William Dension


  • Richest of the Rich position: 136
  • Birth/Death: 1770-1849
  • Origin of wealth: Finance
  • Wealth: £2.3m
  • Net National Income: £508m
  • Net National Income Percent: 0.45%
  • In Today’s Money: £4.994 billion

William Denison’s grandfather was a Leeds woollen merchant, but his father went to London to make his fortune. Denison himself was born in the City in 1770, and pursued a banking career, ending up as senior partner of Denison, Heywood & Kennard in Lombard Street. His father had bought Yorkshire estates, including Seamer, near Scarborough from the Duke of Leeds for £100,000.

Denison, who was also a backbench MP for most of his life from 1796 onwards, died in 1849. His will was reckoned at the time to be worth £2.3m. The Yorkshire estates had risen to £500,000 in value and his land in Surrey some £100,000. The rest was in cash and securities. His fortune represented about 0.45% of net national income at the time, or £4.9bn in today’s money.

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