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New Medieval Books: Paved with Gold

Paved with Gold: The Life and Times of the Real Dick Whittington

By Gregory Holyoake

Amberley Publishing
ISBN: 978 1 3981 1703 7

A biography of Richard Whittington, a wealthy merchant and Lord Mayor of London in the 14th and 15th centuries. While Whittington would later become the story of folklore and legend, this book mostly focuses on what he did in London and his interactions with several English kings.


The story of Dick Whittington retold down the centuries is a delightful mixture of fact and fiction. A penniless orphan from the countryside walks all the way to London to seek a new life. He is pitied by the kindly Alderman Fitzwarren who employs him as a scullery boy. His mistress, Sara the Cook, beats and scolds him so he runs away to Highgate Hill where he is befriended by a stray cat. There the distant ringing of Bow Bells seem to recall him to the City where he will secure fame and fortune.


Who is this book for?

While the legend, recounted partially above, would make for a fun story, this book is grounded in the real Richard Whittington, his business dealings, family life and role in local politics. Those who study late medieval London, and even late medieval England, will find this a useful work giving us a perspective on larger historical events from the perspective one very wealthy individual.

The author

Gregory Holyoake is an author and photojournalist who has mostly written about the local history of Kent.


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