Title: Reputation, Law, and Commercial Life in Seventeenth Century England: The Case of Thompson and Company in 1677.
Funded by: AHRC White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities
Start year: 2016
This thesis investigates the relationship between individuals reputations, legal proceedings, and commercial life in seventeenth century England through the use of a microhistory method that focuses on the case of Thompson and Company; a joint stock company set up in London who went bankrupt in the late 1670s. Primarily this will examine the series of chancery court cases from 1681 held at the National Archives and a published pamphlet from 1677 entitled 'The Case of Richard Thompson and Company: With Relation to their Creditors'.
The pamphlet specifically relates to the collapse of the Bank of Woolchurch market, set up on 2nd January 1670 by Richard Thompson, Edward Nelthorpe, John Farrington, and Edmund Page. However, the subsequent court cases recount the wider aftermath of the collapse, highlighting the complex social networks as well as the highly fraught credit networks that were behind the company. It is to the wider social implications that attention will be turned to, investigating the backgrounds, reputations, social networks, and economic and political dealings of the members of Thompson and Company before and after the financial scandal. Questioning what the case can tell us about the nature of urban, economic, political, and commercial life in seventeenth century England during a period of financial uncertainty.