Francis Shaxton was orphaned in his teens and was apprenticed into the cloth trade in King’s Lynn.
Once he mastered that business he moved into the grain shipping trade. He soon found that he needed the co-operation (and blind eyes) of the customs and other authorities in order to prosper. Palms were greased and he built up a considerable shipping empire. He rose to be Alderman and Mayor of King’s Lynn until his temporary downfall caused by someone not taking the bribe.
Undeterred, after a brief period of straight trading, he carried on his merry way becoming Mayor again until he lost his flagship off the Glamorgan coast in 1583 (she was supposed to be in Hartlepool). His business lost all impetus after this and nothing is known of him since 1586. He died in mysterious circumstances and his death remains unrecorded.