JAMES ( JEMMY ) WOOD BANKER 1756 – 1836

The Gloucester Old Bank, one of the earliest private banks in England, was founded in 1716 at 22 Westgate Street by the grandfather of James Wood who took over this and the family drapery business in 1802.

Despite his increasing prosperity and national fame – he appeared in statuettes, cartoons and Toby Jugs – Jeremy Wood is chiefly known for his spectacular meanness. Shabbily clothed, he largely shunned charitable donations and even public transport: walking to various farms in the county and once returning in an empty funeral hearse.

He served as Sheriff of Gloucester in 1811 and 1813 but never held the post of Mayor due to the expense of holding the office. Jeremy was buried in St Mary De Crypt Church in Southgate Street and left an estate valued at £900,000, most of which was consumed by legal arguments over his will. The Gloucester Old Bank was absorbed by the County of Gloucestershire Banking Company in 1838, which in turn was taken over by Lloyds Bank in 1897.