Lakshmi N. Mittal is in a good company. The steel magnate is the only living person who has made it to the top 20 in the list of Britain’s wealthiest.
The names of 250 super-rich Brits since William the Conquerer (1,028-87 AD) appears in a book The Richest of the Rich by Phillip Beresford and Bill Rubisnstein. The only other 20th century individual to make it to the list is Russia’s Roman Abramovich, at 59th spot.
At Number 20, Mittal, who became the richest in Britain a few years ago, continues to hold his position with a fortune of £19 billion. But topping the chart is a little-known French immigrant who lived more than 900 years ago — William the Conqueror’s nephew Alan the Red.
When Alan Rufus died in 1093, he was worth £11,000, which today would be around £81.33billion — three times that of Bill Gates. Using figures from probate records and ancient documents, the authors calculated that this sum was more than seven per cent of the national income of the time. <b1>
“Nobody is likely to be as rich as Alan Rufus again,” said Beresford. “But it is safer to be rich now. Rufus died in his bed. But of the 250 on the list, 29 were either executed or met with a violent death.”
In the study that stretches back to the Norman conquest of 1066, four of the list’s top six are Norman barons — including Edward, the Black Prince, who was worth the equivalent of almost £35billion, and Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas A Becket, who amassed more than £24billion in today’s terms.
Among other living Brits, Gerald Grosvenor — the 6th Duke of Westminster — is at 70 with an estimated fortune of £7billion. The Bhs boss Sir Philip Green and his wife enter at 140, while Virgin Atlantic’s Sir Richard Branson is at 211.
The list is a history of the anonymous who helped build Britain. Rufus is followed by William de Warenne — the 1st Earl of Surrey — ahead of the equally obscure Robert of Mortain-Odo of Bayeux and Henry of Grossmont. The richest woman is Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Henry II, who, at Number 62, was worth just under £10billion in today’s terms.