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Antique Print of Alice FitzWarin & her husband, Sir Richard 'Dick' Whittington - this version  Nash Ford PublishingAlice FitzWarin (c.1375-c.1410)
Born: circa 1375 possibly at Wantage, Berkshire
Lady Mayoress of London
Died: circa 1410 probably in London

Alice was one of the two daughters and heiresses of Sir Ivo FitzWarin, a knight of considerable landed property in the south-western counties, who on several occasions represented Dorset and Devon in parliament, by his wife Maud, one of the co-heiresses of the well-known Hertfordshire D'Argentine family in which the office of Royal Cupbearer was hereditary.

She spent her childhood on her father's estates in Dorset and his favoured home at Wantage in Berkshire, but as she grew older, she liked to accompany him to London where he had a thriving import and export business in Leadenhall Street in the City. It was there that she met a poor ill-treated, but handsome, young orphan from Gloucestershire, named Richard or 'Dick' Whittington. Having made his way to London, after hearing that its streets were paved with gold, Dick had arrived in a state of some destitution. He attracted the commiseration of Sir Ivo (or Hugh to his friends) because he bore the name of the old FitzWarin family estate in Shropshire and he was placed, as a scullion, in his kitchen. Unfortunately, he suffered there greatly from the tyranny of the cook, a situation which was only tempered by the fact that Alice had taken rather a fancy to him and showed to him much kindness.

From this state of misery, Dick was presently released by a strange piece of good fortune. It was Sir Ivo's custom, when sending out a ship, to let each of his servants venture something in it, in order that God might give him a greater blessing. To the freight of the good ship 'Unicorn,' Whittington could only contribute his cat, which he had bought for a penny to keep down the vermin in his garret; but the vessel happening to touch at an unknown part of the Barbary Coast and the King of the country, whose palace was overrun with rats and mice, bought the cat for ten times more than all the freight besides. Meanwhile her owner, unconscious of his good luck and driven desperate by the cook's ill-usage, stole away from the FitzWarin household early in the morning of All Hallows Day, and left the city behind him. However, as he rested at Holloway, he heard Bow Bells ring out a merry peal, which seemed to say to him: "Turn again, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London". Whereupon he returned to his pots and spits.

The 'Unicorn' soon returned home and Dick's new-found wealth thence made him a fine match for his master daughter. Alice and Richard were married and, as predicted, he rose to be thrice Lord Mayor of London. The couple even entertained King Henry V, after his conquest of France, at a great feast, in the course of which the Mayor threw into the fire the King's bonds by which he owed Richard some thirty-seven thousand marks.

Alice must have predeceased her father, who died in 1414, for, at that time, he left only one daughter and heiress, Eleanor, the wife of Sir John Chidiock. Apparently Alice and Richard had no issue themselves.

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