Alderman Edward Backwell, an eminent banker and goldsmith, who is frequently mentioned in the Diary. His shop was in Lombard Street. He was ruined by the closing of the Exchequer by Charles II. in 1672. The crown then owed him 295,994_l. 16_s. 6_d., in lieu of which the King gave him an annuity of 17,759_l. 13_s. 8_d. Backwell retired into Holland after the closing of the Exchequer, and died there in 1679. See Hilton Price’s “Handbook of London Bankers,” 1876.
Edward Backwell, goldsmith and alderman of the City of London. He was a man of considerable wealth during the Commonwealth. After the Restoration he negotiated Charles II.’s principal money transactions. He was M.P. for Wendover in the parliament of 1679, and in the Oxford parliament of 1680. According to the writer of the life in the “Diet. of Nat. Biog. “his heirs did not ultimately suffer any pecuniary loss by the closure of the Exchequer. Mr. Hilton Price stated that Backwell removed to Holland in 1676, and died therein 1679; but this is disproved by the pedigree in Lipscomb’s “Hist. of Bucks,” where the date of his death is given as 1683, as well as by the fact that he sat for Wendover in 1679 and 1680, as stated above.
This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.
vincent • Link
A banker who was involved in payment of the Dunquerke Garrison :
Portrait of the banker
"...Statements as to money received for pay of the garrison; May-June 1660 Records the remittance of £ 62,400 by Alderman Edward Backwell for the pay of the garrison and its receipt, by order of the Governor, Colonel Harley, by Mr Thomas Browne, Commissary. …"
[Changed the first link from http://www.royalbankscot.co.uk/Group_Informatio... 27 Sep 2009. P.G.]
Ald Bishopsgate, 13 Jan 1659/60- 13 Jun 1661, disch, F £720 (1) Co Co Langborn, 1676-81 'The Unicorn', Exchange Alley, Lombard Street, 1650, 1672, St Mary Woolnoth, 1652-81, dwelling house in Mark Lane, AH Barking, by 1676 (2) GOLD, appr, 1635, to Thomas VYNER, fr, 1651, PW, 1660 (3) d 13 Jun 1683, bur St Mary Woolnoth, re-bur Tyringham, Bucks (4) Will copy in CRO dated 29 Dec 1679 (5) f Barnaby Backwell of Backwell, Som, m Jane, da of John Temple of Burton Dassett, Warw, and -, Bucks, esq, mar (A) 1657, at St Andrew Undershaft, Sarah, da of - Brett, merchant, (B) Mary, da of Richard Leigh of - Warw (6) Goldsmith, banker, and State financier to Cromwell and Charles II (7) He had £295,995 involved in Stop of Exchequer, 1672 This was paid back at the rate of £17,759 3s 8d p a He possibly broke in 1682 EIC stock £2,000, RAC stocks £1,000 of original stock, 1671 (8) City property, land Bucks, Hunts (9) MP Wendover, 1672/3 (unseated), 1679-81 (10) Commsr for Lieut, 1660, 1676, 1681 Son John (mar only da of Sir Edward Tyringham), MP Wendover, 1689-90, 1695, 1698 G's Tyringham Backwell mar da (? Elizabeth) of Francis CHILD (11)
(1) Beaven, I, p 40 (2) Heal, London Goldsmiths, p 98, Hilton Price, Handbook, p 182, Boyd 15726, VBk, St Mary Woolnoth, will, will of Henry MOSSE (3) Beaven, II, p 90, GOLD, Appr Reg, I, f 300, Index of Appr (4) Boyd 15726 (5) CRO, Deed 121 5 There is no indication of court or date of probate (6) DNB, Boyd 15726 (7) No attempt can be made here to indicate the scope of Backwell's financial activities R D Richards, Economic History, III (1928), pp 334-55, surveys some sources for a study of Backwell's dealings There is an article in DNB Backwell's ledgers are now in the possession of Messrs Glyn-Mills, the London bankers See S Pepys, Diary, passim (8) DNB, will, R D Richards, loc cit (9) Will, see VCH, Buckinghamshire, II, p 324, III, pp 337-8, IV, p 482, for some of his Bucks property (10) Lipscombe, Buckinghamshire, II, p 478+n, Beaven, II, p 90 (11) Beaven, II, p 187, DNB, will of Francis CHILD, Boyd 15726
From: ‘Backwell - Byfield’, The Rulers of London 1660-1689: A biographical record of the Aldermen and Common Councilment of the City of London (1966), pp. 21-42. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com.... Date accessed: 18 September 2005.
Pauline • Link
from L&M Companion
(?1618-83). The most important goldsmith-banker of his day, and (with the Vyners) one of the founders of the modern banking system in England....He had acted as the government's principal financial agent under the Commonwealth, and performed a similar function under Charles II....
Michael Robinson • Link
Per L&M Companion (continuing Pauline's annotation):
M.P. for Wendover 1673 - March '81. Pepys always refers to him as an alderman , although he held office only for about a year (1660-1). He had acted as the government's principal financial agent under the Commonwealth, and performed a similar function under Charles II. He arranged foreign exchange transactions (such as the sale of Dunkirk, the payment of war subsidiaries and after 1670 the transfer of Louis XIV loans to Charles); managed the disposal of secret service money; above all advanced cash and credit. During the war the government relied largely upon him. At the time of the 'Stop of the Exchequer' in 1672 his loans to the government amounted to over 250,000 L. Apart from his considerable property in Lombard Street (Greatly extended after the Fire), he had , at different times, country houses in Middlesex, Huntingdonshire and Buckinghamshire.
Pepys dealt with him as a goldsmith, but principally in arranging his noticeably reluctant loans for the Tangier garrison. Blackwell's assistant Robert Shaw was an old friend of his. Some of the Blackwell ledgers survive in the archives of Messrs Williams & Glyn, successors to the business.
Michael Robinson • Link
Customer ledger of London goldsmith Edward Backwell, 1671-72
Customer account ledger of Edward Backwell, goldsmith banker of Lombard Street, London, 1671-72. 600mm x 400mm x 170mm.
Bound in leather, written on handmade paper by quill pen. 666 folios detailing 400 customers’ accounts using double-entry book-keeping.
Edward Backwell, alderman of London, was a banker of great ability, industry, and integrity; and what was a consequence of his merit, of very extensive credit. With such qualifications, he, in a trading nation, would in the natural event of things, have made a fortune, except in such an age as that of Charles the Second, when the laws were overborne by perfidy, violence and rapacity; or in an age when bankers become gamesters instead of merchant-adventurers; when they affect to live like princes, and are, with their miserable creditors, drawn into the prevailing and pernicious vortex of luxury. Backwell carried on his business in the same shop which was afterwards occupied by Child, an unblemished name, which is entitled to respect and honour; but was totally ruined upon the shutting up of the exchequer. He, to avoid a prison, retired into Holland, where he died. His body was brought for sepulture, to Tyringham church, near Newport Pagnel, in Buckinghamshire.
--A biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.
BACKWELL, EDWARD (d. 1683), London goldsmith and banker at Unicorn, Lombard Street; probably chief; originator of system of banknotes; had financial dealings with Cromwell; alderman for Bishopsgate ward, 1667; sent to Paris to receive money for sale of Dunkirk to French, 1662; after treaty at Dover, 1670, was a frequent intermediary in money transactions between Charles II and Louis; sued by several creditors, a large sum being due to him from the exchequer, which Charles II had just closed, 1672; took refuge temporarily in Holland after judgment had been given against him; M.P. for Wendover, 1679 and 1680.
---Dictionary of National Biography: Index and Epitome. S. Lee, 1906.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.