(8)  Sir William Copinger Knt.


Sir William Copinger was born at Buxhall, in Suffolk and being a younger son, went to London to seek his fortune, entering business as a fishmonger.  He was a man of great piety, prudence, and activity.  He became a member of that renowned corporation and accumulated vast wealth.  In 1507 he was elected Sheriff, and became Lord Mayor in the year 1512, upon which occasion he received the honour of knighthood at the hands of the king.  At his death, it is said, though with what degree of truth will appear from his Will, that he divided his estate between "God and his heirs,"  one half being devoted to the Church and the poor, and the remainder being bequeathed to his relations.

"His bounty," says Fuller, "mindeth me of the words of Zaccheus to our Saviour: 'Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.' - Luke xix., 8.

"Demand not of me whether our Copinger made such plentiful restitution, being confident there was no cause thereof, seeing he was never one of the publicans; persons universally infamous for extortion.  Otherwise I confess, that that charity which is not bottomed on justice, is but built on a foundered foundation. I am sorry to see this gentleman's ancient arms (the epidermical disease of that age) substracted (in point of honour) by the addition of a superfluous bordure."

The following is a copy of his Will:

Will of Sir William Copinger, 1512.

Proved 1 March, 1512.

"His character," says Mr. Hollingsworth (History of Stowmarket, p. 85), "made an impression upon the age in which he lived, and he is described in terms of affection and respect by his contemporaries.[1]  It is from men like him that we derive half our strength as a nation, and from the honourable pursuits of commerce and trade, we become great in power and wealth as well as arms."


[1] Suffolk MSS., Brit. Mus.  Addenda 8,191.



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