Published 11th August 2012
Jemmy Wood, (incorrectly captioned Jimmy) on the face of it an unassuming Gloucester draper was on his death in 1836 the richest commoner in all England having amassed an estate just short of £800,000. He certainly didn’t get rich sewing on buttons, but as a sideline he operated a Private Bank offering no interest on loans taken out for less than a year – I guess someone was slow in paying!
His miserliness was legendry he once returned from Tewksbury laid down in a returning hearse rather than pay for a carriage and although alderman of Gloucester never became mayor as he couldn’t stomach paying for the inaugural banquet.
On his death a charred fragment of a rival will was found leaving his fortune to a local solicitor, Gloucester Corporation and two others. The Corporation spent £1000’s and years trying unsuccessfully to ‘prove’ the claim and the solicitor hung himself!