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John Freame (1666–1745) was an English banker. He founded Barclays Bank in 1690.

John Freame
Cirencester, England
Spouse(s)Priscilla Gould
ChildrenPriscilla Freame
Parent(s)Robert Freame
RelativesDavid Barclay of Cheapside (son-in-law)
David Barclay of Youngsbury (grandson)


Early lifeEdit

John Freame was born in 1669 in Cirencester, England, and was baptised on 11th November 1669[1]. His father was Robert Freame. In 1683, he was apprenticed to Job Bolton, a Quaker goldsmith based in Lombard Street.[2]


Upon completion of his apprenticeship, he gained his Freedom of the City on 7 April 1690, giving him the right to open a business within the City. Freame went into partnership with Thomas Gould, a fellow Quaker. Located in a part of the city where 25% of the population were Quakers they were able to build up their reputation — and their business particularly amongst their co-religionists. They traded as Freame & Gould under the sign of the three anchours, building a good reputation.

In 1728, the business moved to 54 Lombard Street, identified as the ‘Sign of Black Spread Eagle’.[3] Signs were used to identify buildings in an age when few people could read, and, as buildings changed hands, signs would remain. Barclays, who continued to trade from the site in Lombard Street, became identified with the Spread Eagle which was then adopted as the official coat of arms for the Bank in 1937. The Barclay name entered the business in 1736, when James Barclay, who had married one of John Freame's daughters, was taken into the partnership by his brother-in-law Joseph.

In 1713, he published Scripture Instruction: Digested into Several Sections by Way of Questions & Answers in Order to Promote Piety & Virtue, and Discourage Vice & Immorality, with a Preface Relating to Education.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Freame married Priscilla, Thomas Gould's sister (Thomas married Hannah, John's sister)[4] on 19th October 1697 at the Friends' Meeting at Devonshire House, London.[5] John and Priscilla had eight children including:

  • Mary Freame (1700-1760), married Thomas Plumstead.
  • Joseph Freame (1701-1766, married Anne Osgood; followed his father into the business.
  • Sarah Freame (1708-1769), married James Barclay (1708-1766), the first Barclay in the bank.


He died in 1745.


  1. ^ Gloucestershire Archives; Gloucester, Gloucestershire; Gloucestershire Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P86/1 IN 1/2
  2. ^ Akrill, M. & Hannah, L. (2001), Barclays: The Business of Banking, 1690–1996, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  3. ^ Margaret Ackrill, Leslie Hannah. Barclays: The Business of Banking, 1690-1996 Cambridge University Press 2001
  4. ^ a b John Freame (1665–1745) accessed 28 March 2012
  5. ^ General Register Office: Society of Friends' Registers, Notes and Certificates of Births, Marriages and Burials. Records of the General Register Office, Government Social Survey Department, and Office of Population Censuses and Surveys, RG 6. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England.