Hugh Audley
Hugh Audley also known as The Great Audley, was an English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 moneylender, lawyer and philosopher. Following his death, he was the feature of a popular 17th century pamphlet titled The way to be rich according to the practice of the Great Audley, which compared his humble beginnings to his ultimate fortune.

The first recorded date of Audley's life is his baptism in January 1577. He was the tenth of eleven children of John Audley, a mercer, and his wife Maudlin or Margaret Hare, daughter of a wealthy Cheapside
Cheapside is a street in the City of London that links Newgate Street with the junction of Queen Victoria Street and Mansion House Street. To the east is Mansion House, the Bank of England, and the major road junction above Bank tube station. To the west is St. Paul's Cathedral, St...

 mercer named John Hare. His father died in 1579, and left "considerable property, both real and personal". After being admitted to the Inner Temple
Inner Temple
The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, commonly known as Inner Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court in London. To be called to the Bar and practise as a barrister in England and Wales, an individual must belong to one of these Inns...

 in 1603, he became a clerk of the Court of Wards and Liveries
Court of Wards and Liveries
The Court of Wards and Liveries was a court established during the reign of Henry VIII in England. Its purpose was to administer a system of feudal dues; but as well as the revenue collection, the court was also responsible for wardship and livery issues....

, a position for which he allegedly paid £3000, until it was abolished in 1660. In his position, he became extremely rich, and survived a £100,000 loss after the court's suppression in 1646. However, all the money and records remained in his possession long after this event.

Through his wealth, Audley was able to buy and invest in land. He bought the manor of Ebury, in Westminster
Westminster is an area of central London, within the City of Westminster, England. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames, southwest of the City of London and southwest of Charing Cross...

, from Lionel Cranfield
Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex
Lionel Cranfield, 1st Earl of Middlesex was a successful merchant in London, England.-Life:He was the second son of Thomas Cranfield, a mercer at London, and his wife Martha Randill, the daughter and heiress of Vincent Randill of Sutton-at-Hone, Kent. He was apprenticed in to Richard Sheppard, a...

, the first Earl of Middlesex
Earl of Middlesex
Earl of Middlesex was a title that was created twice in the Peerage of England. The first creation came in 1622 for Lionel Cranfield, 1st Baron Cranfield, the Lord High Treasurer. He had already been created Baron Cranfield, of Cranfield in the County of Bedford, the year before, also in the...

. Deeply in debt, the Earl sold it cheaply, but had a negative opinion of Audley himself, whom he described as "barbarous", with "looks [that] show his disposition", and one who bore himself "loftily respectless and peremptory". The property later passed through his great-grandniece, Mary Davies, wife of Sir Thomas Grosvenor. Her inheritance enriched the Grosvenor family through one of Audley's legacies, which still present today: Audley Street, running through the old Ebury estate in Mayfair
Mayfair is an area of central London, within the City of Westminster.-History:Mayfair is named after the annual fortnight-long May Fair that took place on the site that is Shepherd Market today...

, is named after Hugh. On another occasion, when he bought land in Buckenham
Buckenham is a village in Norfolk, England, situated on the northern bank of the River Yare. The village is the location of the RSPB Buckenham Marshes nature reserve.Buckenham railway station serves the outlying communities and the RSPB reserve....

, Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

, Audley withheld the payments promised and harassed the creditors with law suits. His cunning was revealed and condemned by William Hone, who described an incident with a draper with a £200 debt. Audley bought the debt, for which the draper offered him £50; but Audley refused. Instead, he forced the draper to sign a contract ordering him to pay a penny, doubled every month, for twenty years, which gradually accumulated into more than the actual debt. According to the anonymous and posthumous pamphlet, Audley had "the clue of a resolved mind, which made plaine to him all the rough passages he met with".

Audley died in his 86th year, at the home of the rector of St. Clement Danes, London, on 15 November 1662. On 21 November, his body was interred in the Temple Church
Temple Church
The Temple Church is a late-12th-century church in London located between Fleet Street and the River Thames, built for and by the Knights Templar as their English headquarters. In modern times, two Inns of Court both use the church. It is famous for its effigy tombs and for being a round church...

in London.
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