dick Whittington £11 far two cloths of gold
1392-1394: King Richard buys fabrics from Whittington to the value of £3500 for his own wardrobe.
1393-1397: Moving up the civic ladder from a common councillor, Dick Whittington is elected an Alderman for the Broad Street Ward.
1393-1394: Whittington is elected Sheriff of London.
1395: Having begun his London life as an apprentice Mercer he becomes Master of the Mercers’ Company for the first time.
1397: Whittington is appointed Mayor of London by Richard II following the sudden death of Mayor Adam Bamme. Later this year he is elected Mayor for the first time. The Lime Street Ward appoints Dick Whittington as Alderman an office he is to hold until his death.
1401: Whittington gives a donation for a new nave at Westminster Abbey and provides for a public water-tap to he installed in the wall of St Giles Cripplegate amongst many other generous gifts to London and its inhabitant