call us: 020 7783 3533

About the Thomas Arneway Trust

Bringing history up-to-date

London in 1603, when Thomas Arneway died, was a very different city. Only one bridge crossed the Thames. Shakespeare had just published Hamlet. Queen Elizabeth I (Good Queen Bess) died. Only about 200,000 people lived in London – 3% of today's population.

Business was different too. There was no such thing as 'big business'. All business was 'small'. Acting as a financier to small business – mostly self-employed tradesmen and shopkeepers – made Thomas Arneway successful.

He died in 1603. His wife, Margaret, had been dead for seven years. And so his will stipulated that part of his estate should be sold. The proceeds were to be used for the benefit of 'honest young men', who were eligible to receive loans up to £50 for up to two years. The rest of his estate was used to finance loans to poorer occupiers or traders so that they could pursue their "honest vocations".

The money that resulted from the sale of Thomas Arneway's estate has been working on behalf of small and start-up businesses for over 400 years. Naturally, it's grown as loans have been repaid and as interest has accrued.

Today a panel of trustees decide who to grant loans, based on the applications submitted to them.

To find out if you’re eligible for a small business loan, read on…