William Walworth (died 1385), was twice Lord Mayor of London
(1374–75 and 1380–81). He is best known for killing Wat Tyler.
His family came from Durham. He was apprenticed to John Lovekyn, a
member of the Fishmongers Guild, and succeeded his master as alderman
of Bridge Ward in 1368, becoming sheriff in 1370 and lord mayor in
1374. He was Member of Parliament for the City of London in 1371,
1376, 1377, and 1383 as one of the two aldermanic representatives of
the city. 
He is said to have suppressed usury in the city during his term of
office as mayor. His name frequently figures as advancing loans to
Richard II. He supported the king's uncle John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of
Lancaster in the city, where there was a strong opposition to John.
William Walworth worked for a time in the Customs House under Geoffrey
Chaucer. In John Gardner's book "The Life and Times of Chaucer"
Walworth is described as one of a number of important merchants, all
friends of Alice Perrers, who used their influence with the king
(Edward III). In his book Gardner says that according to complaints in
the House of Commons, this group conspired to keep food prices up,
lent money to the king at inflated interest, and through personal and
financial influence persuaded the king to issue edicts profitable to
His most famous exploit was his encounter with
Wat Tyler during the
English peasants' revolt of 1381, in his second term of office as Lord
Mayor. In June of that year, when Tyler and his followers entered
south London, Walworth defended
London Bridge against them. He was
with Richard II when he met the insurgents at Smithfield, and killed
the rebel leader with his baselard. The circumstances of the killing
– including whether Walworth planned the attack or struck on the
spur of the moment – have always been unclear.
Walworth raised the city bodyguard in the king's defence, for which
service he was rewarded by knighthood and a pension. He subsequently
served on two commissions to restore the peace in the county of Kent.
Statue of Sir
William Walworth at Holborn Viaduct
He died in 1385, and was buried in the church of St. Michael, Crooked
Lane, of which he was a considerable benefactor. Sir William Walworth
was the most distinguished member of the Fishmongers Guild, and he
invariably figured in the pageants prepared by them when one of their
members attained the mayoralty. He became a favorite hero in popular
tales, and appeared in Richard Johnson's
Nine Worthies of London
Nine Worthies of London in
William Walworth is commemorated with a statue on Holborn Viaduct,
near the boundary of the City of London.
List of Sheriffs of the City of London
List of Lord Mayors of London
City of London (elections to the Parliament of England)
^ "Chronological list of aldermen: 1302-1400". British History Online.
Retrieved 6 October 2016.
^ The Life and Times of Chaucer, Barns & Noble Inc., 1977.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Walworth, Sir
William". Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge