Portrait of Sir Richard Glyn, undated © RBS 2015
Sir Richard Glyn (c.1711-73) was a drysalter and banker. He was a co-founder of the banking house Vere, Glyn & Hallifax, and remained a partner in the bank until his death in 1773.
Background and early life
Richard Glyn was baptised on 13 June 1711 at St Andrew’s Church, Holborn, London, the second son of Robert Glyn and his wife Ann Maynard. His father was a drysalter in Hatton Garden, London, specialising in the sale of chemical products, including dyes and colourings. Richard Glyn was educated at Westminster School.
On leaving school Richard Glyn joined his father in the family business. He became a member of the Worshipful Company of Salters by patrimony on 31 May 1733, and took control of the family business the following month. After his father died in 1746 he continued the business in partnership with Thomas Baskerfield.
In December 1753 Richard Glyn formed a bank, in partnership with two men who already had extensive experience in banking: Joseph Vere, formerly of Vere & Asgill, and Thomas Hallifax, chief clerk of Martin’s Bank. Glyn provided £10,000 of the bank’s total capital of £24,000. The bank was named Vere, Glyn & Hallifax, and began trading from premises in Lombard Street, London, in January 1754.
Richard Glyn had no previous experience of the banking industry, but he was able to bring his extensive business contacts – primarily silk merchants – to the business, and in the bank’s first years most of its customers were from the silk trade or allied occupations.
In 1772 Richard Glyn helped guide the bank through the financial turmoil following the collapse of Ayr Bank. Although Vere, Glyn & Hallifax temporarily ceased trading on 22 June that year, the partners were able to save the business and the bank re-opened on 6 August 1772.
Richard Glyn remained a partner in the bank until his death in 1773.
Other business interests
- a founder (in 1762) of the Equitable Assurances on Lives and Survivorships, later known as the Equitable Life Assurance Society. Vice-president, 1762-4; president, 1764-8
- a director of the Million Bank, originally formed as the Million Lottery in the reign of King William III
Richard Glyn first stood for parliament in 1754, failing to win a seat representing the City of London. He stood uncontested at a by-election in 1758, and was duly elected. He continued to represent the City of London until 1768, when he narrowly lost his seat in a fiercely-fought election.
In December the same year he stood in Coventry, with the support of the Treasury against the corporation candidate, and was elected with a large majority. He held the Coventry seat until his death in 1773.
Other offices and titles
Richard Glyn held a number of roles in the City of London, including:
- Alderman for Dowgate Ward, 1750-72
- Master of the Worshipful Company of Salters from 1751
- Joint Sheriff of London, with Charles Asgill, from 1752
- Lord Mayor of London, 1758-9.
He was knighted in 1752 and elevated to the baronetcy in 1759, taking the title 1st Baronet of Ewell.
Also in 1759, he received an honorary degree from the University of Oxford, an honour customarily granted to the Lord Mayor of London upon the appointment of a new chancellor of the university.
Richard Glyn was a colonel of the Orange Regiment of the City of London militia, 1762-73.
He was treasurer of the Honourable Artillery Company in London, 1763-70, and vice president, 1770-3.
He was President of the Hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlem from 1775 until his death.
Fervently anti-French, he was a prominent member of the Anti-Gallican Society, an organisation formed in about 1745 to resist the influx of French-made goods to Britain.
On 8 June 1736 Richard Glyn married Susannah, the only child of George Lewen of Ewell, Surrey. With the marriage came the house, land and rectory of Ewell. Together they had three sons: Robert (1737-1743), George (1739-1814) and Richard (d.1741).
Susannah Glyn died on 5 February 1751.
On 23 March 1754 Richard Glyn was married for a second time, to Elizabeth Carr, daughter of Robert Carr, a silk merchant of Hampton, Middlesex. Together they had two sons: Richard Carr Glyn (1755-1838) and Thomas Glyn (born 1757).
Richard Glyn died on 1 January 1773. Coming so soon after his bank’s severe financial difficulties, rumours of suicide circulated, but his doctor publicly declared that Glyn had died of a slow fever.
His eldest surviving son, George, succeeded to his title. His elder son from his second marriage, Richard Carr, succeeded to his banking interests.