- Richest of the Rich position: 12
- Birth/Death: died 1186
- Origin of wealth: Finance
- Wealth: £25,000
- Net National Income: £1m
- Net National Income Percent: 2.5%
- In Today’s Money: £27.749 billion
The leading banker in twelfth century Britain, Aaron was a prominent member of the Jewish community that had established itself in Britain during the second half of the century. There were tight restrictions on Jewish commercial and civil rights at the time, but Aaron proved to be simply indispensable to the Crown and the landed classes.
When he died, in the 1185/86 period, his property and outstanding loans owed to him went to the Crown. The debts owing were so great that a special government office, called Aaron’s Exchequer, was established to chase them up. He had clients in 25 countries, including kings, archbishops, and nine Cistercian abbeys, who together owed him a total of 6,500 marks. The government office took twenty years to finish its work.
As well as lending money, Aaron helped arrange finance to build Lincoln Cathedral and two abbeys. He prospered because of the lack of liquidity in a land-based economy, which enabled interest rates of up to 60% to be charged.
His overall wealth would have been around £25,000 at the time of his death, some 2.5% of national income, or £27.7bn in today’s money.