Merchant venturer

On 24th September 1599, a group of London gentlemen and merchants met and agreed to petition Queen Elizabeth I for Royal Assent    ‘To set forthe a vyage this present yeare to ye Est Indies and other the Ilandes and Cuntries thereabout and ther to make trade by the sale of suche commodities ……. by buying or bartering of suche goodes wares jewelles or mchandize as those Ilandes or Cuntries may yield or afforthe.’

Baptist Hicks (not then knighted) was one of those fifty-seven men who apparently gave a great cheer at the decision and he subsequently invested £400 in the East India Company. The Royal Assent was given on 31 December 1600 and from then fortunes were set to be made.

The British Library holds the archives of the Company, and the transcribed Court Records list the subscribers and the amounts of their investments. Another investor was Nicholas Crispe who with his brother Ellis Crispe had a successful business as a skinner. They were from Marshfield in Gloucestershire, and subsequently they used some of their wealth to found almhouses in their home town.

Thanks to help from the British Library Research Team we found the details in the volume of Court Minutes IOR/B/1 Folio 6, Collection Area: India Office Records and Private Papers.  The scan is attached, pages 1-5, with the permission of the British Library.   East India company



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