Peter [de] Thellusson (27 June 1737 — 21 July 1797) was a Swiss businessman and banker who settled in London.
Thellusson was a member of a Huguenot family which had fled France for Geneva in the 16th century. His father Isaac had started a Swiss bank (Thellusson, Necker et Cie) and became the Genevan ambassador to Paris. Peter, with the help of his brother George-Tobie, managed the successful bank in partnership with Jacques Necker, the Thellussons managing the London branch of the bank from 1760 with Necker managing the Paris branch. Both partners became very rich by loans to the treasury and speculation in grain. Peter started his own finance house in Philpot Lane and in 1761 took British nationality by Act of Parliament. On 6 January 1760 he married Ann, daughter of Matthew Woodford and sister of Sir Ralph Woodford of Carlby, Lincolnshire.
He was also involved in other businesses. becoming a director of the Bank of England, part owner of several sugar refineries, and an importer of tobacco and sugar from the West Indies. He built a large house for himself 'Plaistow Lodge' at Bromley in Kent (Now Bromley Parish CofE Primary School) and in 1790 bought the Brodsworth estate in South Yorkshire (House and gardens now belonging to English Heritage).
After his death his substantial estate was embroiled in the Thellusson Will Case, as he had written an unusual will whereby his fortune and estates were put into a trust fund for the benefit of future generations at the expense of his children and grandchildren. The two ultimate beneficiaries, decided by the courts after protracted legal wrangling, were the grandchildren of his eldest son Peter Isaac Thelluson, who was created Baron Rendlesham in 1806 and one of his other sons, Charles. It is believed that the Thellusson Will case provided the basis for the fictional case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce in Charles Dickens' novel Bleak House. Thelluson may also be the inspiration for Tellsons Bank mention in "A Tale of Two Cities". As a result of the case, legislation, commonly known as the Thellusson Act, was passed to prevent such problems in the future.
- John Debrett, Debrett's Peerage of England, Scotland, and Ireland 1820:1282-84
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