It was around this time that a trade in furs with Russia became a possibility and Wolstan eagerly accepted the challenge. He became one of the most successful pioneers of the business and was one of the founders of the Muscovy Company in 1555. His fellow directors included such notable adventurers as Hudson, Cabot and Baffin.
The Company’s Seal featured an heraldic representation of one of the the most important
furs to their success, an Ounce, or snow leopard. The snow leopard has for many years
been a powerful icon in the heraldry of eastern Europe. Known as Aq-
Wolstan met with great success in the fur trade and soon became an Alderman and then a Sheriff of the City of London. In 1585 he became Lord Mayor, and as is customary for a Lord Mayor of London he was knighted.
Now a wealthy merchant, Sir Wolstan took a lively interest in education. He paid
towards the building of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and was President of Christ’s
Hospital, The Blue Coat School. He had acquired as part of his wife’s dowry an estate
in Leicestershire. He purchased the manor of Bosworth and planned to make this his
home. It was around this time that he began to take an interest in its ancient school.
In 1593 he built a school-
In his long and complicated will Sir Wolstan left many charitable institutions funds enabling them to carry on his promotion of education across the country. Among the benefactors was the school at Bosworth. A sum of £700 pounds was left in trust to the Skinners Company in order that they should purchase lands which would yield £30 a year “for the maintenance of fifty or sixty scholars and a schoolmaster”. However the Skinners Company failed to carry out his wishes and this led to his grand nephew and heir, Mr Wolstan Dixie, who had inherited the Bosworth estate, entering a complaint in the Court of Chancery.
The trust was transferred to Wolstan, and he was granted letters patent to proceed
with the endowment of the school. This project it seems was as dear to him as it
was to his great-
According to Debrett’s, Thomas Wotton in 1771 asserted that “the Dixies were an ancient family descended from Wolstan, Earl of Ellenden, who married a sister of Egbert, the first king of England”.
The earliest reference to the family we have managed to find is in Sir William Betham’s
“The Baronetage of England, Volume 2”, published in 1802. “The first we find is in
the Visitation of the Heralds. Wolstan Dixie -
He became a citizen of the City of London and as a qualified master skinner was welcomed into The Worshipful Company of Skinners as a Freeman. The Company of Skinners is one of the Great Twelve livery companies of the City of London.