Peter Des Rivaux


  • Richest of the Rich position: 106
  • Birth/Death: c 1190-1262
  • Origin of wealth: Land
  • Wealth: £20,000
  • Net National Income: £3.3m
  • Net National Income Percent: 0.6%
  • In Today’s Money: £6.659 billion

His father, Peter Des Roches, was Bishop of Winchester, the royal city of the period and a powerful Norman baron. Des Rivaux took direct advantage of his inheritance by shadowing his father’s career as de facto chief minister of the Crown and financial controller of England. He became Clerk of the Wardrobe but was evicted from office in 1223, only to return in 1232 as his father’s deputy. His moment of glory was brief. His father fell in 1234 and Des Rivaux fell with him. Despite this, he continued to serve the king in many capacities and amassed a fortune in church assets. He is important because, though his time at the top was brief, he set in motion administrative changes that sustained English government for centuries.

He died aged 72 in 1262, and was worth about £20,000, around 0.6% of net national income of £3.3m at the time. In today’s money he would be worth about £6.6bn. His father, who died in 1238, had left an equally stupendous fortune of around £15,000.

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