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Clayton and Morris Papers

Date range: 1653–1731.

Sir Robert Clayton (1629–1707), banker and politician, amassed a fortune through money lending in a remarkably successful partnership with John Morris (c.1625–83). They lent money to private landowners who were driven by the civil wars and interregnum to seek credit in London, and they soon dominated the market.

The unique contribution Clayton and Morris made to banking history was to integrate the mortgage as a form of long-term security for bank loans.

Clayton’s success as a banker was recognized when he was made a director of the Bank of England in 1702. He was knighted in 1671, first elected to the House of Commons in 1679, and served as Lord Mayor of London in 1681; he was returned to Parliament as a Whig in every election from 1689 until his death.

The collection comprises the business and political papers of Sir Robert Clayton and his partner John Morris.

There are letters from Anthony Isaacson of Newcastle to Sir Robert Clayton and Sir Jeremy Whichcote, concerning the shipping of coal from Newcastle to London, and miscellaneous business letters to Clayton and Morris, as well as a small quantity of political papers.

The collection provides valuable evidence of the development of the banking industry and of the mechanisms of personal and business finance in the seventeenth century.1

See also: Clayton Papers (Rylands Charters 3632–3849)

1Other papers of Clayton, Morris & Co. and of Robert Clayton are held at the Guildhall Library and the London School of Economics.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.

Location

The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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