Shaw, Edmund (DNB00)

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SHAW or SHAA, Sir EDMUND (d. 1487?), lord mayor of London, was the son of John Shaa of Dunkerfield in Cheshire. He was a wealthy goldsmith and prominent member of the Goldsmiths' Company, of which he served the office of master. He was elected sheriff in 1474, and on his presentation the members of his company escorted him to Westminster (Herbert, Twelve Great Livery Companies, ii. 219). Shaa became alderman, and in 1485 migrated to the ward of Cheap, on the death of Sir Thomas Hill through the ‘sweating sickness.’ He was elected mayor in 1482, and towards the close of his mayoralty he took an active part in influencing the succession to the crown on the death of Edward IV. Shaa probably had financial dealings with the crown, and his intimacy with Edward IV appears from a bequest in his will for an obit for the soul of that ‘excellent prince’ and his sister, the Duchess of Exeter. He became nevertheless a strong supporter of Richard III, who made him a privy councillor, and whose claims to the throne he and his brother (see below) were doubtless largely instrumental in inducing the citizens to adopt. Shaa appears to have resided in Foster Lane, where, and in the neighbouring West Chepe, the goldsmiths kept their shops. He possessed, and probably occupied, the great mansion, with its adjoining tenements, in Foster Lane, in which Sir Bartholomew Reid had lived (ib. ii. 253).

He died about 1487, and was buried in the church of St. Thomas of Acon, where he founded a chantry for the souls of his wife Juliana (who died in 1493), his son Hugh, and others (Sharpe, Calendar of Husting Wills, ii. 612). This trust, with many singular injunctions attached, he placed under the charge of the Mercers' Company (Watney, Account of the Hospital of St. Thomas of Acon, pp. 51–3). His will, dated 20 March 1487, was proved in the P. C. C. (Milles 12). Full effect was given to his intentions under the will of Stephen Kelk, goldsmith, who administered Shaa's bequest under an agreement with his executors (Watney, p. 53; Prideaux, Goldsmiths' Company, i. 33–4). One of these executors, John Shaa, goldsmith, may have been the Sir John Shaa (knighted on Bosworth Field and made a banneret by Henry VII) who was lord mayor in 1501, or a near relative. By another will, not enrolled, Shaa left four hundred marks for rebuilding Cripplegate, which was carried out by his executors in 1491. He also left property in charge of the Goldsmiths' Company, producing an annual sum of 17l., to found a school ‘for all boys of the town of Stockport and its neighbourhood,’ in which place his parents were buried. This school was considerably developed and its advantages extended by the Goldsmiths' Company (Herbert, ii. 252–3). Shaa also directed by his will that sixteen gold rings should be made as amulets or charms against disease, chiefly cramp. One of these rings, found in 1895 during excavations in Daubeney Road, Hackney, is now in the British Museum. On the outside are figures of the crucifixion, the Madonna, and St. John, with a mystical inscription in English; the inside contains another mystical inscription in Latin.

The lord mayor's brother, Ralph or John Shaw (d. 1484), styled John by More and Holinshed, and Raffe by Hall and Fabyan, may without much doubt be identified with Ralph Shaw, S. T. B., who was appointed prebendary of Cadington Minor in the diocese of London on 14 March 1476–7, and was esteemed a man of learning and ability. He was chosen by the Protector (afterwards Richard III) to preach a sermon at St. Paul's Cross on 22 June 1483, when he impugned the validity of Edward IV's marriage with Elizabeth Woodville, and even asserted, according to More, that Edward IV and his brother Clarence were bastards. Fabyan states that he ‘lived in little prosperity afterwards,’ and died before 21 Aug. 1484 (Gairdner, Life of Richard III, 1878, pp. 100–4; FFabyan, Chronicle, 1811, p. 669; More, Life of Richard III, ed. Lumby, pp. 57, 70; Holinshed, Chronicles, ed. Hooker, iii. 725, 729; Hall, Chronicle, 1809, p. 365; Le Neve, Fasti Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, ii. 372).

[Orridge's Citizens of London and their Rulers, pp. 116–20; Sharpe's London and the Kingdom, i. 320–2; Price's Historical Account of the Guildhall, p. 186; Watney's Hospital of St. Thomas of Acon, pp. 51–3; Sharpe's Calendar of Husting Wills, ii. 612–17; Prideaux's Memorials of the Goldsmiths' Company, 1896, passim; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. xii. 345.]

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