• Richest of the Rich position: 11
  • Birth/Death: 1381-1415
  • Origin of wealth: Land
  • Wealth: £80,000
  • Net National Income: £3m
  • Net National Income Percent: 2.66%
  • In Today’s Money: £29.52 billion

At the age of 16, Arundel’s father was executed by Richard II. He was deprived of his title and inheritance, and was to spend his early years as a virtual slave in the custody of the Duke of Exeter and later under Exeter’s steward. Arundel effected his escape to the Continent, where he would have starved but for the help of relatives abroad. He allied himself to the future Henry IV and landed with him in England in 1399. When Henry overthrew Richard, Arundel had his revenge on the steward who had imprisoned him – Ignoring a royal command that the man should be imprisoned in the Tower, Arundel had him executed and carried the unfortunate’s head on a pole in triumph through the streets of London.

Though his lands were restored by the new king, Arundel’s Welsh estates particularly had been devastated by war. But he effected a good marriage to a daughter of the King of Portugal, which was important in cementing the close alliance of the two countries and Henry IV advanced Arundel the large sums necessary to bring his bride to Britain ‘with magnificence and glory’. The marriage will also have helped bolster Arundel’s finances.

By the time of his death from dysentery in 1415, after campaigning in France, the £150,000 fortune of his father had nearly been halved to around £80,000, or about 2.66% of national income (£29.5bn in today’s terms).

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