Richard Martin (Lord Mayor of London)

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Sir Richard Martin (died London, July 1617) was an English goldsmith and Master of the Mint who served as Sheriff and twice as Lord Mayor of the City of London during the reign of Elizabeth I.[1]

Early career

Martin was elected a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, one of the Livery Companies or craft guilds of the City of London, in 1558.[2] He was elected alderman for the wards of Farringdon Within 1578–1598 and Bread Street 1598–1602. He was Sheriff of London in 1581–1582.

Martin was knighted in 1588–1589 and served a partial year as Lord Mayor in 1589, succeeding Sir Martin Calthrop who had died in office.[1][3] He was Prime Warden or head of the Goldsmiths' Company 1592–1593, chairing the Court of Wardens or governing body of the company, and served a second term as Lord Mayor in 1593–1594, succeeding Sir Cuthbert Buckell. His other municipal offices included President of Christ's Hospital and Comptroller-General of Hospitals 1594–1602.[1][3]

Martin was Warden of the Royal Mint by 1572, and was responsible for overseeing the workings of the mint and the quality of the coinage. John Stow's Survey of London records Martin's charges against John Lonyson or Lonison, Master of the Mint, in the 1570s, a matter that was finally weighed by a commission of Privy Council members including Nicholas Bacon, the Lord Keeper, William Cecil, Lord Burghley, the Lord Treasurer, and others,[4] which recommended that

it likewise please her Majesty to give a Discharge unto Richard Martin, now Warden of the Mint, for to reckon and pass the said Lonison's Accompt [account] in form afore-declared. Which Martin they do not find to have done any Thing in this Controversy thereby to have any particular Gain to himself; but the whole Matters alleged by him to have tended to her Majesty's Service; and for discharging of his Duty belonging to the Office.[5]

Martin himself succeeded Lonyson as Master of the Mint in 1582, serving in that capacity until his death in 1617.[6]

Martin was an investor in Sir Francis Drake's 1577–1580 voyage of circumnavigation and also in Drake's 1585–1586 expedition to harass the Spanish ports in the New World. [7]

Marriage and family

Martin married Dorcas sometime before 1562.[8] They had five sons and one daughter.[9]

Both Martins were active in radical religious causes including the Admonition Controversy, part of an effort to encourage the queen to further reform Protestantism in England.[10]

Their son Captain John Martin commanded the Benjamin under Drake in the 1585–1586 expedition. On his return, John Martin married Mary Brandon (born 1566), daughter of Robert Brandon, Chamberlain of London, on 23 May 1586 at St Vedast, Foster Lane.[11] John Martin became a Councilman of the Jamestown Colony of Virginia in 1607 and was the proprietor of Martin's Brandon Plantation on the south bank of the James River,[7] apparently named after his wife's family.

Another son, Richard (died 1616), served with his father as a master-worker at the mint from 1599 to 1607.[12]

Their daughter Dorcas[7] married Sir Julius Caesar, later Chancellor of the Exchequer and Master of the Rolls under James I.[1]

Later life

Martin had remained both Warden and Master of the Mint for almost two decades, but following 1597 charges that he was profiteering by delaying repayments he sold his office of Warden to Sir Thomas Knyvet. The two soon fell out, with Knyvet accusing Martin of owing the crown substantial funds and Martin insisting he was owed. Martin was briefly imprisoned for debt,[6] which led to his removal from his Aldermanry on 31 August 1602 on account of his "unfitting demeanour and carriage".[1] Suits and countersuits continued, with the Exchequer finding against Martin in 1607 and a further enquiry finding in his favour in 1615.[13] He died in July 1617, and was buried in Tottenham Church, 30 July 1617. At his death he "was held near a hundred years old".[7] His wife Dorcas had been buried in the same church on 2 September 1599, and his son Richard on 28 May 1616.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Beavan
  2. Martin 1892 p.21
  3. 3.0 3.1 Martin 1892 p.22
  4. Martin 1892, p. 24
  5. Strype, John (1720). "TOWER of London. The Mint". John Stowe's Survey of London. Retrieved 30 December 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 Challis 1992, p. 259
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Brown, p. 944
  8. Rosalynn Voaden; Diane Wolfthal (2005). Framing the Family: Narrative and Representation in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods. Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. ISBN 978-0-86698-297-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Dorcas Martin's epitaph reads "Here lyeth Interred the body of Dame DORCAS Martin The late Wife of Sr Richard Martin, Knight twise Lord Mayor of the Cittie of London The Davghter of Iohn Ecclestone of ye Covntie of Lancastar gent who had Issve by the said Sr Rich Martin V sones, & one davght: and deceased Ovt of this mortall life ye first day of Septemb : 1599." See Cansick 1875, p. 52
  10. McQuade et al. 2008, p. xxiv
  11. Currer-Briggs, p. 162
  12. Challis 1992, p. 262
  13. Challis 1992, pp. 259–62.


Further reading

  • White, Michelline. "Power Couples and Women Writers in Elizabethan England: the Public Voices of Dorcas and Richard Martin and Anne and Hugh Dowriche." In Framing the Family: Representation and Narrative in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods, eds. Diane Wolfthal and Rosalynn Voaden. Tempe Ariz.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2005, pp. 119–38.
Civic offices
Preceded by
Martin Calthorp
Lord Mayor of the City of London
Succeeded by
John Harte
Preceded by
Cuthbert Buckell
Lord Mayor of the City of London
Succeeded by
John Spencer
Government offices
Preceded by
John Browne
Warden of the Mint
Succeeded by
Thomas Knyvet, 1st Baron Knyvet
Preceded by
John Lonyson
Master of the Mint
Succeeded by
Sir Edward Villiers