Ingram Frizer

It has not yet been possible to establish where and when Ingram Frizer was born. He first came to prominence in the autumn of 1589 when he bought the Angels Inn and sold it on to James Deane two months later. At the same time he lent one of the vendors, Thomas Bostock, a whopping £240. The latter refused to pay back the sum. In 1591, Frizer went to court over the matter. The following year, a decision was made in his favour.
Frizer’s way of doing business was – to put it mildly – a little disreputable. In 1572, the so-called usury law had come into force. It set the interest rate for loans at a maximum of ten percent. However, this act could easily be circumvented, as the case of Drew Woodleff proves. At the beginning of 1593, Woodleff, whose father had died shortly before, asked a good acquaintance named Nicholas Skeres for money. Skeres himself did not have the required sum, so he referred Woodleff to Ingram Frizer. Frizer promised him £60, for which Woodleff signed a promissory note.. Frizer did not have the money in cash, however, but in goods. Most of the "deals" of this kind were items like lute strings or grey paper, which were very difficult to sell. Woodleff received weapons and iron, but no money. He felt compelled to ask Frizer to help him sell the goods. Frizer sold the goods, but claimed to have obtained only £30 for them. Since he held a promissory note for twice that amount, this meant a profit of 100 per cent for Frizer. Since he held a promissory note for twice that amount, this meant a profit of 100 per cent for Frizer. Woodleff, obviously not blessed with brains, continued to do business with the two. When Skeres asked him to take over his outstanding debt to Frizer to the tune of £4, Woodleff agreed. This led to Woodleff having to sign a bond in the sum of £200 on 29 June 1593. If he could not meet this obligation, his landed property would fall to an honourable gentleman who was none other than Thomas Walsingham.1 In the summer of 1598, Drew Woodleff and his mother Anne took the matter to court. There Frizer also declared Walsingham as his employer.2 In June 1594 Frizer again successfully filed suit. This time it was a tenancy dispute concerning a house in Southwark, near the Rose Theatre.3

Frizer later married, had two daughters and continued to serve the Walsingham family. In 1603/04 he acted as agent for Audrey Walsingham, who wanted to lease land belonging to the Duchy of Lancaster.4 The following year he became parish clerk and in 1611 tax assessor. A transfer he once made may indicate that it benefited a child of Skeres. Ingram Frizer was buried in Eltham on 24 August 1627.5

  1. Nicholl (2002)↩︎
  2. Urry (1988)↩︎
  3. Nicholl (2002)↩︎
  4. Urry (1988)↩︎
  5. Nicholl (2002)↩︎

Aktualisiert am 23.05.2024

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