Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1299-1309 - Lombard Street (City of London)

Wool and cloth merchants Frescobaldi started off business in Bruges, before expanding into banking in their home city of Florence in the thirteenth century. They opened a branch in London during the 1270s. When Riccardi of Lucca went bankrupt in 1294 because of unpaid loans by Edward I, Frescobaldi took their place as the Crown’s financiers five years later. They were a dominating force in Lombard Street. Like their predecessors they controlled the sales of wool, acted as papal tax gatherers, and provided the Crown (Edward I and Edward II) with loans to finance its wars. The profits were massive, but the pitfalls serious. In 1309, Frescobaldi fell out of favour and all assets were seized. The Royal debts were never repaid leading to the bankruptcy of the Frescobaldi.

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