Nine Worthies of London

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William Walworth (bottom left), one of the "Nine Worthies of London", kills Wat Tyler, at London Bridge, 1381.

Nine Worthies of London is a book by Richard Johnson, the English romance writer, written in 1592. Borrowing the theme from the Nine Worthies of Antiquity, the book, subtitled Explaining the Honourable Excise of Armes, the Vertues of the Valiant, and the Memorable Attempts of Magnanimous Minds; Pleasaunt for Gentlemen, not unseemely for Magistrates, and most profitable for Prentises, celebrated the rise of nine famous Londoners through society from the ranks of apprentices or ordinary citizens.

The nine were:

John Hawkwood.
  • Sir John Bonham, a mercer, who was entrusted with a valuable cargo bound for Denmark and found favour at the Danish court. While there he was made commander of the army raised to stop the progress of the "great Solyman". He made peace with the Turkish leader and returned to England a rich man.
  • Christopher Croker, originally a vintner, who with the Black Prince assisted Pedro of Castile in maintaining his claim to the throne of Castile.
  • Sir John Hawkwood, who served under Edward III in France and later became a mercenary commander in Italy, where he was known as Giovanni Acuto. He was the son of an Essex tanner or a London tailor.
  • Sir Hugh Calverley, a silk weaver, who was a renowned hunter and famed for killing a huge boar (or bear) for the Poles.
  • Sir Henry Maleverer, generally called Henry of Cornhill, a grocer who lived in the reign of Henry IV. He was a knight in the Crusades, and highly regarded by the King of Jerusalem. He eventually fell out of favour and became the guardian of Jacob's Well in the Holy Land.

The term "Nine Worthies" was later used to refer to nine of the privy councillors of William III: the Whigs Devonshire, Dorset, Monmouth, and Edward Russell; and the Tories Caermarthen, Pembroke, Nottingham, Marlborough, and Lowther.


  • Brewer, E. Cobham (1898). Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Robert Chambers (Ed.) (1869). "Book of Days". Hillman.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • "Sir William Walworth". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). London: Cambridge University Press. 1911.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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