Financier Antonio Pessagno was born around 1280 in Genoa. He married into the city’s powerful Fieschi merchant family. By 1306/7, he had settled in London was as a buyer and exporter of wool.
Three years later, he was supplying the Royal court with luxury goods and spices. He also lend money to the Crown. In 1311, he was the first foreigner to take possession of the English crown jewels as security on his loans. Soon after he was named ‘mercator regis’ (the King’s merchant). Between 1312 and 1319 he was the chief financier of Edward II, helping to finance the invasion of Scotland in June 1314 (for which he was knighted in November 1315). He left England in April 1320 after a series of disputes and disagreements with the authorities. He returned a decade later being rehabilitated at the court. His name was last mentioned when acting as an English envoy to the Papacy in 1334.