Gresham Drive, IG3

Place name

Sir Richard Gresham (about 1485 – 21 February 1549) was Sheriff of London and Middlesex in 1531, Lord Mayor of London in 1537, and Member of Parliament for the City of London in 1539 and 1545. Originally from Norfolk, he amassed a huge fortune exporting textiles and importing grain from the continent. As a liveryman in the Worshipful Company of Mercers, he was a dealer in textile fabrics, especially silks, building up a wealthy and important customer base including Henry VIII. Clearly the monarch was impressed and Gresham became one of his personal courtiers. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry claimed the properties that had been built up by Barking Abbey over 900 years for the crown. He sold them to Gresham, these included estates around Ilford, who in turn sold them to a Bartholomew Barnes. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries the estates had been broken up and the land sold for development.

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