This private bank was established in Maidstone in 1818 as Corral, Homewood & Mercer; it was also known as New Kentish Bank. Philip Corral was a hop grower, Edward Homewood a justice of the peace and John Mercer a miller. Homewood died in 1820 and the partnership was known thereafter as Corral & Mercer.
There was a run on the bank during the financial panic of 1825-6, but the firm survived due to the support of local traders and gentlemen. By then it was the only bank in Maidstone and had adopted the title Kentish Bank.
In 1838 Alexander Randall, a former clerk, was admitted to the partnership, which became Corral, Mercer & Randall. Philip Corral died in 1840 and John Mercer’s son, also John, was admitted to the partnership, making it Mercer, Randall & Mercer.
In the early 1850s John Mercer senior’s second son Charles was admitted, and the firm became Mercer, Randall, Mercer & Mercer. John Mercer senior died in 1855, John Mercer junior in 1857 and Charles Mercer in 1861. Lewis Davis Wigan join the partnership in 1856; Henry Tasker by 1861; Richard Mercer, who had previously been engaged in the family milling business, in 1856; and his brother Samuel Mercer in 1860. In 1868 Charles Mercer’s son William Frederick Mercer also joined the partnership. When Alexander Randall died in 1870 the partnership was called Wigan, Mercers, Tasker & Co and by 1903 was known as Wigan, Mercer, Tasker & Co. The bank was acquired by Union of London & Smiths Bank Ltd of London in 1903.
- The Kentish Bank, Maidstone, 1818-1968 (London: privately published by National Provincial Bank, 1968)
Summary of our archive holdings
Our archival records of Wigan, Mercer, Tasker & Co have the reference code WIG.
For help understanding words used here, check our glossary of banking record types (PDF 68KB).
- customer surety bonds 1805-20
- papers re Maidstone premises 1818, n.d.
- nightly balances book 1818-9
- customer account ledger 1819-20
- receipt 1820
- partnership agreement 1821
- presscutting re robbery 1824
- poster 1826
- cheques and cheque forms 1837-97
- probate of partner’s will 1870
- banknotes n.d., 1880
- banker’s licence 1888
- private ledger 1894-1911
- journal 1898-1903
- banker’s draft n.d.
- photograph of Samuel Mercer n.d.
- amalgamation papers 1902-3