Geoffrey De Mandeville


  • Richest of the Rich position: 124
  • Birth/Death: died 1144
  • Origin of wealth: Land
  • Wealth: £4,000
  • Net National Income: £800,000
  • Net National Income Percent: 0.5%
  • In Today’s Money: £5.549 billion

Geoffrey de Mandeville’s father was sheriff of Essex and castellan of the Tower of London. He left his son a swathe of land stretching across the home counties north of London, as well as the castles of Saffron Walden and Pleshey.

De Mandeville supported King Stephen against Stephen’s cousin, Empress Matilda, and was awarded the keepership of the Tower of London, made sheriff of the city and of Middlesex, Essex and Herefordshire as a hereditary right. De Mandeville returned to the king’s side. Stephen soon had second thoughts about his loyalty and arrested de Mandeville in 1141. He was forced to hand over all his castles to the king.

In response, de Mandeville initiated a rebellion in 1143, in which both sides wrecked such havoc that the chroniclers noted that ‘Men said openly that Christ and all his saints slept’. He was killed at the siege of Burwell when, having taken his helmet off to mop his brow, an arrow came straight down on him.

At his peak, de Mandeville was worth about £4,000, when net national income was just £800,000 and his share of it was about 0.5%. In today’s money he would be worth £5.5bn.

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