Dixie, Wolstan (DNB00)
DIXIE, Sir WOLSTAN (1525–1594), lord mayor of London, son of Thomas Dixie and Anne Jephson, who lived at Catworth in Huntingdonshire, was born in 1525. His ancestors had been seated at Catworth for several generations, and had considerable estates. Wolstan, however, was the fourth son of his father, and was destined to a life of business. He appears to have been apprenticed to Sir Christopher Draper of the Ironmongers' Company, who was lord mayor in 1566, and whose daughter and coheiress, Agnes, he married. Sir Christopher was of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, and hence no doubt Dixie's acquirement of property in that county. He was a freeman of the Skinners' Company, was elected alderman of Broad Street ward 4 Feb. 1573–4, and became one of the sheriffs of London in 1575, when his colleague was Edward Osborne, ancestor of the dukes of Leeds. Agnes Draper is said to have been his second wife; his first was named Walkedon, but he left no family by either. In 1585 he became lord mayor, and his installation was greeted by one of the earliest city pageants now extant, the words being composed by George Peele [q. v.] On 8 Feb. 1591–2 he became alderman of St. Michael Bassishaw ward in exchange for that of Broad Street. He had a high character as an active magistrate and charitable citizen, and died 8 Jan. 1593–4, possessed not only of the manor of Bosworth, which he had purchased in 1567 from Henry, earl of Huntingdon, but of many other ‘lands and tenements in Bosworth, Gilmorton, Coton, Carleton, Osbaston, Bradley, and North Kilworth.’ These estates devolved upon his brother Richard, except the manor of Bosworth, which he settled upon Richard's grandson, his own great-nephew, Wolstan. Dixie was buried in the parish church of St. Michael Bassishaw. His heir, Wolstan, was knighted, was sheriff of Leicestershire in 1614, and M.P. for the county in 1625. His son, a well-known royalist, was made a baronet 4 July 1660. The baronetcy is still extant.
Dixie left large charitable bequests to various institutions in London—an annuity to Christ's Hospital, of which he was elected president in 1590; a fund for establishing a divinity lecture at the church of St. Michael Bassishaw, in which parish he resided; 500l. to the Skinners' Company to lend at a low rate of interest to young merchants; money for coals to the poor of his parish; annuities to St. Bartholomew's and St. Thomas's Hospitals; money for the poor in Bridewell, Newgate, and the prisons in Southwark; for the two compters, and to Ludgate and Bedlam; 100l. to portion four maids; 50l. to the strangers of the French and Dutch churches; 200l. towards building a pesthouse; besides provision for the poor of his parish and of Ealing, where he had a house, on the day of his funeral. He had subscribed 50l. towards the building of the new puritan college of Emmanuel in Cambridge (1584), and in his will he left 600l. to purchase land to endow two fellowships and two scholarships for the scholars of his new grammar school at Market Bosworth. This fund for many years accordingly supported these fellows and scholars, while the surplus was employed in purchasing livings. It has recently been devoted to the foundation of a Dixie professorship of ecclesiastical history. At the time of his death he was engaged in erecting the grammar school at Bosworth, which he had endowed with land of the yearly value of 20l. This was completed by his great-nephew and heir.
One portrait of Dixie hangs in the courtroom of Christ's Hospital, of which an engraving is given by Nichols in his ‘History of Leicestershire,’ and another in the parlour of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. There are two other engravings of him—one in ‘A Set of Lord Mayors from the first year of Queen Elizabeth to 1601,’ and another head by H. Holland, 1585.[Stowe's Survey of London (fol. ed. 1633), pp. 106, 138, 298, 590; Nichols's Leicestershire (fol. 1811), vol. iv. pt. ii. pp. 495–7; Orridge's Citizens of London, p. 230; Transactions of London and Middlesex Archæol. Soc. vol. ii. pt. iv. pp. 25–36; Visitation of Leicester (Harl. Soc.), p. 116; Overall's Remembrancia; Burke's Baronetage.]