Skip to main content

Gresham, Sir Thomas

Sir Thomas Gresham (grĕsh´əm), 1519?–1579, English merchant and financier. As the royal financial agent in Antwerp after 1551 he proved himself very able, though his methods were frequently more effective than ethical. After the accession of Elizabeth I to the throne he spent most of his time in London but went on diplomatic and financial missions. He also accumulated a great private fortune as a banker, mercer, and merchant. He was the principal figure in the founding of the Royal Exchange, and he endowed Gresham College in London. His name was given to Gresham's law, the economic principle that in the circulation of money "bad money drives out good," i.e., when depreciated, mutilated, or debased coinage (or currency) is in concurrent circulation with money of high value in terms of precious metals, the good money is withdrawn from circulation by hoarders. It was thought that Gresham was the first to state the principle, but it has been shown that it was stated long before his time and that he did not even formulate it.

See J. W. Burgon, Life and Times of Sir Thomas Gresham (2 vol., 1839, rep. 1968); biography by F. R. Salter (1925).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gresham, Sir Thomas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gresham, Sir Thomas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gresham-sir-thomas

"Gresham, Sir Thomas." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/gresham-sir-thomas

Gresham Professorship

Gresham Professorship. In the will of Sir Thomas Gresham (c.1519–79), founder of London Royal Exchange, provision was made for 7 professorships in various subjects and for a lecture on mus. John Bull was first mus. prof. (1596–1607). Later incumbents have incl. Sir Frederick Bridge, Sir Walford Davies, and Peter Latham.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Gresham Professorship." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Gresham Professorship." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 27, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gresham-professorship

"Gresham Professorship." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved May 27, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gresham-professorship