The taxation of wool, 1327-1348: (Frederic Richard Barnes)

Pages 137-177

Finance and Trade Under Edward III the London Lay Subsidy of 1332. Originally published by Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1918.

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The constitutional importance of Edward III's reign has been thrown rather into obscurity by the dramatic events of the Hundred Years' War and the Black Death Yet the long and bitter struggle Edward waged for Gascony and the French Crown had its counterpart and sequel in the protracted and spirited contest waged by the Commons against the king for the preservation of such control of the purse as they had gradually and with difficulty won from his predecessors This struggle centres round the Taxation of Wool

Edward III inherited from his father two different incomes from wool -the old custom of ½ mark on the sack of wool or 300 woolfells, voted by Parliament and paid by all merchants, native and alien alike, and the new custom of 40d on the sack of wool or 300 woolfells granted and paid by foreign merchants in return for increased protection and privilege But, in addition to these sources of income which the nation recognised as lawful, Edward had had handed down to him the evil precedent of raising the custom rate without consulting the nation, i e, of exacting a maletote

Englishmen were apparently secured against extravagant or oppressive demands, for not only had Magna Carta forbidden an evil or unjust exaction, (fn. 1) but a statute of Edward I had fixed the amount of the just and lawful tax (fn. 2) Parliament had confirmed the King's ancient prerogative of levying customs at the ports, but had deprived it of its arbitrary and variable character Later in the same reign a further advance had been made The King had been bound by law in the Confirmation of the Charters 1297 not to raise, without the common consent of the Realm, any revenue from wool in addition to that which usage gave him (fn. 3)

It would be rash to argue that this marks the establishment of the principle that no increase of the hereditary customs of the crown on any pretext whatever should be permissible with out the consent of Parliament No specific way of ascertaining common assent was prescribed, although the Commons would doubtless regard themselves and would be regarded generally as the only organ capable of expressing such a decision Consequently the King was left umpire in his own cause, and he could select at discretion that body which was likely to serve his interests best Edward III soon discovered that that body was not the Commons, and he availed himself of the loose wording of the law to consult the merchants so frequently and on such weighty matters that the Commons soon became alarmed for their privileges, and attempted further definitions of his rights

With regard to the King's powers of raising imposts from aliens there was even greater laxity and uncertainty both in law and practice Despite the burghers' refusal of 1303 and the temporary success of the Ordinances, Parliament had never effectively condemned the King's agreement with foreign merchants by which he gave greater protection in return for increased customs Those dues which were fixed by Parliament in the case of native merchants had been, and could be in the case of alien merchants, enhanced by separate arrangement between the King and the merchants without the intervention of Parliament The "new custom" (fn. 4) was the offspring of such an agreement, and the crown's immemorial right to impose restrictions upon foreign traders in the interests of the native community had not been limited by statute

Thus the King undoubtedly had the right unquestioned in law and admitted in practice of increasing the new custom by arrangement with foreign merchants and arguing by analogy he might claim to increase the ancient custom in a similar way by agreement with native merchants In addition he had the right to purveyance, which Parliament had never questioned nor attempted to annul, but the abuse of which it had frequently though vainly tried to moderate

There was at the beginning of Edward III's reign considerable vagueness about the constitutional and legal position, and this uncertainty was increased by the fact that, although all the essential features of our constitutional govern ment had emerged, without, it is true, attaining fixity, as yet there had been no precise differentiation of function amongst its component organs The process of differentiation was hastened on by the financial crises of the reign The action which Edward took under the stress of financial exigencies caused two definite issues to emerge quite clearly (1) Could a great Council which differed from a Parliament not in the manner of its composition but merely in the form of its deliberations legally exercise Parliament's powers of taxation? (2) Was the consent of the merchants, i e, of the class who apparently paid the grant, all that the King required to authorise the raising of a subsidy from wool? These questions, which at the beginning of Edward III's reign possess no more than an academic interest, were soon converted by the King's actions into issues of vital and pressing practical importance Edward found the prevailing uncertainty highly advantageous, since it very appreciably increased the number of alternative methods of raising funds and enabled him to play off one interest against another

It is not surprising that the government's first attempt to raise additional supplies from wool should have been made under pressure of war The first martial episode of the reign was the war with Scotland, and it was because of this war that many merchants, both denizen and alien, represented to the King that they could not with profit come to the Staple for the purchase and sale of wool as they had been ordered to do by an ordinance issued in May, 1327 (fn. 5) The King agreed to find a remedy during the said war, especially as the merchants undertook to pay a levy on exported wool as a loan for a certain time (fn. 6) A council of magnates was called, and having regard to the need of encouraging alien merchants to visit the realm and to the "infinite treasure" the King would be compelled to expend in the war, granted that all merchants might freely buy wool till Christmas, without Staples as within, provided they paid beyond the custom due one mark on the sack or 300 woolfells and 20/- on the last of hides (fn. 7) This levey was a loan, not a tax The merchants paying it were to receive from the customers letters patent, sealed with the cocket seal, acknowledging the receipt of the sums paid and binding the King to repay them at the stated term

This loan on wool, for which of course Isabella and Mortimer were responsible, was raised as early as July, 1327 (fn. 8) and as late as August 26th, 1329 (fn. 9) On previous occasions, though aliens had readily responded, native merchants, as in 1303, had refused to barter with the crown (fn. 10) Now both natives and aliens united to secure a common advantage at a price which did not differentiate between them The government's action in bargaining with English merchants was at least of doubtful legality, since the Confirmation of the Charters stipulated that common assent was necessary to raise the custom duties In bargaining with foreign merchants it could plead Edward I's precedent of 1303 when the crown and foreign merchants arranged things to their mutual advantage without the assent of the nation, which did not seem to regard the agreement as a contravention of the Confirmation of the Charters So too in this case the representatives of the nation made no protest in the Parliament which assembled in September Possibly the Commons, recognising the necessity which spurred the government on and conscious that their protests could not obviate the need of a grant, and might, if effective, convert indirect into direct taxation, preferred to countenance the less onerous form, even when it was levied illegally

A somewhat similar expedient was adopted in 1333 In that year Edward, requiring funds for another Scottish expedition, sought them where his guardian had done He appealed to the merchants for a grant, and set up Home Staples in the hope of prevailing upon them to make one (fn. 11) The merchants, however, excused themselves, but turned the King's request to good account by beating down the price of wool in the country to their own advantage and the people's loss In the otherwise abortive Parliament at York in January 1333 the King claimed to have gained the sanction of the prelates and magnates for the subsidy he was demanding from the merchants of ½ mark on the sack of wool exported by denizens and 10/- on the sack exported by aliens (fn. 12) It was to be levied on all the wool taken out of the country between February 2nd, 1332, and February 2nd, 1333, so that the order was in the main retrospective, and the collectors of the subsidy had to be supplied with lists of the merchants who had exported wool since February 2nd, 1332, and the amount they had exported (fn. 13) As, however, it was complained that if the exaction were insisted upon wool would be sold in the country for a less price than it was wont, the King, with the consent of the Council and the merchants, on June 20th, 1333, recalled the order and issued instructions that the money which had been collected in the meantime should be restored to the merchants (fn. 14) But before ordering the cessation of this levy Edward had induced the merchants to consent to another of 10/- on the sack, to be paid by denizens and aliens alike on all wool exported between May 14th, 1333, and May 14th, 1334 (fn. 15) This charge continued to be levied after the latter date, (fn. 16) but it was extremely unpopular among members of the merchant class, some of whom kept their wares in the kingdom to avoid payment, (fn. 17) whilst others flatly refused to pay (fn. 18) Nor did it recommend itself to the nation The Parliament which met at Westminster in September, 1334, shewed the King that the people were much damaged by the charge which the merchants had arranged to pay, and on September 21st it was recalled by royal ordinance (fn. 19)

When war with France became imminent financial problems again commanded the King's attention He had an army to equip and maintain, and numerous inefficient but costly allies to subsidise It would have been quite impossible to have maintained the struggle with France on the old feudal revenues of the crown and the proceeds of the Customs, even had his exchequer not been drained by his troublesome friends, who were more intent on seeking pay than on fighting Under the circumstances this could not be dreamt of The King's extraordinary sources of income were limited in number and in productiveness By Commissions of Array and the exercise of his unpopular right of Pre-emption of Victuals, he might hope to raise and equip for a short period a fighting force of doubtful loyalty By tallaging his demesne and borrowing from foreign bankers and even foreign princes and sometimes English merchants, he might scrape together sufficient money to silence his clamorous allies for a little while But from none of these sources could he hope to maintain a protracted and costly war, not even from a combination of all The endurance of the country was even more limited than its resources, and though a popular war might for a time induce the people to acquiesce in the King's arbitrary financial expedients, the most dazzling successes could not secure their consent throughout a lengthy period Nor could the bankers of his day lend large sums for an indefinite period Great as had been the advance in the power of credit, a much greater was needed before a King could sustain a protracted war on his success as a borrower

From one source and one alone could the King hope to carry on the struggle All wars are ultimately paid for by the products of the countries waging them England at this time produced annually great quantities of wool of good quality, for which she found a ready market in parts beyond the sea This was Edward's only spring of hope to secure the goodwill of the merchants, and acting through their agency and on their advice to manipulate the wool trade in such a manner that it might subserve his financial interests and supplement his ordinary sources of revenue From this date down to the Treaty of Calais these devices take a conspicuous place in the financial history of the country, and merchants consequently acquire unprecedented importance, and even seem likely at times to form a separate estate of the realm

In 1336, when war was pending, Edward sought money and allies A Parliament summoned to Westminster in March granted a 1 / 10th and a 1 / 15th (fn. 20) But the King, fully alive to the fact that the magnitude of his schemes was out of all proportion to the supplies voted, endeavoured to supplement them from the most promising source-wool He had frequent consultations with the merchants Thus on May 8th London and 21 other cities were ordered to elect 4 merchants each, to meet the King at Oxford on May 27th (fn. 21) On June 1st 105 were summoned to Northampton for June 28th (fn. 22) In August the export of wool was forbidden by royal letters, doubtless at the merchants' instigation, (fn. 23) and on September 1st 4 merchants of London and 37 others were directed to meet at Nottingham on September 23rd (fn. 24)

What this assembly did, and what Parliament which, according to Stubbs, sat at the same time did, has long been uncertain Stubbs says that Parliament granted a 1 / 10th and a 1 / 15th, (fn. 25) and that in addition it voted a subsidy of 40/- the sack from denizens and 60/- from aliens (fn. 26) But the Rolls of Parliament make no mention of such grants, and the Calendar of Patent Rolls always refers to the 1 / 10th and 1 / 15th having been granted in the Great Council at Nottingham Knighton (fn. 27) and the Scalacronica, however, support Stubbs' view of the grant of a subsidy from wool The Scalacronica distinctly says that the duty was granted for a time, and that it was kept on afterwards If a Parliament actually met at Nottingham this is quite possible (fn. 28) The King certainly acted illegally in some way or other, for the Parliament of 1339 declared that he was levying a maletote which it had never sanctioned (fn. 29) Either then he must have continued the subsidy after the expiration of the term of its grant by Parliament, as the Scalacronica alleges, or he must have levied it in the first instance without Parliamentary sanction Sir James Ramsay declares that an assembly of merchants granted a war tax of 40/- from natives and 60/- from foreigners for 1½ years, but the authorities he cites,-Knighton and the Scalacronica-do not support this view (fn. 30) Neither mentions the time limit of 1½ years, and both infer that Parliament, not the merchants, made the grant There can be no doubt that the King asked the great Council or Parliament which met at Nottingham for a subsidy, since on May 28th he found it necessary to issue a proclamation to stifle a current rumour that he intended to take 20/- from every sack of wool, (fn. 31) and he 'encouraged the Commons to make such a grant by fixing minimum prices below which no wool could be bought Parliament may in return for this concession have granted a 40/- subsidy for a limited time, as the chroniclers assert, but the Patent and Close Rolls contain no reference to it Nor do they make any mention of the levy of a grant of 40/- the sack from natives and 60/- the sack from aliens made according to Sir James Ramsay by some assembly or other on Nov 12th, 1337 (fn. 32) They prove conclusively, however, that the merchants assembled at Nottingham granted the King a subsidy of 20/the sack, (fn. 33) and it would seem as if in addition to the gift of the subsidy the merchants promised to make the King a loan of 20/- on the sack if his necessity required it (fn. 34) The subsidy was being collected as early as Sept 26th, 1336, (fn. 35) and as late as March 8th, 1338, (fn. 36) in which year the 20/- rate was increased to 40/- (fn. 37) The loan of 20/-, after being occasionally exacted from alien merchants during the summer of 1337 was demanded by an order issued on Oct 15th, 1337 of all such merchants (fn. 38)

The yield of the 20/- subsidy by the merchants in the Great Council of Nottingham, coupled with the grant of a 1 / 10th and a 1 / 15th, did not satisfy the King, and in the summer of 1337 he laid hands on all the wool in the kingdom by an arrangement with the merchants (fn. 39) The King arrogated to himself the sole right of buying wool in the kingdom and of exporting it out of the kingdom, hoping apparently to use his monopoly to force up prices The profits of the export trade in wool, which had hitherto made the fortunes of families like the Poles, were to provide the English King with funds for war The purchase and the sale of the wool, however, was to be effected by those who were experienced in the business At the King's command a number of merchants were assembled The wool of the different counties was priced, and in each case a group of merchants was told off to make the purchase, the whole body making themselves responsible for the sale and for the payment to the King of £200,000 in instalments as the wool was sold (fn. 40)

The order for the purchase of wool seems, despite exceptions in favour of the King's merchants of the society of Bardi and Peruzzi, to have been executed with great strictness (fn. 41) Exemptions were also granted to the Chancellor and Justiciar of Ireland. (fn. 42) The Chancellor turned his privilege to good account by sheltering the wool of others who were less fortunate, but the offence was soon detected and punished (fn. 43) Even the affection of the King towards the Count of Hainault by reason of which he granted permission to the count's merchants to buy up all manner of goods in the realm was not strong enough to induce him to include wool amongst them (fn. 44) The King was keenly alive to the dangers of evasion Collectors of wool were commissioned to seize as forfeit to the King all the wool of "those who, not regarding the safety of the realm, have removed or concealed their wool" They were enjoined to certify the King from time to time the names of those who had so removed or concealed their wool, and these he would cause to be punished as they deserved. (fn. 45) Sheriffs were ordered to make proclamation directing people to show their wool without dissimulation on pain of forfeiture, and to allow purchase to be made (fn. 46) In addition special commissioners were appointed to scrutinise all wool sent abroad, to confiscate, sell and give to the King the proceeds of all wool so found, not the King's, and to arrest the offenders (fn. 47)

The wool, estimated at 30,000 sacks, was to be sent in charge of Henry Burghersh, Bishop of Lincoln, and the Earls of Northampton and Suffolk with many men at arms, archers, and Welshmen into Brabant (fn. 48) Men and ships were com mandeered for its transport Throughout the summer and autumn they lay idle in the Thames and in ports of the South east, to the dislocation of trade and the detriment of the country (fn. 49) The fleet sailed about the Feast of All Saints (Nov 1), but not with the full complement of wool (fn. 50) The total amount of the country's wool would probably amount to 40,000 sacks, (fn. 51) the fleet carried only 10,000 (fn. 52)

The purveyance of wool in 1337 was followed by a legal grant of wool in 1338 The King's departure had now been decided on, and was only delayed by financial considerations. A Parliament held at Westminster in February granted him half the wool of the kingdom, amounting to 20,000 sacks, to be raised in the following summer from clergy and laity alike, notwithstanding that the clergy had not been summoned, and were only represented by a few prelates, who according to Murimuth, were unwilling to defend the interests of their order (fn. 53) Arguing that there should be no taxation without representation, the clergy refused to supply the wool voted in their absence For this reason Convocation was summoned to meet at London It assembled there on October 1, and granted a 1 / 10th for a third year beyond the 2 / 10ths originally promised, and agreed to pay the 1 / 10th for the ensuing year sooner than had been arranged This aid was accepted by the King as a substitute for wool (fn. 54) Nevertheless, collectors continued to take wool from clergy, and the King had to issue frequent orders to them to de-arrest such wool (fn. 55)

The clergy were not the only people whose wool escaped confiscation Numerous licenses were granted chiefly to foreign merchants to export wool bought previous to the grant of Parliament Thus the merchants of Almam, the houses of Bardi and Peruzzi, the Duke of Brabant's bankers, the Pope and Cardinals were granted exemptions (fn. 56) Political and diplomatic reasons explain these exceptions to the general order The Duke of Brabant was Edward's ally the Pope and Cardinals were mediators between him and the King of France, besides commanding respect and immunity by reason of their exalted station, while the Bardi and the Peruzzi had paid large sums of money at the King's request to his confederates beyond the sea, in default of wool not sent at the proper time Charitable motives also induced the King to make exception in the case of slenderly endowed hospitals (fn. 57)

It was not the intention of Parliament to make the King a free gift of 20,000 sacks of wool in addition to the 1 / 10th and 1 / 15th they had already voted him in the autumn of 1337 The grant was an alternative, not an additional, method of taxation, a device for enabling the King to receive the benefit of taxes before they had been actually raised Owing to the stoppage of trade and the drain of taxation in the preceding years there was plenty of wool but little money in the kingdom (fn. 58) Ordinarily, taxes took a considerable time to realise The disturbed nature of the time would increase the delay Mainly to meet the King's urgent necessity, which could brook no delay, partly perhaps to relieve the country of wool which was rapidly deteriorating, an arrangement was improvised which would, without involving the country in extra taxation, provide the King with funds before the taxes voted had been collected The wool was not to be a tax paid by the entire nation, but a loan to the King made solely by the wool-growing classes

All who had more than one sack of wool were to keep half for themselves and lend on good security the other half of the previous year to the King up to 30,000 sacks In the meantime they were to be free from all other exactions These conditions were not observed Wool was taken from men who had less than one sack It was taken from the present as well as from the previous year's portion, and collectors did not confine their demands to owners of wool They com pelled those who had no wool to purchase it from those who had and to hand over a quantity which not only supplied the King's requirements but provided in addition a convenient portion for themselves (fn. 58)

The temper of the country was inflamed by the extortions of the collectors it was further exasperated by an order issued by the King on March 10th for bidding the exportation of wool On that date all sheriffs were ordered to make proclamation in all places they thought fit "that no merchant, native or foreign, through himself or another, buy wool on any pretext whatever henceforth or take it to foreign parts or cause it to be taken there openly or secretly without special warrant until all our wools are collected" Anyone acting contrary to this proclamation without such warrant was to incur forfeiture, and sheriffs were ordered to send from time to time in chancery the names of merchants thus buying wool, who they were, and the quantity thus forfeited (fn. 59) This restriction was keenly resented by the nation The King had left the people half their wool, but this was of little avail when they could neither sell nor export it Moreover, it was a flagrant violation of the original compact made between the King and the people's representatives. They had granted him half the wool of the kingdom on the express understanding that they could do as they liked with the other half (fn. 60) Yet within a month of giving this undertaking the King, finding the free sale and export of wool would interfere with the collection of his grant, withdrew it without apparently consulting the other parties to the transaction

Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that the collection of wool proved a difficult business The country was in an ugly temper on account of the previous year's arbitrary exactions and little disposed to endure a repetition. Evasions were more frequent, (fn. 61) and detection more resented. Merchants, in defiance of the King's orders, exported wool in butter-tubs and cheese-boxes (fn. 62) Concealment was more widespread, and its discovery sometimes led to disorder, as at Beverley, where the sheriff of York, when he tried to make inquisition concerning the concealment of wool, was assaulted and prevented (fn. 63) Thus it is not surprising that on the King's departure, in spite of his urgent orders, only 3,000 sacks out of the 20,000 voted had been collected Edward, who was staying at the manor of Walton, within easy reach of the port of embarkation, chafing at his enforced idleness, occupied his leisure in drafting a comprehensive list of ordinances These, headed by a command that he should use all possible expedition in the collection of the wool, he forwarded to the Chancellor on July 12th, ordering him to read them before the council and secure their observance Among them were many useful provisions such as the creation of machinery for the payment of royal debts, the withdrawal of all exemptions from the payment of custom dues, 1 / 10ths and 1 / 15ths, &c, the establishment of an annual term of office for sheriffs, the appointment of customers by the people of the town, and of controllers by the full county court But none of them was calculated to facilitate appreciably the collection of the wool, for in none of them was there any trace of an attempt to set up more efficient machinery of collection (fn. 64)

Edward sailed for France on the 16th of July, and the task of expediting the collection devolved upon the regent, Edward's eight year old son, the Duke of Cornwall, and his council On the day of his departure the King issued an urgent command to each sheriff to cause four of the most discreet and richest merchants of his bailiwick, within liberty or without, to be at Northampton on August 3rd, in order to treat with the guardian of the realm, the Chancellor and others of the Council on matters most closely touching the affairs of the King and kingdom (fn. 65) In the meantime an ordinance was issued by the warden of the realm and the Council on July 27th ordering that all wool in the ports of London, Sandwich, Ipswich, Lynn, Boston, Kingston-upon-Hull and Newcastle on Tyne should be brought to the port of Great Yarmouth before August 25, or at the latest by August 25, from whence it was to be dispatched to foreign parts For this purpose the sheriffs and collectors of customs in each of the aforesaid ports were ordered to arrest as many ships as should be needed to take all the wool in port first to Great Yarmouth and then to parts beyond the sea To man the ships they were to choose enough discreet and honest men (fn. 66) The ordinance contains the first documentary evidence of a recognition on the part of the central authority that special officials were needed to cope with this special affair Robert Howell and Robert Watford were appointed to supervise all wool in each port, to hasten the collection and the shipping of the wool, and for this purpose were empowered to commandeer the necessary ships and to impress the necessary men They were accorded full powers to choose whomsoever they would to assist them or to act as their deputies provided they retained all responsibility, as well as to commit to prison during royal pleasure all who hindered them All sheriffs, admirals, ministers, lords, masters and mariners of ships were strictly charged to assist them and their deputies and assistants in all things as far as in them lay, by counsel and help whenever and however they were requested by order of the council or by the above executors (fn. 67)

But the King, who was now spending money with a lavish hand in sumptuous entertainments to dazzle his allies, and compromising himself for the future by equally lavish promises, to retain them, was not content to entrust the council at home with such urgent business as the replenishing of his depleted treasury On August 7 he sent a missive (fn. 68) to John Waweyn, William of Kingstown and Thomas of Baddeby, declaring that putting his trust in the grant of wool, he had made promises of payment to his allies The wool had not come in quickly, but at the urgent request of the prelates and magnates he had crossed the sea hoping to find it at Antwerp on his arrival there Only 2,500 sacks were, however, awaiting him, which were not sufficient either to satisfy his allies or to meet his immediate necessities Unless the residue came quickly he would be in great peril But he had confidence in the fidelity and foresight of the merchants, and to them he entrusted the task of collecting the wool in the counties and especially the residue of the amount of wool granted They were thus allotted the double task of collecting the outstanding portion of the loan, and at the same time of buying up the supply of wool still remaining in the counties Indentures were to be made, containing the amount of wool taken, the price to be paid, and the names of the persons from whom it was taken, and sent to chancery Letters obligatory containing the amount to be paid were to be given to all those from whom wool was taken The wool so collected was to be sent to Antwerp with all speed Sheriffs were ordered to provide carriage for the wool at the ports as well as canvas for sacks from the exits of the shire and the collectors of customs were to pay the mariners engaged in the transport of wool out of the customs of the ports (fn. 69)

This common and necessary measure, the appointment of collectors directly responsible to the central authority, the King and his Council each supplemented by other measures, the Council concerning itself with raising the remainder of the Parliamentary grant, the King with the seizure of all the additional wool that could be found in the country (fn. 70) On August 1 the Council at Northampton ordained that the 17,500 sacks of wool remaining to be levied of the 20,000 granted by Parliament should be collected after the rate of a 1 / 15th "to wit from every 20/- of the said 1 / 15th (fn. 71) 10 stones of wool, each stone being 14lbs and from more or less in proportion" Those who had no wool might pay in money Thus London acquitted itself of wool by paying 1,000 marks and York by the payment of £108 (fn. 72)

This regulation was a belated attempt to systematise a levy, the unsystematic character (fn. 73) of which had previously excited great annoyance and caused considerable oppression because of the scope it afforded for extortion on the part of the collectors, and as such it would be welcomed by those wool owners who had not yet handed over half their wool But it marks the abandonment of the King's original intention and the partial failure of the scheme for drawing upon the nation's taxes before they had been collected By his original plan the King had hoped to accomplish two things to obtain (1) a much needed supply of ready money a considerable time before the taxes on which he was absolutely dependent had been collected, (2) monopoly profits The first of these objects had not been realised, though the terms of the King's bargain with the Bardi and the Peruzzi, who were to dispose of the wool, saved him from complete disappointment (fn. 74) The second object remained for him to achieve The first step to its accomplishment was the prohibition of exportation which was taken on March 10th (fn. 75) Apparently the King hoped that all his wool would be collected by August 1st, for early in 1338 he contemplated allowing exportation of wool left in the merchants' hands after his own portion had been received, between that date and September 29th (fn. 76) But all such exportation was to be subject to a payment of 40/- subsidy beyond the ancient custom Thus a considerable margin of profit was still secured to the King even when the prohibition of expoitation was removed Merchants were anxious to export even at this rate, and because of their urgent request the King granted that on declaring the goods to be their own and promising to take them to lands in the King's friendship, they might after October 1st export woolfells and lasts of hides on payment of the custom and subsidy (fn. 77) It was not until March, 1339, that they were allowed, for a similar payment and on promising to take their merchandise to the staple at Antwerp, to export sacks of wool (fn. 78)

The King, as we have seen, made arrangements for the purchase of all the wool that could be found in the country It is evident that the conviction of the inadequacy of Parliament's liberal grant, strictly collected, for his increasing needs was already growing upon the King when in direct contravention of the spirit and the letter of that grant (fn. 79) he determined to supplement it by exercising his royal right of purveyance to seize what additional wool might be found in the counties True in decreeing that the price fixed by Parliament should be the indenture price, (fn. 80) he showed some deference to Parliamentary authority, but the undoubted object of this move was to disguise the real nature of his act and to identify the purveyance with the grant In all probability the price arranged was of slight significance The letters obligatory given to the owners of wool would probably be as valueless as the order that the collectors of custom should pay the mariners' wages With the chief source of customs revenue ceasing to yield, owing to the King's embargo, and with practically the whole native trading fleet commandeered for royal purposes, trading operations could be neither extensive nor productive of much custom revenue Certainly they could not have borne so heavy a charge as to pay for the transport of the whole annual supply of wool, probably about 40,000 sacks, from the various ports to a common centre and from that centre to a de/?/ot abroad

But there was little likelihood of the customers being requested to meet so heavy a demand Whether through the opposition and evasion of the owners of wool or through the remissness of officials or the inadequacy of the machinery of collection or through a combination of all these circumstances, certain it is that the collection of wool made very slow progress The King's repeated injunctions to officials and his frequent appointment of officers to supervise those he had set to watch over others indicate that he was not convinced of the unimpeachable integrity of his officials or of their zeal and devotion Thus, on August 20th he wrote to Robert Chigwell, his chosen clerk, appointing him to accelerate the collection of wool and to stimulate John of Waweyn, William of Kingstown and Thomas of Baddeby, whom he had but a fortnight before appointed to stimulate others (fn. 81) The accompanying order that if the 20,000 sacks were not yet collected Robert should take all wool wherever he found it, within liberty or without, from clergy as from laymen, sparing none, suggests that the King was driven to desperation by his financial difficulties, and that he was not prepared to respect the rights of property where his interests were concerned He probably calculated that so drastic a measure would coerce the recalcitrant and expedite the collection

The collection of the wool continued throughout the winter 1338-9 A great fleet was gathered at Harwich for its transport Contrary winds delayed its departure, and after the winds a fear of the galleys which prompted those in charge to await the arrival of more ships that they might cross in safety (fn. 82) The date of the sailing cannot be fixed with certainty, but there can be no doubt that the fleet had left port before March 24th, 1339, on which day the French attacked Harwich, burning the town (fn. 83) Had the wool so laboriously collected been seized or destroyed some notice of such a catastrophe would certainly have appeared in the chronicles Nor is it probable that any descent would be made on the town in the presence of such a great fleet as had been collected for the transport of the wool

The delay experienced in the collection of the wool, while it embarrassed the King was still more embarrassing to the merchants of the societies of the Bardi and the Peruzzi As early as March 11, 1338, i e, shortly after the grant in the February Parliament, the King had bargained with them concerning the distribution of the 20,000 sacks voted, (fn. 84) and this arrangement was ratified on May 7th with slight modification (fn. 85) The whole of it, however, was thrown out of gear by the difficulties of collection Nevertheless, in spite of his failure to carry out the terms of the agreement, the King achieved the result he had in view in striking the bargain He obtained a supply of ready money for his passage, and unscrupulously threw all the burden of the loss which the delay in collection occasioned on other shoulders The merchants contracted to lend the King £15,000 (fn. 86) for his passage, and on the passage of the first levies of the wool a further £20,000 Thus, instead of being compelled to delay his departure until the wool had been collected and sold, the arrangement enabled Edward to sail long before the wool had been gathered The proceeds of the sale of the wool were to be employed not in meeting the King's necessities but in paying past debts, and thus encouraging his creditors to advance further sums to meet his future needs As additional security Edward granted the merchants £30,000 of the second year of the 1 / 10th and 1 / 15th voted by the clergy and laity for 3 years To safeguard the King's interest one or two controllers were to check the amounts of wool received by the Bardi and the Peruzzi (fn. 87)

While Edward was thus attempting to meet old debts he was rapidly incurring fresh ones He exhausted his resources in maintaining an army in idleness, in subsidising numerous costly allies, in splendid entertainments in Brabant and in the pompous pageantry of Coblenz (fn. 88) It was again necessary to summon Parliament and to solicit an aid

In October, 1339, Parliament met at Westminster in a determined but not unsympathetic spirit It readily conceded the necessity of a grant, but showed a disposition to insist on conditions The Lords agreed to pay a 1 / 10th for 2 years, but expressed a wish that the maletote might be entirely abated and only the old custom taken, and that an Act of Parliament might be passed forbidding the raising of such an aid in the future (fn. 89) The Commons adopted a similar attitude They admitted the King required a liberal aid, but declared that without the consent of their constituents they could not venture to make one They petitioned that two knights from each shire be summoned to the next Parliament to represent the Commons, and that no sheriff nor royal officer should be eligible Like the magnates they prayed for the removal of the maletote, and added a number of other points on which they required redress (fn. 90) Their demand for a new election was conceded, and a new Parliament met on Jan 20th, 1340

Again the Commons showed little disposition to make a grant After deliberating for a month they offered the King 30,000 sacks of wool conditional on his granting the petitions they presented, (fn. 91) and it was only under considerable pressure from the magnates and after long negotiation that they decided to raise immediately 2,500 sacks as part of the 30,000 in case their demands were granted or as a free gift in case they were refused (fn. 92) These demands were regarded as so important as to require the King's personal consideration He returned to England on Feb 21st, met a new Parliament on March 29th, and received a grant The prelates, barons and knights of the shire voted a tax in kind of the ninth sheaf, fleece, and lamb, the towns and boroughs a 19th; of their goods, and the rest of the nation a 1 / 15th (fn. 93) There was no mention of the conditional offer of the Commons in the previous Parliament of 30,000 sacks of wool

In return for this grant the King accepted the petitions of the Commons, and a Committee of judges, barons, prelates and 12 knights and 6 citizens and burgesses chosen by the Commons was appointed to review them and to turn into statute form such as were to become law This committee drafted four important statutes covering a wide range Two of these were of first rate importance in the history of wool taxation

The Commons had petitioned that the King would bind himself by law never to take more than ½ mark customs on the sack of wool or 300 woolfells But the King "prayed the Prelates, Earls, Barons and all the Commonalty for the great business he had on hand that they would grant him some aid upon wool, woolfells and other merchandise to endure for a small season," and in response to this request Parliament voted him a subsidy of 40/- to be taken on every sack of wool or 300 woolfells exported between Easter, 1340, and Pentecost, 1341 (fn. 94) To procure this temporary grant of a subsidy the King had to renounce his right ever to take more than the customary ½ mark on the sack without the consent of Parliament Two statutes were enacted, both of which established that for the future "the King nor his heirs shall not demand, assess, nor take nor suffer to be taken more custom of a sack of wool of any Englishman but ½ mark only" "And the King hath promised in the presence of the Prelates, Earls, Barons, and others in his Parliament no more to charge, set or assess upon the Commons but in the manner as afore is said" (fn. 95) "In the same manner the Prelates, Earls and Barons have promised lawfully, as much as in them is, that they shall procure the King as much as they may to hold the same and that they shall in no wise assent to the contrary if it be not by the assent of the Prelates, Earls, Barons and Commons of the realm and that in full Parliament" (fn. 96)

But not only did the King abandon the special power he had been claiming and exercising of taxing wool without Parliament's consent so far as it affected Englishmen (fn. 97) He surrendered any general right he might possess to impose any form of taxation save that sanctioned by Parliament The second of the statutes of 1340 enacted that henceforth no charge nor aid was to be made but by the common assent of the prelates, earls, barons and other great men and commons of the realm and that in Parliament To give greater security to the statute and "to cause all to eschew counsel to the contrary" the prelates promised to give sentence upon all who offended against it (fn. 98)

The Commons had won a great victory They had vindicated their right to be consulted in the raising of supplies, whether by direct or indirect taxation Assemblies of merchants were henceforth to be deprived of their great and growing importance by the stipulation that assent to taxation was to be given in full Parliament These statutes thus cleared up the vagueness of the Confirmation of the Charters on this all important point, for since that great statute had not defined how common assent to taxation was to be given, it had been possible for the King to argue that in fixing taxation in consultation with the merchants he was acting not merely within but according to law Such methods would in future be frankly illegal The King was no longer left to judge how common assent to taxation could best be obtained Nevertheless, the Commons were at the beginning rather than at the end of their struggle The law, it is true, had been explicitly and unmistakably placed on their side by the statutes of 1340, but the King still possessed an inexhaustible treasury of evasion upon which he drew liberally, as the history of the next decade shows

Before many months had elapsed the financial arrangements made by the March Parliament had had to be modified because of the King's urgent necessity In July another Parliament was considering the vending of the 19th when its deliberations were interrupted by the Earls of Arundel and Gloucester and William Trussel, messengers from the King, bearing letters mentioning his recent victory, and making plain his dire need unless he were speedily supplied with ready money (fn. 99) It was recognised that the 19th was inadequate to meet the requirements of the situation, and after the various alternatives had been canvassed it was decided that a number of sacks of wool must immediately be secured and sold to merchants who would be prepared to advance loans upon them The lords who were present offered their wool, and also decided to commandeer the wool of those who were absent (fn. 100) Finally it was agreed that 20,000 sacks of wool should be raised in the kingdom at a price formerly arranged at Nottingham and sold at a mark less than the Nottingham price to merchants, who were to export it, paying custom and subsidy and the price of their contingent to the King in parts beyond the sea

The conditions of the Commons leave no doubt as to their intention in making the grant of wool It was not to be an additional but an alternative form of taxation The ninths for two years granted in the previous Parliament were both to be collected, but only the ninth of the first year was to be paid direct into the royal treasury The yield of the ninth of the second year was to be reserved as a fund for the payment of those who had sold wool to the merchants for the King's use, and no portion of it was to reach the treasury until all obligations had been discharged (fn. 101)

It is hardly surprising that this arrangement broke down. Some of the wool was levied and paid for out of the ninth of the second year, but a large portion was never raised (fn. 102) The country opposed the levy, as at Boston, where the people refused to sell wool, although they had a great quantity and locked it up in houses, (fn. 103) and at Nottingham, where a number of people, after selling their wool, plundered the houses in which it had been lodged and carried it off The merchants, too, failed to live up to their contracts They delayed making the stipulated payments, (fn. 105) and discharged their obligations so perfunctorily (fn. 106) that in April, 1341, the King, finding the greater part of the 20,000 sacks still unlevied, remodelled the arrangement, substituting open trade for the monopoly venture (fn. 107)

The failure of the 1340 arrangement is apparent in the King's speech to the Parliament which met in April, 1341.

In it he complained that the supplies voted him by the Commons had been badly spent by his ministers, and that he had not profited by them as fully as he ought He requested the members to consider how he could most rapidly and profitably be aided by the ninth of the first and second years which had been voted but not yet fully collected (fn. 108) In return for the establishment of a number of statutes and on certain stated conditions Parliament granted that instead of the ninth of the second year the King might raise 30,000 sacks of wool from the country, 20,000 in 1341 and 10,000 in 1342 (fn. 109) The grant was a substitute for the ninth of the second year which now ceased to be raised (fn. 110) But it was supplementary, not alternative, to the grant of 20,000 sacks (fn. 111) in the previous year, for it was decided to allow the King to pass across the sea before September 29th what remained of the 20,000 sacks, until which date all other exportation of new wool was forbidden under heavy penalties Old wool, however, could be exported on the payment of a 40/- subsidy (fn. 112)

The two grants, of 20,000 sacks in 1340 and 30,000 sacks in 1341, were thus entirely different in character The 20,000 sacks voted in 1340 were a loan to the King for which the lenders were to be paid from the nation's taxes, and the Parliament of 1341 insisted as a condition of a further grant that all such payments should be duly made (fn. 113) But the grant of the 30,000 sacks in 1341 was a tax in wool The Bishop of Chester, the Lord of Wake and Robert de Sadyngton, aided by men who had intimate knowledge of the different counties, apportioned their varying contributions according to their assessment for the ninth or fifteenth (fn. 114) All who were liable for the ninth were now ordered to pay the assessment of wool under penalty of a heavy fine (fn. 115) The Patent and Close Rolls contain many interesting records of the assessments The difficulty of collecting 20,000 sacks of wool becomes intelligible when the small amount of many of the individual contributions is noted The following are summaries of a few of the recorded assessments A group of twelve people in Cumber land, among them the Prior of Carlisle and the Prior of Wederhale, were assessed at amounts varying from 1 sack, paid by 5 people, to 5 stones paid by 2 The total assessment of the dozen amounted to 5 sacks and 82 stones, valued at £25 16s 1½d (fn. 116) A group of Oxford wool growers had much lower assessments Twenty-two people were called upon to furnish together 26 stones 16lbs of wool, valued at £5 17s 8d, the highest individual amount demanded being 6 stones 7lbs and the lowest 4lbs Eleven of the 22 paid less than 1 stone (fn. 117) Very similar was the assessment of 27 other people of the same county, who were together required to provide 1 sack 23 stones 11lbs of wool, valued at £11 9s 4d In this case 5 stones was the highest and 7lbs the lowest individual assessment (fn. 118) Much higher assessments are recorded for the County of Salop Here out of 42 people, among them the Earl of Arundel, who was assessed at 1 sack, 14 people paid 1 sack or more, 20 paid ½ sack or more, whilst of the other assessments the highest was 5 sacks 1½ quarters 32lbs, and the lowest 2½ stones (fn. 119)

Parliament, which had made arrangements for these assessments, also made arrangements for their collection It commanded all who had wool to sell in order to make possible the raising of the grant, and decreed that collectors of wool should be worthy men of the same county chosen in Parliament and not to be changed by any order (fn. 120) Further, it fixed the weight of a sack of wool at 26 stones, each stone to contain 14lbs, and stipulated that in every county 2 persons should be appointed to hear and decide the suits of those who complained of the conduct of the collectors (fn. 121) and receivers, while to assist the collectors of the tax the exportation of new wool was forbidden between May 20th and Sept 29th, (fn. 122) after which date exportation was to be free on payment of the old custom The machinery for disposing of the wool was similar to that employed in 1340

This Parliamentary grant of 30,000 sacks of wool was meant to serve a double purpose With it the King not only hoped to raise supplies for future campaigns but to pay debts contracted in the past He was deeply involved with his Flemish allies, so deeply that he could only obtain their consent to his departure to meet Parliament in February, 1340, by pledging himself to return before Michaelmas day and by leaving as hostages his queen, his two sons and two earls (fn. 123) Later in the year, when, after his return to Flanders and the conclusion of the treaty of Esplechin, he wished to cross to England to wreak vengeance on the officials on whose remissness he blamed the non-appearance of the wool, he was reduced to the undignified expedient of running away (fn. 124) He sought to appease the wrath of his allies on account of his disappearance and his debts by assigning them wool according to the magnitude of their claims To the "good men of the town of Ypres," with whom Edward was involved to the extent of £7,000, he sent 700 sacks of wool, declaring each sack to be worth £10 (fn. 125) To the Duke of Gelderland he assigned 1,030 sacks, (fn. 126) to the Duke of Brabant 3,300 (fn. 127) Even the King's captains had to engage in commercial transactions before they could draw their pay Thus Sir Walter Manny was assigned 200 sacks in lieu of wages, and (fn. 128) Edward Montague 12 sacks for wages amounting to £76 for maintaining 20 men at arms, 12 armati, and 12 archers with himself as banneret for 40 days (fn. 129)

But it was easier to procure the assignment than the wool The country was by this time becoming expert in all the arts of evasion and deceit Despite the King's compliance with Parliament's petition for the appointment of two trustworthy men in every shire to settle disputes that might arise, (fn. 130) disorder and disaffection everywhere characterised the collection The grant of the Duke of Gelderland was openly refused (fn. 131) That this evasion was no local phenomenon is illustrated by the case of the Duke of Brabant's grant In July, 1341, he was assigned 3,300 sacks to be collected from the counties Warwick, Nottingham, Suffolk, Norfolk and Kent In October not a single sack had been raised (fn. 132) The King's authority was set at nought his agents were defied In Worcester inferior wool was foisted on the collectors, who found they could not obtain for it the price covenanted with the King (fn. 133) In Norfolk and Lincoln there was open violence In the latter county the wool was locked up in houses that were eventually stormed (fn. 134) in the former the arrest of wool granted to the King's allies in return for a £30,000 debt was broken (fn. 135) In Norfolk, Suffolk, Warwick, Nottingham and many other counties serjeants at arms were appointed (fn. 136) Smuggling flourished on a grand scale, despite the frequent appointment of commissions to suppress it and the institution of special officials to patrol the coast both at home and abroad Threats of confiscation and liberal offers to share the spoil with diligent officials alike failed to check it (fn. 137)

The complaints were not all on one side In many counties the temper of the people was sorely tried by the unscrupulous methods of the collectors In their own interests they often tampered with the weights both during and after collection Frauds were detected and the offenders displaced, as in the county of Sussex, where the collectors were found abstracting two cloves from each sack after collection, (fn. 138) and in Salop, where the collectors used a fraudulent weight (fn. 139) The King soon realised that the collectors were more intent on their own interests than on his On July 1st he issued a sharp reprimand to all takers and purveyors of wool In it he declared his belief that they were lukewarm and negligent in the business, and commanded them on pain of forfeiture of all they possessed to lay aside everything else and to attend to the collection of the wool They were empowered to appoint deputies and to arrest and imprison anyone who was remiss, to seize their lands and retain them until the King gave other orders (fn. 140)

Notwithstanding this sharp rebuke, the King deemed it necessary later in the year to appoint assistants to safeguard his interests in the counties of Oxford, Hereford, Essex, Sussex, Somerset, Dorset, Suffolk, Norfolk and Kent (fn. 141)

But the King's actions were not calculated to pacify the country He violated the solemn pledges given to the Commons, and with the consent of the merchants carried through measures which were only legal when confirmed by Parliament The conflict between Parliament and the merchants, which we have seen foreshadowed on a previous occasion, now seriously began The party which we may call the constitutional party, though Parliament did not always voice its views, opposed and tried to beat down the party of the prerogative backed by the merchants

The Parliament of 1340 had granted the King a subsidy of 40/- on each sack of wool exported, to run from April 16th, 1340, to June 4th, 1341 (fn. 142) This grant the King, alleging the consent of certain merchants and others, extended in two ways (1) Before the expiration of the term of its legal grant he raised the rate of the subsidy from 40/- to 20/- (2) After the expiration of the term of its legal grant he made arrangements for collecting a maletote in place of the subsidy

(1) The first exaction was accompanied by an apparent concession-the partial withdrawal of the monopoly scheme and the resumption of open trade The King's monopoly schemes had all the same disadvantage that they diminished considerably the yield of the customs, one of his most profitable sources of income The characteristic feature of Edward's interference with the wool trade was the control of half the trade by the King and the entire suspension of the other half during the period of royal control Even supposing that Edward had gathered the full complement of his wool, which he never did, this would have involved the loss of half the customs revenue With the failure of the monopoly schemes the loss was much greater Now the failure of the 1340 scheme was complete The two merchants who alone kept their contracts with the King and made the stipulated payments only managed to lay hands on 35 sacks of wool out of 600 sacks sold to them

When the failure of the monopoly scheme became apparent the King began to devise other means for making the subsidy profitable He hit on three different expedients One device was to authorise the exportation of feeble wool, twice shorn wool and "other wool called peltewolle, cobblewolle and wool of malemort," on condition that no wool of the better sort was mixed with it, that it was taken to lands in the King's friendship, and that 40/- was paid on each sack for custom and subsidy (fn. 143) A second device was to drive hard bargains with his creditors He granted them permission to export new wool on condition that they deducted for each sack exported 80/- in some cases, 70/- in others, from the amounts he owed them (fn. 144) His third device was to generalise this practice -to grant permission to export wool, up to 20,000 sacks, to all merchants instead of to a privileged few and to demand of them for the privilege 80/- instead of the legal subsidy of 40/This step the King, alleging the consent of certain merchants and others, took on April 1st, 1341 Exportation was to be made from one of the five ports, London. Southampton, Boston, Kingston upon Hull, Newcastle on Tyne, and the other wool ports were for the time closed down (fn. 145)

This scheme, which was to supply the Flemish weavers with much needed wool and the English King with much needed money, did not prosper The merchants, regarding the £4 subsidy as excessive and mindful that 40/- of it would automatically expire at Whitsuntide, delayed exportation in the hope that by waiting a couple of months they would be able to save £2 a sack on the shipment of their wool The King early detected their plan, and on April 8th he sternly commanded all merchants and others who had wool to export it or sell it before Ascension next so that he might receive the custom and subsidy on every sack All wool found in the hands of merchants or others after that date would be forfeit (fn. 146)

Although the Rolls of Parliament contain no record of it, it is probable that the Parliament which met on April 26th, 1341, protested against this disingenuous scheme for raising the customs rate without its consent, for on May 4th, i e, while Parliament was actually sitting, the scheme suffered further modification The ports which had been closed to the wool trade by the King's order of April 1st were now opened and the customs rate was dropped, not to the 40/- level which Parliament had authorised in 1340, but to 50/- (fn. 147)

(2) But in addition to exacting a larger subsidy than Parliament had granted the King continued to demand the payment of the subsidy when according to his agreement with Parliament he should only have taken the customary ½ mark The term of the legal grant of the subsidy expired on June 4th, 1341 (fn. 148) Meanwhile on May 20th, 1341, (fn. 149) the exportation of wool had again been forbidden, to facilitate the raising of the 30,000 sacks granted by Parliament, 20,000 of which were to be collected that year The merchants contracting to sell this wool, which was to be gathered and exported during the summer, i e, after the expiration of the term for which the 40/- subsidy had been granted, were only, it is true, to pay ½ mark for customs, but the high prices they undertook to pay for the wool included the subsidy which was not paid separately through the customs (fn. 150)

There were two other forms of exportation during 1341-2 in addition to that of the monopoly scheme-licensed exportation and the exportation of 100 sacks of wool which the King in his bargain with the merchants had reserved his right to pass from each of the 15 wool ports Hugh de Ulseby, Henry Goldbeter and Walter Prest, who were authorised to export 1,220 of these 1,500 sacks, had to pay a maletote of 43/4 a sack in addition to the custom of ½ mark, (fn. 151) while one of the King's creditors, John Beaumont, who exported 200 sacks, paid ½ mark customs on each sack and deducted 43/4, from the amount the King owed him, for each sack exported (fn. 152)

In the exportation which the King licensed he was able to make his own bargain with the merchants, and sums of varying amounts, free will offerings, as the King called them, (fn. 153) were exacted Sometimes these "free will offerings" amounted to 50/-, sometimes to 40/- (fn. 154) Sometimes they were paid wholly or in part at the Exchequer, (fn. 155) sometimes to the customers, but in one way or another and at one rate or another the King continued to exact a maletote down to the meeting of the merchant assembly on July 8th, 1342, when the proceeding was, after a fashion, regularised

The "community of merchants," which met the Council at Westminster on that date, agreed that all merchants, denizen and alien, and all others might freely buy wool in the kingdom, by arrangement with vendors but not below the Nottingham price, and take it to the Staple in Flanders, paying 40/- subsidy on the sack or 300 woolfells beyond the custom till Midsummer (June 24th), 1343 Anyone exporting without paying custom and subsidy was to be expelled from the community of merchants, and no merchant, denizen or alien, was to communicate with him even though he made redemption by forfeiture or obtained remission or pardon (fn. 156)

The Parliament of 1343 asked for the abrogation of this grant, which was a flagrant violation of the statutes of 1340 The Commons petitioned that the custom of wool be taken at ½ mark as it used to be in former times They pointed to the maletote's mischievous effects upon the Commonalty, and declared it to be "beyond reason that the Commons should be charged in their goods by the merchants" (fn. 157) Edward replied that it was not his intention to charge the Commons with the subsidy which the merchants had granted, and that it could not be understood to be a charge upon the Commons since the price of wool was fixed in the different counties, and he willed that the price should stand, and that no wools should be bought below it on pain of forfeiture (fn. 158) A compromise was ultimately arranged the Commons agreeing to make the grant of a subsidy at the rate of the previous maletote and the King to re-establish the prices for wool in all the counties (fn. 159) The Commons made this grant strictly conditional Provided that no wool was bought below the price ordained in Parliament and that all wool exported paid the full custom and subsidy and that the King pledged himself not to grant exemption to anyone whatsover, either to buy wool below the legal price or to export it without payment of the custom and subsidy, the Commons consented to grant a subsidy of 40/- a sack in addition to the custom to be collected from midsummer to Michaelmas, 1343, and until the end of 3 years next following (fn. 160)

Parliament also fixed the prices below which no wool was to be sold and the penalties for non-observance of the regulation. (fn. 161) These the King embodied in an ordinance which he issued from Westminster on May 20th, 1343, to all sheriffs in England, to provide for their execution The ordinance, after reciting Parliament's sanction and arrangements, strictly charged the sheriff to make public proclamation, both in the cities, boroughs, markets and ports as well as in other places in his bailiwick, within liberty or without, wherever he thought fit, that no native or alien should buy wool below the price ordained for that county from June 24th until Sept 29th and for 3 years following under penalty of the forfeiture of all wool so bought The last two clauses of the ordinance are important Buyers, not sellers, were to incur the penalty, and the statutory price, though it was to be a minimum, was not to be a maximum Anyone could sell wool at a higher price than that fixed by law according to agreement with the merchant who wished to buy (fn. 162)

Parliament had increased the King's hereditary custom revenue by a direct grant it strove also to safeguard the increase by improving the system of collection The Commons declared against the practice of customers and controllers who held their offices in fee or on a term of years or for life, letting out their posts to farm at the petition of the great men, whereby owing to the negligence of such farmers the King lost heavily in custom revenue All such officials were to be removed, notwithstanding that their offices might have been granted for a term of years or for life, and the practice discontinued (fn. 163)

In this same year the Truce of Malestroit was concluded (fn. 164) Freed from the immediate necessity of raising supplies for a campaign, Edward found himself able to abandon some of the measures by which he had sought to supplement his ordinary resources While the maletote, now a subsidy, was to be retained as a valuable addition to his customary revenue enabling him to pay off an infinitesimal part of the debts he had incurred, the prohibition of the exportation of wool, which was a necessary precaution for the collection of a grant of wool, could be annulled now that the occasioning cause was removed In 1344 the prohibition was recalled by statute (fn. 165) The Commons of that year petitioned that the ordinance fixing the price of wool in every county might be abrogated, that any one might buy wool according to agreement with the seller, that no one might be vexed because of purchases contrary to the regulation, and that the sea might be open to all manner of merchants to pass merchandise The King graciously heard the petition of his faithful Commons, the ordinance fixing the price of wool was wholly annulled and the sea thrown open to all merchants (fn. 166)

The term of the grant of the subsidy expired in Sept 1346, the month in which Parliament reassembled The merchants had, in view of the King's necessities, already consented along with the prelates to continue the grant for two years more But the Commons reminded the King of the compact made with them three years ago binding him to cease the levy of the 40/- subsidy now and to take only half a mark henceforward The King, however, determined to continue the subsidy, and in defence of his action pleaded an arrangement with the merchants to whom in the previous year he had let out the customs to farm (fn. 167) The Commons' protests were vain Their constituents protested in a more effective manner by smuggling their wool out of the country uncustomed and uncoketed The universal prevalence of this method of evasion is proved by the universal appointment of special officials, deputies and commissioners of arrest

Edward had equipped his famous Crécy expedition by exacting heavy fines from foreign clergy in English benefices and by using his right of purveyance to buy up corn, bacon, meat, wine, horses and munitions of war But the victorious issue of the campaign did not dissipate his financial difficulties (fn. 168) The 2 / 15ths voted by the laity and the tenth voted by the clergy in the Parliament of September, 1346, did not suffice to wipe out his heavy accumulation of debt, and he had to plunge into further financial experiments

A great Council held by Lionel of Antwerp, Guardian of the Realm, on March 3rd, 1347, adopted two expedients for raising supplies (1) It negotiated, without the consent of Parliament, what has been called a loan of 20,000 sacks of wool, (fn. 169) and (2) it levied a duty of 2/- upon each sack of wool exported and on each tun of wine imported, and of 6d on every pound of merchandise imported or exported between then and September 29th (fn. 170) It is probable also that this Council made arrangements for a great merchant assembly which was summoned to meet on April 21st by writs issued on March 20th, in the hope, which was not disappointed, of constraining the merchants to make a series of individual loans Many of the merchants agreed to advance different amounts, (fn. 171) others more dauntless flatly refused, (fn. 172) while some equally reluctant but more timid consented in haste and repented at leisure Edward himself took over the task of coercing the recalcitrant Those who would advance no money were ordered to meet him at Calais before May 18th, 27 of them, 4 in the county of Lincoln, 3 in Northampton, 7 in Gloucester, 1 in Huntingdon, 3 in Nottingham, 2 in Norfolk, 1 in Leicester, 4 in Yorkshire, and 2 in London failed to put in an appearance So on May 28th Edward ordered the sheriffs of their shires to attach them (fn. 173) Determined that none should defy his authority with impunity Edward dealt no less sternly with those who, overborne by the regent and his council, had consented to make a loan but had neglected to do so On the same day on which he dealt with their more resolute comrades, he issued an ordinance commanding them under penalty of forfeiture of all they possessed to make the contracted loan before June 20th (fn. 174)

The levy of wool likewise occasioned trouble The 20,000 sacks were sold to the farmers of the custom, John de Wesenham, Walter de Chiriton and his fellow merchants of England, at 23/4 less per sack than the Nottingham price, each sack to contain 26 stone, each stone being 14lb In return the merchants were to pay the King £40,000 between April 2nd and July 9th, £10,000 between Aug 1st and Sept 29th, and £16,666 13s 4d between Sept 29th and Christmas The residue was to be paid on Feb 2nd Meanwhile no wool was to pass out of the realm until Easter following save by their consent Edward was to provide ships for its transport, but the merchants were to bear the expense He also agreed to sustain any loss incurred through tempest, accident, or any circumstance other than negligence, as well as the costs incurred in the transport of the lost portion on adequate proof of the loss and the costs being given It was provided that if the merchants were not entirely served with the wool before Easter following, all the customs and subsidies, both petty and great, were to remain in their hands, after Walter de Chiriton and Gilbert de Wendlingburgh had been paid the 40,000 marks which they had lent the King in Flanders and for which they had assignments upon the same customs and subsidies, until they were requited for what was lacking of the 20,000 sacks All the ports of the realm, within franchises as without, were to be closed and all wool taken out of the realm in contravention of this order was to be forfeited to the King (fn. 175)

All counties were to be allowed to compound in silver or gold for their portion of the wool The merchants were given full power to choose whomsoever they wished to act as their deputies and agents, and the chancellor and treasurer were ordered to make out the writs, necessary for collecting and receiving, free of charge (fn. 176)

The prohibition of exportation which had been backed up by an order issued on June 24th (fn. 177) was universally misunderstood. People were afraid either to sell, buy, or gather wool The weaving industry was at a standstill and the nation threatened with grievous loss On July 23rd Edward issued a remedial ordinance in which he declared his intention of allowing anyone whatsoever to sell, buy or gather wool to turn it into cloth, as they wished, provided no wool was taken out of the kingdom before he was served with his wool To remove all doubt on the matter sheriffs were ordered to publish the ordinance in all parts of their bailiwick (fn. 178)

It has generally been assumed that the 20,000 sacks were to be raised as a loan to the King, as was the case, for example, in 1340 But the proceedings in 1340 and 1347 were entirely different in character In 1340 merchants buying wool were to give vendors letters obligatory promising repayment at a stated term, and a definite fund was set aside to meet such payments In 1347 no security for repayment was given and no fund was allocated for that purpose Payment of wool was enforced as a tax at the rate of a 1 / 15th, (fn. 179) as had happened previously in 1341 and 1342, but with this difference, that whereas in 1341 the 20,000 sacks were to be levied in lieu of the 1 / 9th of that year, in 1347 they were levied in addition to the current 1 / 15th which Parliament had voted in 1346

The funds provided by these arbitrary measures were inadequate to meet the King's necessities, and he supplemented them by numerous requests to clergy of all ranks for grants of wool, (fn. 180) and by the imposition of duties on all cloth exported from the realm (fn. 181)

To each county he sent, on April 8th, 1347, a faithful messenger bearing letters to all bishops, abbots, priors, deans and chapters, setting forth his dire needs and the promises of aid received in the Great Council, and requesting that they should follow the magnates' example and grant an aid in wool They were to communicate to the bearer, in whom they could repose absolute confidence, what aid they were willing to give, the King promising to repay them at an appointed time (fn. 182) By August 20th the mild request of April had grown into a stern demand, notwithstanding the clergy's response On that day the King issued two sets of letters, one demanding money (fn. 183) and the other wool (fn. 184) The tone of both documents was similar, though the latter was less peremptory In the former Edward after declaring that whilst the war could not be maintained on his ordinary income plus the subsidies granted, yet if it were abandoned the English tongue would be blotted out and the Kingdom subverted, commanded that a loan of a certain amount contained in the letter be given him in wool or money at a time and place also fixed in the letter, whereupon letters obligatory for the pay ment of that amount at some future date would be given. The latter recited the King's previous appeals and conveyed his thanks for the grant which it had evoked But his need and the danger threatening him, the Realm and the English Church, had become more serious The war could not be sustained without additional supplies, as the discreet clergy well knew, so in his necessity which was subject to no law, he asks for a number of sacks of wool, in gold or silver, according to the sort of the county, and since in so short a time they could not be sent to the appointed place, the price of them, along with that of those previously promised, must be paid at London to the treasurer before a fixed date, when letters obligatory for the amount would be given This document, like that demanding money, ended with an assertion that no excuse would be accepted.

This form of letter was sent to a far greater number of clergy than the form demanding a stipulated money payment The latter was sent to 2 bishops, 13 abbots, 11 priors, 2 archdeacons, 10 chapters, and 16 others of the clergy. (fn. 185) The former, sent to 2 bishops, 37 abbots and 15 priors, who had previously promised 122 sacks, produced another 112 to be delivered before Sept 15th, while similar letters sent to 3 bishops, 24 abbots, 5 abbesses, 26 priors, 1 prioress, and 4 others who had not yet contributed, fixed that they should furnish 208 sacks by the same date In the same way 1 bishop, 19 abbots and 6 priors, who had previously arranged to provide 50 sacks, were asked for another 65 to be ready for Sept 30, and the Archbishop of York, 3 bishops, 15 abbots, 1 abbess, 21 priors, 1 archdeacon and 2 others of the clergy who had paid nothing as yet were to provide 143 sacks by the same date (fn. 186) By this means Edward hoped to raise, in addition to the 1 / 15th granted in 1346, a total of over 700 sacks of wool or their equivalent, roughly about £3,500, an average of over £19 per each individual (fn. 187)

The high-handed action of the Great Council, followed by the equally arbitrary proceedings of the King in subjecting the nation to charges unsanctioned by its representatives, in flagrant contravention of statutes rendering such assent essen tial to the legality of the imposition, produced an outburst in Parliament The glorious termination of the war did not restore confidence or blind the nation to the gross breach of trust which had been perpetrated There was deep distrust and growing apprehension, and this acting upon the minds and dispositions of the Commons made them more eager to play the part of barristers summoning the King before the tribunal of his own laws than of counsellors advising him in his extremity

A Parliament summoned by the King in January, 1348, in the hope of obtaining a considerable grant, presented 64 petitions for redress of grievances (fn. 188) These included protests against exactions which were legal but obnoxious, as well as petitions against palpably illegal impositions The Commons petitioned against the levy of the subsidy which had been granted for 2 years in 1346, as well as against the new duties imposed by the Great Council in 1347 on wool, wine, cloth and general merchandise, (fn. 189) the tyrannous exercise of the right of purveyance, (fn. 190) and the conduct of the collectors of wool (fn. 191) They declared that the King was taking more than he ought, and asked that henceforth wool might be exported freely on payment of the old custom only The King replied that according to the term of its grant the subsidy had still some time to run, but he promised during that time to take the advice of his Council as to what was best to be done for the profit of his people (fn. 192) Further the Commons petitioned against the imposition on cloth on the ground that it was ruining the labourer, the producer and the merchant, but Edward argued that it was reasonable he should have the same profit from cloth as from wool, and retained it (fn. 193) However, he told his faithful Commons who begged him to take pity on them and not to impoverish them when they were annually bearing the great burden of 1 / 15ths, 1 / 10ths and grants of wool, that he would make no imposition save when driven by great necessity and then only with the assent of the Prelates, Earls, Barons and other magnates, along with the Commons With regard to purveyance, right was to be done on all who took it saving the King's prerogative (fn. 194) The promise of moderation in taxation was worthless It was vitiated by the saving clause concerning great necessity-for the King alone was judge of such necessity-as well as by the King's immediate embarrassments So also was the promise regarding purveyance, for the prerogative which was saved was the source of all the trouble, and until the King consented to or the Commons insisted on its definite limitation abuses would continue But the recognition of the Commons' consent to taxation was, in view of recent violations, an important re-assertion of the most valuable principle of the Confirmation of the Charters tantamount to an acknowledgment on the King's part of the illegality of his previous actions

Despite this success, the multifarious complaints of the Commons of January, 1348, were for the most part unavailing But in one other particular which concerns our subject, they gained their point, nominally at least The merchants to whom the customs had been farmed in 1345 had been oppressive and extortionate in the exercise of their functions The Commons quoted one flagrant example of illegality, and hinted darkly at others The merchants, they declared, had levied an additional impost of 2 marks a sack in addition to the custom and subsidy, to the great damage of the realm and the lowering of the price of wool (fn. 195) Edward granted the Commons' request that they might be apprehended and made to reply in Parliament But other complaints were brought against them If they had been oppressive and fraudulent, as farmers of the custom, they had been none the less so as purveyors of wool Instead of the legal stone of 14 lbs they had extorted 161bs and 18 lbs and had demanded further payment before they would give a town acquittance (fn. 196) Further, it was stated that by confederacy amongst them they had bargained with the King to his own great loss and the impoverishment of his people (fn. 197) There is no need to suppose the Commons guilty of exaggeration Such conduct was but the natural and inevitable consequence of entrusting private individuals with important public duties uncontrolled save by an absentee King who was only keen on securing the full discharge of the merchants' obligations to himself The Commons laid their iniquities before Edward, and prayed for a remedy "for the love of God" The King graciously heard their petition, and appointed some of his council to inquire into the truth of the charges, promising if the complaints were substantiated to hand over the offenders to the justices of peace and the justices appointed to inquire into false money, to do right Satisfaction was not made, however, for the complaints were renewed in the March parliament, when further allegations were made against the merchants They were now accused of using false weights, and it was said that although they had raised much more than the full amount from the Commons the King had not had a third of the profit of the 20,000 sacks (fn. 198)

It was found on investigation that those who had exhibited the petition in Parliament had had no knowledge of the nature of the contracts made between the King and the merchants for the sale of wool Moreover, the merchants won the King to their side by their frank offer to answer before him or any of his council he should depute concerning all their dealings with him, and to satisfy him of everything wherein they had been delinquent Assured that his interests had not suffered along with the nation's, Edward repudiated his promise to the Commons, and gave the merchants a comprehensive pledge of security He guaranteed that they should be in no wise impeached or molested by reason of the Commons' petition or compelled to answer before his justices or ministers touching anything relating to the matter of the wool in question or to other contracts made with him in the past (fn. 199)

The Commons were more successful in dealing with abuses connected with another exaction The avowed object of this imposition was not to raise revenue but to defray the expenses of protecting trade In spite of the armistice which had been arranged after the capture of Calais, commercial operations were still attended with considerable danger to person and property The spheres of trading operations had been the centres of the late warfare, and though peace nominally reigned all the lawlessness and disturbance which accompany war still prevailed Not only French privateers, sore at their defeats, but Flemish creditors, sore on account of debts, were ready to pounce down upon the unoffending merchant and to revenge themselves on him for the iniquities of his master (fn. 200) To protect them against these disturbers of the peace and to conduct the merchants safely to the staple, men at arms, archers and others had been engaged, and a charge of 12d a sack exacted to maintain them Through official remissness or corruption the 12d had been scrupulously levied but the corresponding protection had been withheld, with the result, said the Commons, that many merchants had been killed and £20,000 worth of goods lost Such culpable negligence could not be glossed over, and the King appointed persons and places for hearing offenders (fn. 201)

The Parliament of March, 1348, followed the example of that of January, 1348 It stated its complaints boldly and distinctly These were chiefly financial-the aid for knighting the King's son, taken without the assent of the Commons, contrary to the statute of 1340, and at double the customary rate, the petty oppressions by which the agents of the collectors of wool beat down the price to the sellers and enhanced it to the buyers, the subsidy on wool, and the 20,000 sacks borrowed The Commons declared that the subsidy produced £60,000 annually, which came out of the pockets of the landowners, because in consequence of the subsidy merchants simply paid so much less for every sack (fn. 202) "It was a land tax not a tax on merchants" Eventually they included these points in a numerous list of conditions to which they demanded the King's assent before making a grant. If he would undertake amongst other things that the subsidy on wool should cease at the end of the term of its 3 years' grant and not be again granted by the merchants, who did not bear the burden of it since they gave so much less for the sack of wool, that the 20,000 sacks should be restored and no impost, tallage or charge laid upon the Commons by the Privy Council with their assent, they would grant a 1 / 15th and a 1 / 10th for three years (fn. 203)

The King accorded most of the petitions in order to secure the grant, but no new statute was issued embodying them, nor was any needed, for they were all explicitly and completely covered by existing law What was required was not the King's sanction for a new legislative pronouncement, but his observance of an old one In the face of his frequent and flagrant defiance of the statutes of 1340 the Commons' only resource was to take their stand firmly by those laws and steadfastly to refuse to countenance the King's infractions of them This they did with great pertinacity The struggle was long but it was decisive The Commons, after wresting from the King repeated confirmations of the 1340 statutes, made only to be broken, succeeded in reasserting in law, both in 1362 and 1371, the principle for which they had contended throughout the reign, and also in extending its application to alien merchants

The results were momentous, not in what was achieved but in what was averted The work of the Commons was not initiation but preservation, conservation By asserting their right to control the then only important form of indirect taxation as well as all direct taxation, they established a precedent and laid the foundation for the successful claims of the Commons of the future to control all indirect as well as all direct taxation.

By excluding the merchants from most important direct political influence the Commons made it impossible for the King, by allying himself with the merchants, to tax the body of the nation at his discretion, and finally bound him to abide, both in the letter and in the spirit, by the terms of the Confirmation of the Charters By the end of the reign the process of differentiation and definition of function had been carried a stage further The Statute Book now gave clear and unequivocal answers to the two questions which the King's action had raised early on in the reign His attempts to organise a quasi-Parliamentary body, as powerful as Parliament to work his ends, less powerful than Parliament to resist them, had been defeated and the Commons had filled in that lacuna in their powers which we noticed at the beginning of the reign


  • 1. Select Charters, p 301
  • 2. Ib, p 451
  • 3. Ib, p 495
  • 4. Foed, II, p 747
  • 5. C P R 1327-30, p 98 C C R 1327-30, p 116
  • 6. C P R 1327-30, p 169 C P R 1327-30, pp 236, 251
  • 7. C F R 1327-37, p 54
  • 8. C P R 1327-30, p 137
  • 9. Ib, p 421
  • 10. Stubbs, II, 552
  • 11. C F R 1327-37, p 342
  • 12. C C R 1330-3, p 60 C F R 1327-37, p 342
  • 13. Ib, p 355
  • 14. C C R 1330-3, p 60 The levy had been very unpopular among the merchants, and they sought to evade payment C F R 1327-37, p 354
  • 15. Ib 1327-37, p 365 C C R 1330-3, p 433
  • 16. Ib, p 277
  • 17. C F R 1327-37, p 404
  • 18. Ib, p 414
  • 19. C C R 1333-7, p 257
  • 20. Stubbs, II, 397
  • 21. C C R 1333-7, p, 674 Lords Report p 455
  • 22. Ib, p 458 C C R 1333-7, p 677
  • 23. Foed, II, 943
  • 24. Lords' Report, IV, 147 C C R 1333-7, p 701
  • 25. Stubbs, II, 397
  • 26. Ib, II, 399
  • 27. Knighton, c 2568
  • 28. Scalacronica, p 102
  • 29. Rot Parl, II, 104, 105
  • 30. Ramsay, I, 246
  • 31. C C R 1333-7, p 681
  • 32. Ramsay, p 89 Such an order issued Nov 12th, 1338 C F R 1337-47, p 105
  • 33. C C R 1337-9, pp 97, 195, &c C P R 1334-38, p 332 C F R 1337-47, p 557
  • 34. C C R 1337-9, p 217 Ib 1337-9, pp 226, 296, &c
  • 35. C P R 1334-8, pp 322, 327
  • 36. C C R 1337-9, pp 313, 323
  • 37. Apparently the King agreed with the Bardi and Peruzzi on March 11th, 1338, to raise the subsidy to 40/- the sack, and probably an assembly of merchants which met on March 16th authorised this rate But exportation was forbidden until August 1st
  • 38. C F R 1337-47, p 50
  • 39. Murimuth, p 80 Knighton, II, 1 C P R 1327-30, p 480
  • 40. C C R 1337-9 p 148 Longman, I, 89, 117, follows Knighton, II, 1, in saying that the price of wool in each county was 9 marks a sack This was the price of Leicester wool, and Knighton evidently assumes that the price of wool in other counties was identical with that of his native shire
  • 41. C P R 1334-8, pp 543, 554, 580, &c Foed, II, ii, 971
  • 42. Ib, p 478
  • 43. C C R 1337-9, p 184
  • 44. C P R 1334-8, p 536
  • 45. Ib, p 480
  • 46. C C R 1337-9, p 282
  • 47. C P R 1334-8, pp 509 and 577
  • 48. Murimuth, p 80
  • 49. Murimuth, p 80
  • 50. Knighton, II, 2
  • 51. 20,000 sacks is referred to in C P R and C C R as moiety of the wool of the country
  • 52. Knighton, II, 2
  • 53. Murimuth, p 82
  • 54. Baker, Chronicon, p 62 Murimuth, p 85 Knighton, II, 5
  • 55. C C R 1337-9, pp 538, 539, 607-9, &c
  • 56. C P R 1338-40, pp 27, 43, 51, 86, 129, &c
  • 57. Ib, p 112 C C R 1337-9, pp 502, 594
  • 58. Murimuth, p 86
  • 59. Foed, II, ii, 1022 C C R 1337-9, p 393
  • 60. Foed, II, ii, 1022
  • 61. C C R 1337-9, p 601
  • 62. C P R 1338-40, pp 175, 187
  • 63. Ib, p 146
  • 64. Foed, II, ii, 1049
  • 65. Ib, 1051 C C R 1337-9, p 517
  • 66. Foed, II, ii, p 1051
  • 67. Foed, II, ii, p 1051
  • 68. Ib, p 1054 C P R 1338-40, p 189
  • 69. Foed, II, ii, p 1054 C P R 1338-40, pp 189, 190
  • 70. Order executed C C R 1337-9, pp 453, 570, 582, &c
  • 71. Ib, p 457
  • 72. C P R 1338-40, p 244 C C R 1337-9, p 584 Knighton, II, 4
  • 73. The arrangement was still unsatisfactory because it fixed a uniform price of 52/ a sack for wool all over the country, whereas the value of wool varied greatly in the different counties
  • 74. C C R 1337-9, pp 400, 412
  • 75. Foed, II, ii, 1022 C C R 1337-9, p 393
  • 76. C C R 1337-9, p 424 See article on "Estate of Merchants," pp 195, 196
  • 77. C C R 1337-9, pp 503, 571
  • 78. Ib, p 42
  • 79. Murimuth, p 86 Foed, II, ii, 1022
  • 80. Ib, 1054
  • 81. Foed, II, ii, 1057 C P R 1338-40, p 190
  • 82. Murimuth, p 88
  • 83. Ib, p 88 Baker, Chronicon, p 63
  • 84. C C R, 1337-9, p 400
  • 85. Ib, p 412 See article on "The Bardi and the Peruzzi," p 119
  • 86. C C R 1337-9, p 420
  • 87. Ib, p 412
  • 88. Tout, p 335
  • 89. Rot Parl, II, 104
  • 90. Ib, 105
  • 91. Ib, 107
  • 92. Ib, 108
  • 93. Ib, 112
  • 94. 14 Edward III, St 1, c 21 Rot Parl, II, 112
  • 95. 14 Edward III, St 1, c 21 14 Edward III, St 2, c 4
  • 96. 14 Edward III, St 1, c 21
  • 97. Apparently the King still retained the right, which had led to the establishment of the new customs, of raising the custom rate to aliens without consulting Parliament
  • 98. 14 Edward III, St 2, c 1
  • 99. Rot Parl, II, 118
  • 100. Rot Parl, II, 122
  • 101. Ib, 119 C P R 1340-3, p 30
  • 102. Ib 1340-43, pp 148, 222, 239, 348, &c
  • 103. Ib p 211
  • 104. Ib, p 110
  • 105. Ib, p 103
  • 106. Ib p 258
  • 107. See below, p 164
  • 108. Rot Parl, II, 127
  • 109. Ib 131 C C R 1341-3, p 255
  • 110. Rot Parl, II, 133 C P R 1340-3, p 261, &c
  • 111. The 20,000 sacks were to be paid for out of the 30,000 C C R 1341-3, p 209
  • 112. Rot Parl, II, 131
  • 113. Ib, 133
  • 114. Ib, 131
  • 115. Ib, 133
  • 116. C P R 1340-3, p 410
  • 117. C C R 1341-3, p 334
  • 118. C C R 1341-3, p 334
  • 119. C P R 1340-3, p 498
  • 120. Rot Parl, II, 133
  • 121. Ib, II, 133
  • 122. C C R 1341-3, p 142
  • 123. Tout, p 344
  • 124. Ib, p 349
  • 125. C P R 1340-3, pp 257, &c
  • 126. Ib, p 284
  • 127. Ib, pp 259, 290
  • 128. Ib, pp 258, 264-5
  • 129. Ib, p 260
  • 130. C P R, 1340-3, p 314
  • 131. Ib, p 284
  • 132. Ib, p 290
  • 133. C P R 1340-3, p 386
  • 134. Ib, p 211
  • 135. Ib, pp 324, 345
  • 136. Ib, pp 291, &c
  • 137. Ib, pp 213, 216, 218, 290, &c
  • 138. Ib, p 326
  • 139. C P R 1340-3, p 388
  • 140. Ib, p 248
  • 141. Ib, p 274
  • 142. 14 Edward III, St 1, c 21 Rot Parl, II, 112
  • 143. C C R 1341-3, pp 22, 27, 28, 38, &c
  • 144. Ib, pp 29, 33, &c
  • 145. Ib, p 52
  • 146. Ib, p 54
  • 147. Ib, p 70
  • 148. 14 Edward III, St 1, c 21
  • 149. C C R 1341-3, p 142 Rot Parl, II, p 131
  • 150. C C R 1341-3, p 255
  • 151. Ib, pp 190, 204, &c C P R 1340-3, p 277
  • 152. C C R 1341-3, pp 189, 234, &c C P R 1340-3, p 254
  • 153. C C R, 1341-3, p 238
  • 154. Ib, pp 193, 390, &c
  • 155. Ib, pp 321, 331, &c
  • 156. C C R 1341-3, pp 553, 640 C P R 1340-3, p 415 See article on "The Estate of Merchants," pp 213-14 below
  • 157. Rot Parl, II, 140
  • 158. Ib, II, 140
  • 159. Ib, p 138 Foed, II, ii, 1225
  • 160. Rot Parl, II, 138 Murimuth, p 146
  • 161. Rot Parl, II, 138
  • 162. Foed, II, ii, 1225
  • 163. Rot Parl, II, 139
  • 164. Murimuth, p 129
  • 165. 18 Edward III, St 2, c 3
  • 166. Rot Parl, II, 148, 149, 150 The merchants had petitioned against the ordinance in 1343, saying Nottingham prices were not fixed for all time, and asking that they might be allowed to buy freely as other merchants by agreement between buyer and seller Ib, p 143
  • 167. Ib, p 161 See article on "Estate of Merchants," pp 216 7, below
  • 168. Knighton, II, 32
  • 169. C P R 1345-8, pp 362, 438
  • 170. Rot Parl, II, 166 C P R 1346-9, p 282
  • 171. Knighton, II, 53
  • 172. C C R 1346-9, p 282
  • 173. Foed, III, i, 122
  • 174. Foed, III, i, 121
  • 175. C C R 1346-9, pp 290-1
  • 176. Ib 1346-9, pp 290-1
  • 177. Ib, p 282
  • 178. Foed, III, i, 126 C C R 1346-9, p 357
  • 179. Ib, pp 333-4
  • 180. Foed, III, i, 131 Knighton, II, 47, 52
  • 181. Rot Parl, II, 168 For this see Dowell, I, 135 Cf C P R 1345-8, p 276
  • 182. Foed, III, i, 116 C C R 1346-9, pp 262-270
  • 183. Foed, III, i, 130 C C R 1346-9, pp 382-4
  • 184. Foed, III, i, 131
  • 185. Foed, III, i, 131-133
  • 186. Ib
  • 187. Calculated from average annual prices Rogers, I, 390, et seq
  • 188. Rot Parl, II, 165 et seq
  • 189. Ib, 166
  • 190. Ib, 166, 169, 171
  • 191. Ib, 169
  • 192. Ib, 168
  • 193. Ib, II, 168
  • 194. Rot Parl, II, 166
  • 195. Ib, II, 169
  • 196. Ib, 171
  • 197. Ib, 170
  • 198. Ib, 201
  • 199. C P R, 1345-8, p 104
  • 200. Cunningham, I, 300-303
  • 201. Rot Parl, II, 171, 172 C P R 1345-8, pp 76 and 77
  • 202. Rot Parl, II, 200, 201
  • 203. Ib, 201