A figure of Richard Whittington and his (ginger) cat can be seen in a stained glass window on the north side of the nave of Westminster Abbey. The large window, unveiled in 1913, depicts a king and an abbot of Westminster and comprises a memorial to scientist Lord Kelvin. The small figure of Dick Whittington is included at the base of the window because he was the administrator and receiver of revenues for the building of the nave area of the Abbey from 1413-22 and gave money himself towards the rebuilding. Richard II and Henry V were royal donors.
He was a son of Sir William Whittington, landowner in Gloucestershire, and his wife Joan (Maunsell). His wife was Alice daughter of Sir Ivo Fitzwaryn. Richard was a councillor in London from 1384, Alderman and Mayor on several occasions, and Sheriff of London and Middlesex in 1393-4. He held many other offices and was on Henry IV's council. He was one of London's leading mercers supplying royalty and nobility and through his connections with the Court he became very wealthy and gave generously to charities. In early 1423 he died and was buried with his wife at St Michael Paternoster church in the City of London.
A photo of the figure in the window can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.
"Richard Whittington" by C.M.Barron in Studies in London History. 1969
"The nave of Westminster" by R.B.Rackham in Proceedings of the British Academy vol. IV, 1909