Gresham, the Great Golden Grasshopper

London Historians' Blog

gresham grasshopper The Gresham family badge: a grasshopper.

Elizabeth I’s most well-known favourites were bellicose types like Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Ralegh or Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, whose head in the end was too hot for his own impatient, impetuous shoulders. They smote the queen’s enemies and filled her coffers using fire and sword.

Far more considered and cerebral ways of benefiting the Exchequer were employed by an altogether lesser-known servant: Sir Thomas Gresham (1518/9 – 1579). From a family of Norfolk merchants, this London-born entrepreneur gave the City not one but two great institutions: the Royal Exchange and Gresham College.

Gresham achieved better results than most by more peaceful means.

His upbringing was a privileged one. He was the younger son of Sir Richard Gresham, a successful merchant and Lord Mayor of London 1537. Born at his father’s house in Milk Lane in 1518/9, Thomas’s boyhood remains obscure but he spent…

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2 thoughts on “Gresham, the Great Golden Grasshopper

  1. Great stuff Sarah. London, History, and that grasshopper! I used to have an account at Martins Bank in the late 1960s, and they had that same symbol hanging outside every branch. I think that they were incorporated into Barclays later. A great shame.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loathe it when an institution is swallowed up by a larger rival. My bank, Child & Co, has gone right down the Swanee in terms of service since RBS got its ugly mitts on it. The only decent thing left, talking of insignia, is the Childs logo. Glad you enjoyed this, Pete. Have a lovely evening!


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