The credit relationship between Henry III and merchants of Douai and Ypres, 1247–70

Adrian R. Bell, Chris Brooks, Tony K. Moore
Published Online:
24 Apr 2013
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 67 Issue 1

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This article looks at an important but neglected aspect of medieval sovereign debt, namely ‘accounts payable’ owed by the Crown to merchants and employees. It focuses on the unusually well‐documented relationship between Henry III, King of England between 1216 and 1272, and Flemish merchants from the towns of Douai and Ypres, who provided cloth on credit to the royal wardrobe. From the surviving royal documents, we reconstruct the credit advanced to the royal wardrobe by the merchants of Ypres and Douai for each year between 1247 and 1270, together with the king's repayment history. The interactions between the king and the merchants are then analysed. The insights from this analysis are applied to the historical data to explain the trading decisions made by the merchants during this period, as well as why the strategies of the Yprois sometimes differed from those of the Douaissiens.

© Economic History Society 2013

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