Sir Samuel Fludyer

 

  • Richest of the Rich position: 111
  • Birth/Death: c 1705-1768
  • Origin of wealth: Industrialist
  • Wealth: £900,000
  • Net National Income: £160m
  • Net National Income Percent: 0.56%
  • In Today’s Money: £6.215 billion

Sir Samuel Fludyer, a merchant and MP, was caught out in a minor smuggling racket in 1768, and was chastised by the Lord Chancellor. The biographers say that this hit him so hard that shortly after he died of embarrassment.

He was a director of the Bank of England, which was a private company and made his fortune through dealing in North and West Country cloth. A religious dissenter when it mattered, he demonstrated the power of the City by amassing a fortune, becoming an MP and eventually Lord Mayor of London, despite his religion.

His vast lending to the government was accompanied by the lucrative victualling contracts he obtained. In 1762, for example, he subscribed £19,000 to one loan. Many of his contracts were for the supply of troops in America but he did not live to see the colony depart to independence.

At his death, he was worth £900,000 according to The Gentleman’s Magazine of 1768. That would have been about 0.56% of net national income of £160m at the time. In today’s terms he would be worth £6.2bn.

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