Sir Edward Brampton


  • Richest of the Rich position: 167
  • Birth/Death: c 1440-1508
  • Origin of wealth: Land
  • Wealth: £15,000
  • Net National Income: £4.2m
  • Net National Income Percent: 0.35%
  • In Today’s Money: £3.884 billion

Sir Edward Brampton was born in Lisbon in around 1440, and came to Britain when he was aged about 28. A Jew by birth, he converted to Christianity and fought for Edward IV during the political upheavals of 1469-71. His skills appear to have been in naval warfare, and in 1472, he was given joint command of a naval force and rewarded for his service to the king with property in London. In 1480, he was given a large Northamptonshire estate by the king and a year later served under the Duke of Norfolk on a naval expedition against the Scots.

From the mid 1470s, Brampton also built up trading and business interests and became master of the Drapers’ Company in 1477-78. He lent money to the monarch and was paid through taking a cut of custom revenues, and obtained cloth for the royal wardrobe. His Portuguese links were also useful in developing trade there. He also took the precaution of keeping on the side of the Portuguese king, being re-naturalised a subject in 1479, and obtaining trading privileges. He was in Portugal negotiating for a bride for Richard III when the Battle of Bosworth ended Richard’s life and reign in 1485. Brampton never returned to England and his Northamptonshire estates were seized by Henry VII.

He died in 1508, and at his peak would have been worth £15,000, the equivalent of 0.35% of the £4.2m net national income. In today’s terms that would be over £3.8bn.

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