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Davies, Thomas (1631-1679) (DNB00)

DAVIES or DAVIS, Sir THOMAS (1631–1679), lord mayor of London and book-seller, son of John Davis, a draper of London, was born in 1631, and was educated at St. Paul's School, where Pepys was his school-fellow. He obtained the freedom of the Drapers' Company by patrimony, but pursued the business of a stationer in St. Paul's Churchyard. Writing under date 23 Nov. 1662, Pepys notes ‘how old rich Audley [see Audley, Hugh] died and left a very great estate, making a great many poor families rich. Among others one Davies … a book-seller in Paul's Churchyard.’

Five years later (1667) Davies served as sheriff, ‘a strange turn, methinks,’ says Pepys, and on 23 Oct. he was knighted. He was alderman of Farringdon Without from 1667 till death. In the same year he became an assistant of the Stationers' Company, and in 1668, and again in 1689, he was master. On 4 Aug. 1673 the company's books show that some pressure was required to induce Davies to supply his brace of bucks for the feast fixed for six days later. He was chosen lord mayor in November 1676. He had then translated himself to the Drapers' Company, after presenting the Stationers with two large silver cups. During his mayoralty the monument on Fish Street Hill to commemorate the great fire was erected. When the inscription was under discussion, Littleton suggested ‘a heptastic vocable’ compounded of the names of the seven mayors in office since the foundations of the monument were laid, and Davies's name forms the last part of the proposed ‘vocable’ (Adam Littleton, Dictionary). Davies died in 1679, and was buried in St. Sepulchre's Church, Snow Hill, where there is a monument to his memory.

[Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes, iii. 596; Orridge's Citizens of London; Pepys's Diary, ii. 89, v. 69; Gardiner's St. Paul's School, p. 43; Cunningham's Handbook of London.]

R. H.