CANYNGES, Canynge, WILLIAM (c. 1399–1474), English merchant, was born at Bristol in 1399 or 1400, a member of a wealthy family of merchants and cloth-manufacturers in that city. He entered, and in due course greatly extended, the family business, becoming one of the richest Englishmen of his day. Canynges was five times mayor of, and twice member of parliament for, Bristol. He owned a fleet of ten ships, the largest hitherto known in England, and employed, it is said, 800 seamen. By special license from the king of Denmark he enjoyed for some time a monopoly of the fish trade between Iceland, Finland and England, and he also competed successfully with the Flemish merchants in the Baltic, obtaining a large share of their business. In 1456 he entertained Margaret of Anjou at Bristol, and in 1461 Edward IV. Canynges undertook at his own expense the great work of rebuilding the famous Bristol church of St Mary, Redcliffe, and for a long time had a hundred workmen in his regular service for this purpose. In 1467 he himself took holy orders, and in 1469 was made dean of Westbury. He died in 1474. The statesman George Canning and the first viscount Stratford de Redcliffe were descendants of his family.
See Pryce, Memorials of the Canynges Family and their Times (Bristol, 1854).