E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
(See under CAT; also WITTINGTON.)
Riley in his Munimenta Gildhallæ Londenensis (p. xviii.) says achat was used at the time for trading (i.e. buying and selling), and that Whittington made his money by achat, called acat. We have the word in cater, caterer.
As much error exists respecting Dick Whittington, the following account will be useful. He was born in Gloucestershire, in the middle of the fourteenth century, and was the son of a knight of good property. He went to London to learn how to become a merchant. His master was a relative, and took a great interest in the boy, who subsequently married Alice, his masters daughter. He became very rich, and was four times Mayor of London, but the first time was before the office was created Lord Mayor by Richard II. He died in 1423, during his year of office, about sixty-three years of age.