The societies of the Bardi and the Peruzzi and their dealings with Edward III : (Ephraim Russell)

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 societies of the Bardi and the Peruzzi and their dealings with Edward III : (Ephraim Russell)', in Finance and Trade Under Edward III the London Lay Subsidy of 1332, (Manchester, 1918) pp. 93-135. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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At the beginning of the fourteenth century Florence was a city state, with a dependent territory somewhat less in extent than the county of York Its merchant companies or societies had their agents in every important centre of population throughout Western Europe, and finding ample opportunity for the negotiation of loans, they had extensive dealings with the Papacy, the Plantagenets, the Valois, and the Angevins of Southern Italy. In fact, most of the business of Europe of this particular type was in their hands, and in many places their remarkable success procured for them cordial hatred (fn. 1)

Everybody in Florence, from its merchant nobles downwards, is said to have been more or less engaged in the production of wealth The mainstays of its prosperity were the extensive transactions in banking and moneylending already mentioned, and a flourishing cloth industry embracing manufacturing, dressing, and dyeing The silk industry was probably not of first-rate importance till somewhat later The gilds of the "Exchangers" or "Bankers," of the "wool merchants," and of the "merchants in foreign cloth" were the chief of the seven "Arti Maggiori" of the city (fn. 2)

The "Arte del Cambio" seems to have been first concerned with the collection and transmission of dues from various princes to the Roman Pontiff, and it is probable that whilst thus engaged the merchants first realised the possibilities of this branch of their activities The Societies of the Mozzi and Spini of Florence were famous papal bankers of the thirteenth century and farmers of the papal revenues; in the fourteenth century they had largely given place to the Bardi and Peruzzi, whose agencies were by then scattered widely throughout Western Europe (fn. 3)

For the "Arte della Lana" and the "Arte di Calimala" the chronicler Villani gives some interesting figures for the year 1338 He asserts that the former had more than two hundred cloth manufacturing and dyeing establishments in the city, that 70,000 to 80,000 "panni" or "pieces" of cloth were produced annually to the value of 1,200,000 golden florins, and that over 30,000 people were employed in the trade The wool from which this cloth was made was imported mainly from Spain, Portugal, and England The "Arte di Calimala" had, says Villani, no less than twenty "fondachi" or "warehouses" importing over 10,000 panni valued at 300,000 florins, all to be resold in Florence (fn. 4) In the list of the names of the societies owning these warehouses appear the Bardi, Peruzzi, Acciaiuoli, Alberti, and Bonaccorsi, all of which at different times had their agencies in England (fn. 5)

Side by side with this industrial and commercial prosperity of Florence there existed social and political unrest, in which usually the merchant societies were deeply involved A conspiracy, inculpating certain of the Frescobaldi, had been frustrated in 1323, (fn. 6) to be followed in 1325 by another equally unsuccessful Tommaso Frescobaldi had undertaken to betray the city to Castruccio Castrucani of Lucca, and although he escaped with his life, he was sentenced to perpetual infamy and his property confiscated (fn. 7) War with Castruccio supervened in the same year, and the Florentine arms endured severe defeat at Altopascio, (fn. 8) the enemy ultimately reaching the very walls of the city The Duke of Calabria, eldest son of the King of Naples, was made Lord of the City, but not arriving at the stipulated time, he imposed the Frenchman, Walter de Brienne, Duke of Athens, on the people, as his Lieutenant The Emperor, Louis of Bavaria, also appeared in Italy, and received the iron crown of Lombardy at Milan in May, 1327, and the prospect was distinctly gloomy for the Florentines The Duke of Calabria hurried south to protect his father, leaving the Duke of Athens behind him He had done nothing whatever for the Commonwealth, but his rule had entailed expenses to the extent of 900,000 florins (fn. 9) Relief, however, came unexpectedly-Castruccio died on the 3rd September, 1328, and the Duke of Calabria died also in November in the same year The death of the latter, according to Villani, prevented an uprising against him in Florence (fn. 10) The war with Castruccio had caused heavy expenditure, but the city was by no means at the end of its resources

Passing over various intrigues, which centre round Lucca, the acquisition of which town was earnestly sought by the Commune of Florence, the city was next at war, from 1336 to 1339 with the powerful House of Scala The exchequer being much depleted, a number of "wise and clever merchants" (of whom Villani is said to have been one) was summoned together and arrangements were made with the gilds by means of which 100,000 golden florins, and more as required, were to be provided at a stipulated rate of interest (fn. 11) Florence was, however, duped by her powerful ally Venice, and reaped little from the war, other than a debt of over 450,000 florins, for the repayment of which the customs' dues of the city were pledged to private citizens for the next six years (fn. 12)

One authority considers that this is the epoch which may be justly regarded as furnishing events signifying the beginning of the end for the financial and commercial prosperity of Florence (fn. 13) During this period there developed a state of affairs inimical to the Commonwealth throughout the spheres of influence of her merchant societies The Bardi and Peruzzi were probably the richest of these societies, and there is little doubt that they were heavily involved in the financial difficulties of the city at home This in itself, however, would not have been serious, the very extent of their business activities throughout Europe would have provided, and in fact did provide them with the means of meeting their obligations for some years after 1339 The outbreak of war between England and France was the great calamity which ultimately ruined the merchants They probably found it impossible to maintain friendly relations with both combatants, in any case the formal outbreak of the war in 1337 was accompanied by the arrest of the representatives of the Florentine societies in France, the price of their release being huge loans to Philip of Valois (fn. 14) But what was still worse, the King of England, to whom they had made enormous advances, ceased in actual fact to make any adequate payment of his debts whilst all the time desiring to take up further loans (fn. 15)

Added to all this there was further financial disaster in Florence itself, and also in the kingdom of Naples, where the merchants had much capital engaged This capital was, of course, not entirely their own property, but that of Florentines and others who had deposited with them Lucca was again the immediate cause of the crisis Disappointed at not having obtained possession of the town after the war of 1336 to 1339, Florence entered into further negotiations for its purchase, which ultimately involved her in war with Pisa After enduring a severe defeat in October, 1341, the Commonwealth appealed for aid to Robert, King of Naples, and, greatly angered by his apathy, it even turned momentarily to the Emperor, Louis of Bavaria Yver argues that the Florentine merchants used all their influence in the endeavour to secure the assistance of the King of Naples, and that they-the Bardi, Peruzzi, and their dependents-were the "certi savi amatori di parte guelfa" (fn. 16) of Villani, who, having much at stake in the Neapolitan kingdom, and being anxious not to alarm Robert, did their utmost to prevent the acceptance of the Emperor's terms The result was satisfactory to the merchants as regards the Emperor, but not so in the kingdom of Naples, where there occurred a run on the funds of the Florentine bankers which caused the immediate failure of the Bonaccorsi and several other of the smaller firms (1341) (fn. 17) The greater companies, the Bardi and Peruzzi, had still sufficient political prestige at home, and sufficiently valuable property and possessions, and sufficient business reputation, to enable them, though severely shaken, (fn. 18) to combat fortune a little longer

Florence suffered further defeat to her armies, and Pisa obtained possession of Lucca in July, 1342, after which Walter de Brienne, Duke of Athens, a French adventurer, (fn. 19) was chosen Lord of the City and made commander of the armies He did not continue the war, but intriguing, in order to obtain supreme power, with the "grandi" and "popolo minuto" against the "popolani grassi," he succeeded rapidly in alienating all classes (fn. 20) Many of the wealthier merchants, including the Bardi, Peruzzi, and Acciaiuoli, at first supported the Duke, hoping through him to re-establish their estate somewhat, but when he entirely repudiated the public debt, they realised their error and engaged in conspiracies against him

In one of these, the Bishop of Florence, a Dominican of the family of the Acciaiuoli, and many nobles, including representatives of the Bardi and Frescobaldi families, were involved, but nothing came of the attempt (fn. 21) The city, however, having first asked help from Siena and other neighbouring towns, rose against the tyrant on the 26th July, 1343 Some of the "popolo minuto" and a few of the great "popolano" families-the Peruzzi, Cavalcanti, Acciaiuoli, and Antellesi, at first tried to create a diversion in his favour, (fn. 22) but finding it quite useless they allied themselves with the majority of the citizens By Monday, the 28th July, a Committee of fourteen citizens (seven "grandi" and seven "popolani," one of whom was named Simone Peruzzi) was deputed to reform the government of the city (fn. 23) Barely escaping with his life, the Duke was smuggled out of Florence in the dead of night on the sixth of August His rule had lasted a little over ten months, and had cost the city over 400,000 florins (fn. 24)

After the expulsion of Walter de Brienne, those of the wealthier classes who had at first supported his aggressions were attacked by the populace The main strength of the "grandi" was in the Oltrarno quarter of the city on the left bank of the river, where the houses or palaces of the Bardi, Frescobaldi, Rossi, Nerli, Mannelli, and others were situated (fn. 25) The barricaded bridges over the Arno were stormed and carried on the 25th September, 1343, and the houses of the Frescobaldi and Rossi were soon captured and despoiled The Bardi made a desperate resistance, but their palaces were sacked and burnt, and they themselves with difficulty escaped alive From fifteen to twenty members of noble families were banished, and the loss of the Bardi alone on this occasion is said to have been over 60,000 florins of gold (fn. 26) This was the "coup de grâce" to the Florentine merchant companies They could not even appeal for aid to Robert, King of Naples, for whom they had done so much, for he had died in the previous January, and the treasure which he had amassed was being squandered by his successor Robert had also, like Edward of England, though for other reasons, forborne to pay his debts, and was under obligation to the extent of 100,000 florins to each of the societies of the Bardi and Peruzzi. (fn. 27) He had been, during his long reign, (fn. 28) a means of their attaining opulence and power, he was also an instrument of their downfall The crisis, from this moment, seems to have been inevitable, it was merely postponed for a few months longer, till the beginning of 1345, but their creditors were everywhere clamorous and their stability was destroyed It is evident that in England their activities were seriously curtailed, and that they practically ceased to be of any vital financial importance after 1343 The affairs of Florence did not improve, the catastrophe of 1345 was followed by a failure of the harvest in 1346, and by famine in the following year The feeding of the people is described by Villani, and he estimates the loss to the Treasury at more than 30,000 florins (fn. 29) Worse than all this, in 1348 came the terrible devastation wrought by the Great Pestilence (fn. 30)

The foregoing considerations may serve to establish the opinion that the failure of the Italian financiers is not solely to be attributed to the perfidy of Edward of England It may, perhaps, be true that his were the most serious delinquencies, (fn. 31) yet the disturbed state of Florentine affairs and the expenses in which the merchants were there involved, the loss of property they sustained, their persecution in France, (fn. 32) and their repudiation by the King of Naples, must have been potent factors in the shattering of a business reputation, whose limits were alone determined by the civilisation of the age

Most of the societies of Italian merchants that had been prominent under his father and grandfather had disappeared from the field of operations at the beginning of the reign of Edward the Third Two great societies had already met with serious misfortune, the Riccardi under Edward the First and the Frescobaldi under his successor The remaining companies were either involved in the ruin of the greater ones, or considered the risks too formidable, or perhaps they found the magnitude of the negotiations beyond their ability, and continued to trade in the country privately apart from the court Whatever course they adopted, with two outstanding exceptions, they withdrew for the most part from the political arena The exceptions, of course, were the societies of the Bardi and Peruzzi of Florence

Of these two societies, that of the Bardi was much the more important at first It appears indeed to have succeeded almost immediately to the position from which, owing largely to the antipathy which the English displayed in 1311 towards foreigners, (fn. 33) the Frescobaldi fell The Bardi advanced at least £72,631 to the English Sovereigns between 1290 and 1326, and of this amount, only £4,926 was lent before 1311, (fn. 34) whilst the Peruzzi, on the other hand, are only recorded as having taken part in two transactions with the King, and are only involved to the extent of £900, (fn. 35) within the period above mentioned There is, however, a tendency apparent by about the year 1337, for the two societies to act in concert This has become the established custom by 1340, in which year the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer received orders to charge and discharge each society by itself in the accounts which they rendered for sums and things lent by them to the King and delivered to them by the King, "as they have begun to render their accounts together for such sums" (fn. 37) When the crisis came in 1345 both societies were irretrievably ruined

By reason of their great wealth, their business capacity, the universal acceptability of the Florentine gold coinage, which was of absolute fineness and was never debased (fn. 38), and their advanced methods of international credit and exchange, the services of the Italian merchants became practically indispensable to several governments of their age They were not "mere merchants," but "bankers" also, exercising the double function of receiving and husbanding the funds entrusted to them by depositors, especially after the suppression of the Templars, and also of negotiating loans for clients who could offer reasonable security (fn. 39) They were invaluable to the Papacy as collectors and transmittors of its revenues.

In the following attempt to estimate the extent of the services rendered to Edward III by the Bardi and Peruzzi, it is proposed that the Society of the Bardi shall be first dealt with, as they, without doubt, were the more important at the commencement of the reign

The deposition of Edward II appears to have affected them but little They were extensively employed, both in France and England, by Isabella and Mortimer, and after the fall of the latter, still more by the youthful King

A merchant operating alone, either for himself or as a representative of his society, had become somewhat of an exception-owing perhaps to the increasing magnitude and risk of the negotiations The tendency also to require some security for the monies advanced-the pledging of jewels, an assignment on some branch of the customs revenue, or the privilege of exporting free of toll, or at a reduced toll at least- was pronounced A day for repayment was also often fixed, and gifts in money or kind were of frequent occurrence as compensation for failure to meet the obligation The necessity to pay it was, indeed, instanced by the King as a hardship when writing, through his Chancellor, to the sheriffs and the collectors of the triennial tenth and fifteenth granted by the community of the realm in various counties These officials had not been sufficiently prompt in rendering account of the monies received by them for the King's use The King ordered arrest of the collectors and seizure of their lands and goods, unless his orders were at once complied with, "for," states the writ in question, "the King has learned that the collectors retain the money, devoting it to their own uses, not weighing the King's most urgent necessity for lack of money, which is notorious to all his subjects, by reason of the war, so that he has had resource to usury with several creditors" (fn. 40)

In connection with the Bardi the name of Taldo Valori appears in 1327 He did not apparently visit England after this date, although his death did not occur before 1344 He appears to have been dissatisfied with the conditions and vicissitudes of financial dealings with English Kings (fn. 41) A detailed list of the names of members of the Society of the Bardi trading in England during the reign of Edward III is given below, so far as they are indicated in the Patent and Close Rolls (fn. 42) Of these names the following recur most frequently -Alessandro de' Bardi, Bartolommeo de' Bardi, Pietro Bene, Dino Forzetti, Giovanni di Francesco, Francesco Grandoni, Jacopo Niccolini, and Pietro Rinieri

At the beginning of the reign of Edward III the Society was engaged in a not very important dispute with Thomas de Useflete, a former keeper of the Great Wardrobe, who had been ordered to account with Taldo Valori and his fellows for things bought and received by him for the late King's Wardrobe and to certify what was due to them or to the King (fn. 43) This was followed by complaints from the Bardi to the effect that Thomas de Useflete had caused the bailiffs of Boston Fair to seize £400 worth of their goods at the Fair, on the ground that the Bardi ought to have supplied £400 worth of spices, etc, to the Wardrobe of Edward II for the like amount of money handed to them The company, claiming to have supplied £200 worth, appealed to Edward III, who appointed a day in Chancery for the hearing (fn. 44) Almost a year later, Thomas de Useflete was ordered to make restitution of certain goods "in consideration of good service done by the merchants to the King," (fn. 45) and the aulnager, who had seized the goods, viz, six coloured cloths, ostensibly because they were not of standard length, etc, was ordered to return them and was informed of the defence of the merchants that they did not intend the goods for sale in this country, that they were bought in Flanders and intended for Brabant, and accidentally taken to Boston by their servants (fn. 46)

The above appears to be fairly typical of the treatment of the merchants during the first ten years of Edward's reign Local friction frequently occurred, but the Italians usually found a firm friend in the sovereign, and for the most part their appeals were answered in their favour

On March 1st, 1327, protection and safe-conduct for a year under the privy seal was granted to Jacopo Niccolini, Dino Forzetti, Francesco Grandoni, Alessandro de' Bardi, Giovanni di Francesco, Pietro Rinieri, Pietro Bene, and Tano Cecco, merchants of the Society of the Bardi of Florence (fn. 47) This was renewed for a year after it had only run for a little over three months, viz, on June 15th (fn. 48) This is a typical entry constantly recurring throughout the period A licence was granted by the King at the instance of Queen Isabella to the same merchants (the name of Alessandro de' Bardi alone being omitted) in May of the same year, allowing them to buy and export wools for one year without complying with the ordinances of the staple of wool, provided they paid the customs, etc, due thereon to the King (fn. 49) Again, in August, the customers of Southampton were ordered to send to the King at once any money in hand of the customs of wool, hides and wool-fells, and of the new custom, any previous assignments notwithstanding, "except those to the merchants of the Society of the Bardi of Florence" (fn. 50)

These are all instances of privilege conferred on the Italian merchants, in defiance of statutes limiting the residence of foreign merchants in the realm and expressly forbidding the assignment of customs to their use (fn. 51) Again, on 12 January, 1328, it was ordered that all monies received, or to be received, from the collection of the "twentieth" in the county of Kent, should be paid to the Bardi, to hold it for the King's use until further orders (fn. 52) This exhibits the merchants acting as a "bank deposit" for the King. A month later they sold to the King certain "houses" they possessed in Lombard Street for the sum of £700 (fn. 53)

Evidence of the Crown's heavy indebtedness to the Bardi is afforded quite early in Edward's reign before the debts could have been of his own contracting

On the 20th August, 1328, orders were issued to the collectors of the 'twentieth' in Southampton, London, and twentyone counties (excluding Kent) to raise £4,435-to the collectors of the 'tenth' of the clergy in twelve dioceses to raise £2,000-and to the 'customers' of the ports of Chichester, Southampton, and London to raise £1,565-in all £8,000. The amount to be raised by each collector is exactly specified, and it is required that the money be paid to the Bardi of Florence "in part payment of a great sum of money lent to the king" (fn. 54) The amount to be raised in the port of London is £1,390, but the whole of the revenue here is not available for the Bardi, owing to the claims of William and Richard de la Pole The latter share the customs revenue of London with the Bardi, and in addition receive by assignment all monies from the customs in Ipswich, Yarmouth, Lynn, Boston, Kingston-upon-Hull, Hartlepool, and Newcastleupon-Tyne, because they have undertaken to provide the King with £20 daily for the maintenance of his household (fn. 55) Assignments from the customs revenues, such as the above, are the security most often accorded to the merchants for repayment of loans

The provision of money for the maintenance of the royal household had become one of the functions of the Bardi very shortly after the date of the writ just quoted

The Exchequer was ordered on 20 August, 1329, to make speedy payment to the Bardi out of monies received "as much is owing to them," (fn. 56) and as they had promised to find a certain sum (£20) daily for the expenses of the King's household for a certain time (fn. 57)

This payment appears to have continued until All Saints' Day, 1331, and the day on which the payments commenced is elsewhere given as 17 August, 1329 (fn. 58) Collectors of customs were ordered to make payments direct to the Bardi, and the Exchequer was to cause tallies at the receipt to be levied for the sums the "customers" paid to the Bardi in execution of the King's orders, "because they pay daily to the King's Wardrobe for the expenses of his household," and the tallies were to be delivered to the merchants, or their attorneys, for the discharge of the said collectors (fn. 59) This maintenance of the household for 807 days, involved a sum of £16,140, but the merchants would be receiving repayment, more or less continuously, from the customs, etc, throughout the period (fn. 60)

Under date 15 November, 1331, it is stated that the Bardi have agreed to find 1,000 marks per month for the royal household from 1 December to 1 October next, and an assignment was made in their favour "on the old custom of London, and on the old and new customs of Boston, Kingston-upon-Hull, Lynn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Hartlepool, also on a moiety of the old custom of Southampton (because with assent of the Bardi, the other moiety is assigned to certain merchants of Aquitaine) (fn. 61) and on all the new custom there to an amount not exceeding 500 marks yearly, with a further allocation of £1,000 out of the first issues paid by the Chamberlain of Wales, or from other monies of Wales, etc" (fn. 62)

The indenture drawn up at Windsor, containing the above details, concludes with an engagement "that the King will have regard to the Bardi for expenses of collecting, etc, in such manner as they shall consider themselves satisfied in reason" (fn. 63) The total liability of the Bardi under this obligation would be 11,000 marks (fn. 64)

There is some evidence, particularly later, after the beginning of the French War, that repayments from assignments were not always satisfactorily made, but even at this period grants for losses sustained were being made to the Bardi, one of these, under date 16 December, 1332, was a gift of £1,000 promised for the ensuing Easter, on account of the merchants' losses, and "for furnishing the expenses of the household to Michaelmas last" (fn. 65)

After the first day of October, 1332, there follows a period of two years, to Michaelmas, 1334, during which the Bardi do not appear to be making the same regular contributions for the upkeep of the Royal Household which they had made for three years previously They did make certain payments which are recorded, but with one exception, they were all in the last five weeks prior to Michaelmas, 1334 The entries relative to these transactions may be summed up as follows - An acknowledgment of the King's indebtedness to the Bardi on 2 May, 1333, in £1,071 paid for the expenses of the household and other purposes, with an assignment on the customs of the port of London, (fn. 66) on 28 August, 1334, an order for repayment out of the customs of Southampton, and the custody to the merchants of one part of the "cocket" seal in that port, because they had lately paid 500 marks to Richard de Ferriby, keeper of the Wardrobe, for expenses of the household, (fn. 67) -on 12 September 1334, an order for payment from the old custom in the port of London, of £200, which had likewise been paid to Richard de Ferriby, as before, (fn. 68) -and lastly, under the privy seal as in the two former cases, an assignment out of the first issues of the coinage in the Stannary of Cornwall, because the Bardi had advanced two sums of money, one of which was 600 marks, paid to Richard de Ferriby for the household (fn. 69) If the whole of the £1,071 mentioned above be included (although not entirely for the household) these payments amount to £2,004 6s 8d or 3,006½ marks, about sufficient, at the previous rate (fn. 70) to have maintained the household for three months Certainly therefore, use must have been made of other sources of supply during the remaining twenty-one months of the period under consideration

At the end of this two years the regular contributions of the merchants once more commenced On 1 October, 1334, a grant from the old and new customs of London, Southampton, Boston, and Kingston-upon-Hull, saving certain other specified assignments, (fn. 71) was made to the Bardi, who were again supplying 1,000 marks monthly for the household for a year from Michaelmas last (fn. 72) Their loans for this period (ending Michaelmas, 1335) would therefore be 12,000 marks Again, on 12 December, 1335, a further assignment on the customs was made in favour of the Bardi, because they had arranged to find 500 marks per calendar month from 1 Novem ber, 1335, until the ensuing Michaelmas (fn. 73) This must have involved them in the payment of 6,000 marks It is, however, hardly likely that the expenses of the household had been cut down by fifty per cent, hence it seems probable that a further 500 marks per month was being obtained elsewhere Once more, on 2 October, 1336, the Bardi had undertaken to find 6,000 marks for the year ending Michaelmas, 1337 (fn. 74) It appears to be certain, therefore, from the foregoing, that this one company provided the household of the King with at least £41,477 13s 4d during the years from 17 August, 1329, to Michaelmas, 1337 (fn. 75)

Beyond one entry on 18 October, 1337, which orders the "customers" of Southampton to pay to the Bardi up to 2,000 marks everything-from the issues of the customs-from the subsidy of 20/- per sack on every sack of wool exported, granted to the King at Nottingham-and also from the loan of 20/- per sack of wool exported by foreign merchants- "because they (the Bardi) pay the expenses of the household" (fn. 76), the Patent and Close Rolls cease for the moment to afford evidence as to the contributions of the Bardi for household expenses This may be due in part to the commencement of the French War and the King's frequent absence abroad, for the contributions of the merchants are usually designated from this time onwards as "for war requisites" in some form The above entry, however, seems to indicate that the Society continued to assist in the maintenance of the household after Michaelmas, 1337, and there is definite evidence that they did so assist a year or two later This will be again mentioned in due course (fn. 77)

The King's immediate household was not, however, alone in its reliance and dependence upon the financial resources of the Bardi Queen Philippa, Queen Isabella, and Edward, Earl of Chester, required and received assistance Queen Philippa received £400 for household expenses prior to 21 December, 1330, (fn. 78) and £2,268 15s od "paid at various times" for the same purpose by 4 February, 1333 (fn. 79) The Bardi are stated to have lent £4,535 11s 11d for the debts of Queen Philippa on 10 October, 1337, (fn. 80) and previously on 18 March, 1337, they had been ordered to pay £500 which they had received from the papal collector of the King's moiety of the clerical tenth, etc, "to John Darcy 'the nephew' as part payment of £1,000 which the King promised to pay to John for Queen Philippa, being part of a large sum the Queen owes John for the manor of Wark in Tyndale, which she has bought from him" (fn. 81)

£900 had been paid to Queen Isabella prior to 5 February, 1333, (fn. 82) and on 6 May, 1336, the King acknowledged his indebtedness to the Bardi for £7,200 (fn. 83) paid to the Queen his mother On 15 November of the same year the Society was ordered to lend £250 to Edward, Earl of Chester, the King's son, for expenses of his household, another equal sum being found otherwise (fn. 84)

Very varied are some of the incidental necessities of the sovereign which the Bardi relieved-£100 for the funeral expenses of John of Eltham, the King's brother (fn. 85) -1,000 marks, part of which was for the expenses "of our sister Eleanor's passage beyond sea" (fn. 86) -1,635 marks on Eleanor's behalf (fn. 87) £1,000 being probably "her marriage portion" which was paid to Reginald, (fn. 88) Count of Gueldres-392½ marks paid to the King of Sicily (fn. 89) -£300 the King's gift to Queen Philippa (fn. 90) - £7 8s 4d to a London merchant for "spicery" (fn. 91) -£19 11s od for "couriers" on the King's business (fn. 92) -25 marks "to Colard Maloysel, yeoman of the Countess of Julich, sister to Queen Philippa, for bringing news to the said Queen of the birth of a child to the Countess" (fn. 93) -£1,000 to Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, in aid of the marriage of his daughter with the eldest son of Thomas de Brotherton, Earl of Norfolk, and Marshal of England, paid at the King's request (fn. 94) - £2,417 10s 3d for diverse jewels of gold and silver, delivered into the Wardrobe for the "solemnisation of the King's marriage" (fn. 95) -£22 for two cups bought for the King through Thomas West (fn. 96) -£863 7s 8d to Antonio 'Bache' for redemption of gold and silver jewels which the King had pawned to raise a loan (fn. 97) -£200 to Lapinus Roger, keeper of the table for the King's "exchange" at Dover (fn. 98) -4/8 to the King's smith in the Tower of London for his expenses in making tackle and an anchor for the "Christopher" (fn. 99) -40 marks to Raymond Spiawie of Bayonne, a poor, old, and faithful servant of the King and his father (fn. 100) -and even £27 8s 10d (fn. 101) and £97 17s 11d (arrears at 3/1 per day for nearly two years) (fn. 102) for the upkeep of the King's menagerie of lions and leopards in the Tower of London

The above entries, chosen somewhat at random, will serve to indicate the universality of interests for which the resources of the merchants were requisitioned, but of course it was mainly as a result of hostilities that such assistance from them was necessary The war, especially in its earlier stages, entailed a lavish expenditure in the form of "fees" or "pensions" to numerous dignitaries to retain them in Edward's service (fn. 103) The case of John of Hainault will serve by way of illustration On 7 February, 1327, the King assigned to him 1,000 marks annually, out of the customs of the Port of London, until the King should provide him with land to that amount in England (fn. 104) Dino Forzetti and his fellows of the Society of the Bardi of Florence were appointed by John, on 28 June, 1329, as his attorneys in London to receive this sum for him (fn. 105) It is stated on 16 June, 1329, that the Bardi have promised to pay to John of Hainault £7,406 6s 9d in full payment of a greater amount due to him from the King (fn. 106) 10,000 marks from the King of Scotland was part of the assignment to them on this occasion, but they do not appear to have received it, although, apparently, it was paid to the King (fn. 107) John's pension of 500 marks half-yearly was regularly paid by the merchants from Easter, 1329, to Michaelmas, 1336, and although after this date, with one or two exceptions (fn. 108) the pension does not appear to have been paid through the Bardi, John of Hainault is indicated as receiving it until Michaelmas, 1345, (fn. 109) that is to say, to within twelve months of the battle of Crécy, in which he was an adherent to the King of France, Philip of Valois Like many another of Edward's German and Netherlandish allies he was probably more anxious to acquire his remuneration than to render any very effectual services

Pope John xxii, by a bull dated 30 June, 1329, imposed a four-yearly tenth on the clergy of England, Ireland, and Wales, and also reserved the first-fruits of vacant benefices for the same period This was done with the connivance of the King, to whom a moiety of the above was granted The Papal Collector in England, (fn. 110) who would have to account with the King for the moiety due to the latter, was ordered to pay the King's share to the Bardi, for the whole of it was, in due course, part by part, made over to them as payment for services rendered to the King (fn. 111) When the papal agent fur nished his statement as to the result of the first three years' collection, he gave particulars of the amounts received and in arrears, and of the sums paid over to the Bardi These details are of some little interest As regards the first-fruits of vacant benefices, over £10,312 is due, of which £8,135 has been collected The King's share was therefore over £4,067, of which the collector had paid over already the sum of £3,627 Of this, however, the Bardi had only received a little under £648

The clerical tenth of course was more productive The amount due for the first three years was £57,075, at the rate of £19,025 per annum The collector requested that £1,890 might be allowed to himself for expenses of collection and because of exemptions granted to certain cardinals beneficed in England The balance due was then £55,185, of which the King's moiety was about £27,593 Four acquittances were produced by the collector shewing that he had paid £26,000 to the Bardi, and had advanced £1,000 for the King in Ireland (fn. 112)

The death of Pope John xxii in December, 1334, is said to have interfered with the completion of the collection of the above tenth, and the King summoned the members of the Societies of the Bardi and Peruzzi and others to discuss the question It is stated that the King considered that the advice of the merchants would be most opportune for the completion and happy disposition of this affair (fn. 113)

The Calendars of Patent and Close Rolls contain very little of importance relative to the dealings of the merchants of the Society of the Peruzzi of Florence with Edward III prior to the year 1336 Though they were undoubtedly trading in the country, they do not appear to have been very closely associated with the affairs of the Court

In 1330 they were acting in concert with the Bardi, as attorneys for the Count of Julich, receiving for him the pension allowed him by Edward III (fn. 114) In 1333, licence was granted to Neri Perini, Arrigo Accorsi, Giovanni Giuntini, and his companions of the Society of the Peruzzi dwelling in England, to take certain of their wools to the staples appointed, and to export them, after paying the customs, where they will, notwithstanding the ordinance of the staple directing that all wools shall be bought at the staples (fn. 115)

Privileges of this kind, also accorded to the Bardi, may be taken as evidence that the Peruzzi were doing considerable private trade They dealt extensively in wool with the various religious houses (fn. 116) -as did the Bardi and others also-and they also cultivated business relations with the nobility They were connected with the affairs of Hugh le Despenser the younger, and had to account to the King for certain properties, when the whole of his effects was forfeited to the Crown (fn. 117) There is also a record of negotiations with the Prior of the Order of S John of Jerusalem in England who pledged over 15,000 animals to the Bardi and the Peruzzi, together with 40 sacks of wool, and silver vessels worth 200 marks, in return for a loan of 2,681 marks The same prior also acknowledged his indebtedness to the societies in a sum of 34,000 marks, which he duly repaid (fn. 118)

The Peruzzi family was of considerable importance in Florence, and during the days of the Republic produced ten "gonfalonieri" and fifty-four "priori" (fn. 119) The Head, or Director, of the Company during the period under consideration was Tommaso d'Arnoldo Peruzzi till 1331, then Giotti d'Arnoldo Peruzzi till 1336, then Bonifazio di Tommaso Peruzzi, who, compelled to leave Florence and visit London in 1339, when the affairs of the company became precarious, died there in 1340, "perchance," says Peruzzi, "from grief, foreseeing the impending catastrophe to his family, and to Florence" He was succeeded as Director by his brother Pacino di Tommaso Peruzzi, who was a signatory to the "arrangement" of 6 September, 1347 (fn. 120)

The Society maintained agents in all important centres where they traded, their London representative being Giovanni di Tano Baroncelli, whose family, in common with those of Giovanni Villani, the chronicler, Gherardo Gentili, Stefano Uguccioni, Baldo Orlandini, Francesco Forzetti, and others, had been connected with the company for over fifty years (fn. 121)

In the year 1336 the Peruzzi advanced to the King sums amounting to £4,666 13s 4d for urgent matters and for the King's secret business beyond the sea, and were promised payment by fixed dates out of the tenth and fifteenth (in four counties) granted to the King by the commonalty of the realm and by the citizens and burgesses thereof (fn. 122) This is all that is recorded for the year, but a very different state of activity is at once evident with the advent of the year 1337, in the first six months of which the company has provided the King with more than £18,000 (fn. 123) Moreover, it is fairly evident that the Patent and Close Rolls do not contain a record of the whole of the transactions with the company For example, an entry, dated February, 1337, mentions that the Peruzzi have lent to the King £11,732 13s 4d for his war with Scotland and for the defence of the realm, (fn. 124) of which there is no definite account given, and further, in September, the King acknowledged his indebtedness to the Society, first for £28,000, then for £35,000, the former amount being included in the latter (fn. 125) The Company, however, lent to the King £2,000 at the beginning of September, (fn. 126) so that, if we may assume that the £18,000 and £11,732 above mentioned, are independent amounts, which seems probable, there is evidence of debt to the extent of about £32,000 Further, the entry of 2 September, re the £35,000 which the King acknowledged, states that the Peruzzi have already lent the greater part of it, and are about to pay the rest (fn. 127) Now the loans of the Company to the King were fairly continuous for some little time after this date, generally for purposes more or less connected with the war-as, for example, £100 for fitting out ships for the King's service, (fn. 128) £130 wages of mariners, conveying the King's envoys back to the realm, (fn. 129) £100 for building a galley at New Hythe, Kent, (fn. 130) 1,000 marks to the Earls of Salisbury and Huntingdon, and to the Bishop of Lincoln (fn. 131), £200 for services rendered to Master Richard Bintworth, King's Clerk, (fn. 132) and (January, 1338) the sum of £7,139 16s 8d for specified purposes, of which £4,472 3s 4d was for Henry, Bishop of Lincoln, and the two Earls of Salisbury and Huntingdon, when sent as the King's envoys beyond the sea (fn. 133)

In this connection, however, the most striking fact is, that there is an entry on the Liberate Rolls of the Exchequer, dated 15 October, 1337, which seems to prove that the huge sum of £35,000 was actually paid from the King's Exchequer to the Society of the Peruzzi on one writ alone (fn. 134)

The making of gifts to the merchants by way of compensation for losses sustained through delay or failure on the part of the King to meet his obligations was a practice to which resort was frequently made It was, no doubt, in some cases, a subterfuge by means of which interest on money lent could be paid to the merchants, without direct contravention of the laws against all usury In some cases the King paid interest expressly as such (fn. 135) and he was frequently compelled to pledge articles of great value-even the crown of England, (fn. 136) two crowns of Queen Philippa, (fn. 137) or the jewels in the Tower, upon occasion-before he could obtain money at all At other times the security took the form of the detention of some important dignitary of the realm, the Earl of Derby, for example, at the time of the crisis of 1340 and 1341 The Archbishop of Canterbury was also bound for the King's debts to certain men of Louvain, who would have imprisoned him without doubt, if they could have obtained possession of his person, but the Archbishop protected himself against both the King and the merchants, by wisely remaining within the precincts of his Cathedral of Canterbury (fn. 138) Even the King himself was little better than a prisoner in Ghent, when in November, 1340, he dared not leave openly on account of his debts but was compelled to have recourse to clandestine departure (fn. 139)

A very definite example of the payment of interest by the King occurs in an indenture between the King and the Leopardi, where the former acknowledges that he owes to the latter (for non-payment of a sum of £9,897 6s 0d at the stipulated time) a further sum of £1,386, calculated at the rate of £346 10s 0d per month, for a period of four months This amounts to 3½% per month, or 42% per annum approximately (fn. 140) Again, in June, 1341, the King being in debt to certain men of Brussels, it is stated that he has paid to the Bardi 430 marks, which they, at the request of Henry of Lancaster, Earl of Derby, have paid for the King, 'in order to obtain respite for a time' from the payment of a sum of about 4,000 marks This is about 10¾% of the total, but an exact computation is impossible in this instance as the time is not specified (fn. 141) Further, in the same month as the preceding, the King, considering the services rendered to him by the Bardi and Peruzzi, and finding that they have not been able to obtain 1,800 sacks of wool granted for export with the ease that was presumed, now permits them to take 300 sacks, and allows them to have 2½ marks per sack (of the 40/custom and subsidy) by way of rebate on the King's debts to them, provided that they pay the remaining half mark to certain merchants of "Almain" to whom the King has granted the customs, etc, in all ports of the realm (fn. 142) This is not so definite and certain an example of interest, as those before given, as it depends upon whether the 300 sacks here mentioned are, or are not, part of the grant of 1,800 sacks A careful collation of the several entries relating to these 1,800 sacks and stipulating the ports from which they are to be taken, has led to the conclusion that the 300 sacks are probably by way of compensation for delay in the acquisition of the larger grant (fn. 143) It is perhaps almost impossible to arrive at certainty, as in the case of most of the larger grants of wool made to the Bardi and Peruzzi, the latter appear never to have been able within a reasonable time, or indeed at all, to acquire the total number of sacks allocated to them

An example of the payment of interest covertly occurs at the very beginning of the reign In September, 1327, the King acknowledged a debt to the Bardi of £2,066 13s 4d, of which £500 is described as "recompense for delay in repayment" of various sums of money by the King (fn. 144)

Direct gifts to the merchants, particularly to the Bardi, are of somewhat frequent occurrence prior to the year 1339 After this date there is a marked scarcity of these awards, two or three alone being recorded Occasionally gifts were made to the wives or daughters of the merchants, probably as Bond suggests, with a view to securing the grant to some particular individual, and so preventing its absorption by the funds of the Company Five of these grants were made in June, 1339 -to the wives of Gherardo Boninsegni, Bartolommeo de' Bardi, and Dino Forzetti, of the Society of the Bardi, and to the wife of Tommaso d'Arnoldi Peruzzi, and the daughter of Bonifazio di Tommaso Peruzzi, to the last named on the occasion of her marriage (fn. 145) The Bardi were paid in July, 1340, there is no entry on the Liberate Rolls as regards the two grants to the Peruzzi

By far the most remarkable of these grants are the two huge gifts of 28 June, 1339, £30,000 to the Bardi, and £20,000 to the Peruzzi, "in remembrance of time subsidies for the King's service, and their losses, labours, and expenses endured for him" (fn. 147) It would be interesting to know whether these payments ever were really made, it seems to be almost impossible that they could have been made in one sum, and if it became a matter of assignment, there is grave doubt as to whether the greater part ever would be received by the merchants Besides the gifts specified above there are several other large awards, or promises of award, notably-one of £10,000, (fn. 148) one of £4,000, (fn. 149) one of 4,000 marks, (fn. 150) two of £2,000, (fn. 151) one of 2,000 marks, (fn. 152) and five of £1,000, (fn. 153) to the Bardi, and one of £9,000 (fn. 154) to the Peruzzi Many of these were not actual payments-promise to pay on a certain date was given, or an assignment on some tax or on the customs, etc, was stipulated Possibly also the gifts were sometimes made with a view to inducing the merchants to negotiate further advances, certainly several indentures drawn up between themselves and the King refer quite pointedly to both assignments and further loans, (fn. 155) and it is occasionally stated that the King has taken the merchants under his protection, on account of the services they have rendered to him, "and more especially because the merchants have granted that they will make a further loan of the sums assigned to them, when they obtain these" (fn. 156) The King found it necessary to protect the merchants by letters patent with respect to the gifts he made to them, stating expressly that the sums assigned by the King and the late King to the merchants "have been pure gifts made of mere liberality, and they are quit in respect of them" (fn. 157) This was probably necessary to prevent various royal officials from charging the gifts against the Companies The King also performed occasionally some act of favour at the request of the merchants, as for example the conferring of a minor office on some person preferred by them, (fn. 158) whilst on at least one occasion, he appealed to the Doge and Community of Venice for fair treatment of the Bardi in a dispute between themselves and that city (fn. 159)

It has already been remarked that the Bardi and Peruzzi were apparently trading in concert shortly after the commencement of the year 1337 In this year the dealings of the Peruzzi with the Crown first become very prominent as the King's necessities were greatly enhanced by the imminence of war with France The Peruzzi appear at a first glance to have been more generously treated in the way of repayments by the King than were the Bardi who had really done more for him, but deeper investigation would be necessary for the absolute determination of this point The loans and assignments to the merchants afford evidence in many cases after a cursory examination that the share taken by the Bardi was to that of the Peruzzi in the ratio of three to two, in fact, that this was so, is once or twice expressly stated (fn. 160) The merchants were once again contributing to the upkeep of the royal household for a period of one year from 1 June, 1340 (fn. 161) They were to find 2,000 marks per month of 28 days-in sterling when the King was in England and in current money for trade when he was abroad (fn. 162) The money was stated to be for the maintenance of the King's family, and for the wages of his servants, serjeants, etc, and it was to be paid monthly, as to 1,200 marks by the Bardi, and as to the remaining 800 marks by the Peruzzi, (fn. 163) according to agreement entered into between themselves and the King on 28 May, 1340 (fn. 164) Assuming that this arrangement was observed it must have entailed an expenditure of 26,000 marks by the societies, and to enable them to meet it the King assigned to them all the subsidy of the ninth of sheaves, fleeces, and lambs, and the ninth of movables of the citizens and burgesses in the county of Gloucester of the first year The King emphasised the necessity of the strict observance of this grant to the merchants, (fn. 165) but it is very probable that they would experience the usual difficulty in obtaining repayments, especially after the conversion of the subsidy of the ninth, etc, into a subsidy of a definite number of sacks for the King in the Parliament of 1341, a procedure which would no doubt render their assignment invalid in its first form and would occasion application for some other allocation (fn. 166) Prior to this, a further grant had been made to the merchants towards household expenses An assignment of £2,650 for the Peruzzi and £3,600 for the Bardi was granted and apportioned to twenty-two ecclesiastical collectors to be paid to the merchants from the biennial tenth granted by the clergy It is stated that the Bardi complained that they had at the end of the year found £2,369 11s 8d more than they had received, and an order was made for this to be paid to them (fn. 167) Since their share of the payment was 15,600 marks, this goes to prove that they obtained repayment to the extent of £8,030 8s 4d

Edward's only chance for the successful prosecution of the war lay in his ability with the assent and assistance of the merchants to manipulate the wool trade, as this provided the only real source of revenue on which he could rely for an extended period In March, 1338, (fn. 168) it was agreed between the King and the Bardi and Peruzzi that the former should deliver to the latter all the wool (understood to be about 25,000 sacks (fn. 169) ) granted to him in England, and that the merchants should sell them for as much as they could for the King's profit The merchants were to have controllers to write down what they received and sold, and the King wished them to take the sacks as a rebate on that in which he was, or for which he would be, bound to them Various assignments, dependent upon numerous stipulations, were then made to the merchants, and they undertook to advance £15,000 and to observe several conditions The King further undertook to bring on his ships "to the sum of 2,000 sacks of the levies of the merchants," as quickly as possible, "at their cost and freightage, to sell them, if they can better supply the King's needs" (fn. 170) The custom on the wool was to be rebated to the merchants on that which the King owed to them at the rate of forty shillings per sack No levies were to pass out of England except those of the Brabançons and the Germans until all the said levies had passed and were sold Further, the King, realising that the merchants by undertaking these things were put in rebellion to the King of France, and would be in danger of losing what they had in his realm, promised to make amends to them for such losses Finally, the merchants were to have every facility granted to them to enable them to carry out their part of the undertaking whenever and wherever the same might be needed This example may well serve to illustrate the manner in which the merchants were made serviceable to the King,-there was more involved than a mere loan and its repayment with or without interest-the merchants were to trade with the King's goods, they were, so to speak, to invest his wool in their business and account with him for the profit accruing on his "shares" There can be little doubt that the heavier customs and other dues, charged on the wool, would assist the merchants in efforts to buy more cheaply from the English producer, and the merchants would enhance the price as much as possible when selling in the Low Countries This procedure in turn would be aided by Edward, if as promised, he prevented the export of all other wool until these particular wools were sold The extreme slowness with which the King's wool was collected made the advances of the merchants still more necessary to the monarch who required immediate supplies During the autumn and winter of 1338-1339 a large fleet was held in readiness for transport at Harwich The date of its departure is uncertain, but presumably it must have set sail before 24 March, 1339, since it does not appear to have been destroyed by the French, when, on that day, they sacked the town (fn. 171) As time went on supplies of wool for the King became more and more difficult to secure, and in September, 1340, the Bardi were aiding him with their own wool "as he could not have the wool granted to him by Parliament, so readily as he believed at the time of the grant" (fn. 172)

In the section on Florentine affairs above, (fn. 173) an attempt was made to trace out certain influences at work in Florence, Naples, and France, which were contributing from 1339 onwards, and especially after 1343, to the ultimate downfall of the Florentine financiers Similar forces were at work in England centring around the King's pecuniary necessities due to his wars with Scotland and France The situation really became acute after the war with France became inevitable in 1337, and there was much native jealousy and irritation caused by the presence and operations of the merchants, and by the royal favour bestowed upon them There may have been conspiracy on the part of English merchants against them, and the King may have been involved in it (fn. 174) -one thing is certain, that the storm seems to overwhelm them quite suddenly and without any very obvious cause The Bardi and Peruzzi appear to have themselves requested an audit of their accounts and payment of what was owing to them As a result of the audit we find the merchants in prison, seemingly convicted of malpractices, but with no specific charge against them except that they owe a large sum of money to the King, of which he demands payment by a fixed date under penalties, whilst admitting that his own debts to the merchants are greater than theirs to him (fn. 175) The King graciously accorded his royal pardon to the merchants a little later, (fn. 176) but did not do anything further towards alleviating their distress. It remains, however, to examine events a little more closely

There is notice of an audit of the accounts of the Bardi, taken with a view to the making of payment or assignment to them, as early as 1336, (fn. 177) It was therefore quite natural that they should ask for an audit at a later date, and perhaps, expect the same result There seems to have been a tendency to desire the institution of a periodic audit of accounts, even of the royal accounts, about this time, on the part of the Commons, but no such result was obtained during the reign of Edward III (fn. 178) Signs of aversion to the foreigners are early evident John Molyns was entrusted with the arresting of all foreign merchants of Lombardy and elsewhere, except partners of the Bardi and Peruzzi, (fn. 179) in 1337, and in 1338 Edmund de la Beche, King's clerk, had a similar commission, and was not to be liable for impeachment or disturbance as a result of his appointment (fn. 180) The King issued notice to the Exchequer in September of this year, not to pay any fees to the King's ministers by "writs of liberati" even though these writs be brought to them, nor cause any fees of the ministers to be allowed until they had received other mention by the King's writs This action is defended on the ground that the King was incurring great expense for the defence of the realm, and to recover the rights of his crown, and that, as all ought to assist in this, he had ordained, with the assent of the council, that the yearly fees of all ministers, as stated above, should cease, unless some of the ministers were so needy that they could not manage without this, and that the money should be applied in the meantime to the support of the said charges (fn. 181) This order serves to show the trend which affairs were taking, and in the next year it was followed by another which affected the merchants more closely On account of his necessity the King revoked on 6 May, 1339, all assignments, of money or other things, made by him or his ministers, before or after his passage beyond sea, "other than for defence of castles and towns in Scotland, and to the Bardi and Peruzzi," and of all respites of debts made since his last transfretation, and ordered that, until his return, no fees should be paid to any justices, barons of Exchequer, clerks promoted, or other ministers, who have other means of support (fn. 182) This writ is exceedingly important, but it appears to indicate that exception was made in favour of the Bardi and Peruzzi, and this point of view also seems to be strengthened by subsequent entries in the Patent and Close Rolls On 18 May, 1339, (fn. 183) protection and safe-conduct were granted to the Peruzzi, who had made large subsidies for the King's service, since he went beyond seas and before, and had promised to pay large sums for him in England,-their goods were to be treated with the same care as if they were the King's goods, on 15 June, five weeks after the "revoking" order, £10,000 was assigned to the Bardi, (fn. 184) on the 26th of the same month an order for the payment of certain monies to individuals who had victualled the fleet expressly contained the words "in spite of assignment of this money to the Bardi, and assignment to them being excepted in recent order revoking all assignments made before this time," (fn. 185) lastly, on 28 June, 1339, a writ was issued permitting William de la Pole to have his assignments, in spite of the "revoking" order (as he cannot otherwise continue to supply the King)-and this writ was to be obeyed "although the King lately revoked all assignments except those made to the Bardi and Peruzzi for the munition and defence of his castles and towns in Scotland" (fn. 186) No doubt the order of 6 May, 1339, was sufficiently serious as indicating how little the merchants might ultimately expect from the King, and it was no doubt wise that the Director of the Society of the Peruzzi should come at once to London to attend to the affairs of his firm, (fn. 187) but the final breach with the English monarch had not yet occurred

Edward promised, on 4 August, 1339, to protect and pay both the Bardi and Peruzzi, and enjoined his son to attend to the carrying out of this, if he should fall in the wars Seven witnesses vouched for the good faith of the King, and the writ referred to the sufferings of the two firms through their services to him, which had caused them to lose capital and credit, to undergo imprisonment, and to be called on suddenly for repayment through fears as to their solvency (fn. 188) A commission was appointed in July, 1340, possibly owing to the complaints of Parliament, to examine and audit the receipts and payments (from the time of the granting of the tenth for three years, and notwithstanding any acquittances or pardons made by the King) of the Bardi and Peruzzi and others, and the writ expressly states that the grants to the merchants had been made on the understanding that the King would do this (fn. 189) Nothing of importance appears to have resulted from the appointment of this commission, but it is very probable that the Bardi and Peruzzi were receiving very little repayment in comparison with the amounts owing to them from this time onwards, and we are informed in July, 1341, when a new assignment is being made to them, that it is "for relief of their estate, much depressed in these days by large payments made and undertaken on his (i e the King's) account" (fn. 190)

Under date 19 October, 1342, appears what seems to be the earliest notice of the appointment of the commission of "oyer and terminer," which was to examine all accounts of the Bardi and Peruzzi touching wool, jewels, money, and other things of the King received by them as well beyond seas as within, for which they should account (fn. 191) This Committee probably did not sit immediately, and when it did meet, its deliberations seem to have been unduly prolonged (fn. 192) At first the commissioners numbered four, but in January, 1343, their total was brought up to nine (fn. 193) They were required to audit the accounts of the merchants from the beginning of the twentieth year of the reign of Edward the Second (fn. 194) until a fixed date The treasurer and barons of the Exchequer were to search their files for all writs of allowance, warrants, etc, by which the merchants could have any allowance upon their accounts, and they were required to have the same transcribed, and sent under the Exchequer seal to the commissioners appointed to undertake the audit (fn. 196) No doubt, the examination of these accounts was a long and tedious process, and it does not appear to have been completed before the end of 1343 (fn. 197) Robert de Wodehouse and his fellows had been ordered to do all that was just and reasonable, and to make all proper allowance to the mer chants, (fn. 198) and further, if they came across anything doubtful, which had been claimed by the Bardi and Peruzzi, to put it by itself, so that when the matter came before the King and his council, they might declare as they thought fit (fn. 199) There are several writs to the Commissioners, and to the Exchequer authorities, requiring them to make various allowances to the merchants, and the latter were apparently not at all satisfied with the statement which the Commissioners, as requested, submitted to the Exchequer authorities This statement had to undergo examination in the Exchequer, and the treasurer and barons were urged to discharge the merchants of what was allowed to them in the accounts and proceed to a final issue in accordance with the law and custom of the Exchequer, always saving to the King and his council the discussion of any claims in the said accounts which the merchants had laid before the auditors (fn. 200) As a further commission was appointed on 5 February, 1344, to examine carefully all the data furnished to the King and council, and to certify them in the matter, it seems probable that the merchants had appealed against the finding of the earlier commissioners and the Exchequer There appears to be no further information about them until it is stated in the next month, March, 1344, that the King has issued a writ to the Sheriffs of London directing them to take certain of the Bardi and Peruzzi and all their fellows, and have them before the Chief Justice by a certain date, to satisfy the King for the trespasses and deceits whereof they were convicted before Robert Parvyng and his fellows (fn. 202)

This order was superseded for a time but not countermanded, and affairs were by no means progressing favourably for the Italians Giovanni di Portenari of Florence, and Antonio "Bache" were in the Fleet prison in March, 1343, for arrears of account, (fn. 203) and Ridolfo di Peruzzi was there in June, 1344, in company with two other of his associates (fn. 204) Safe conduct and protection for a year was granted in February, 1345, to the Bardi, who were going through various counties, collecting monies of an assignment which the King had made to them from the clerical tenth and from the tenth and fifteenth of the laity granted to the King in the last Parliament, (fn. 205) but in June and July the King was issuing orders to the Constable of the Tower to keep certain of the Peruzzi safely lodged there until further orders, (fn. 206) and to the Sheriff of London not to permit certain of the Bardi to be released from prison until they had satisfied the King for the debts in which they were bound to him (fn. 207) The Bardi acknowledged in November of this same year that they owed the King £18,000 to be paid at Martinmas next, and the King granted that if £9,000 were paid at Martinmas, or before, the bond for £18,000 should be null, but otherwise the £18,000 should be rebated in the debt which the King clearly owed them, and if they failed in part in the payment, then the triple of what was lacking should be rebated in that debt (fn. 208)

What the faults of the merchants were is not here stated, (fn. 209) but it is conceivable that they might be such as might be condonable in the light of the conduct of the King, who appears to have treated them with considerable injustice Certain particulars given in April, 1345, deal almost exclusively with the Bardi and fix their accounts with the King at £50,493 5s 2½d for the period December, 1338, to July, 1340

The amount is made up of £30,264 12s 3½d actual loans in money to the King, £10,000 paid for the King and his council, and £10,228 12s 11d granted as a gift for services and losses Certain sums are then mentioned as having been received by the Bardi between December, 1342, and March, 1344, and it is stated that they are all accounted for by the merchants in the return presented by Robert de Wodehouse to the Exchequer, except a sum of £2,595 18s 2d still required from the Bardi at the Exchequer Finally the merchants are said to have been duly charged with all wools and other things which they have received (fn. 210) But this entry cannot possibly be the completed return of Robert de Wodehouse and his fellow commissioners, for it deals with a few years only of the period under discussion, it gives receipts for one period and loans for another, and it deals with the affairs of one company alone

The King promised in March, 1346, to pay the Bardi £23,082 3s 10½d due in their account begun before Robert de Wodehouse This entry is followed by a number of others mentioning debts of the Bardi to various individuals, and these were always deducted from the above amount, the King having undertaken to pay them In this way the sum owing to the Bardi was reduced apparently to £13,454 2s 11½d in 1348, after which date nothing further appears with regard to it (fn. 211) During this period, and indeed until 1360, the date of the last Patent Roll available, protections and safe-conducts were continuously issued for the Bardi, forbidding anyone to attempt to obtain any payments from them, as they owed the King a great sum, and might not be able to pay, if others were allowed to sue them for debt, and "according to the ancient prerogative of the Crown, the King ought to be pre ferred before others in the payment of debts" (fn. 212) The Calendars of the Close Rolls contain little of importance as to the Bardi and the Crown after 1345, but the merchants seem to have continued to trade in a very small way, (fn. 213) and a certain Gualtiero de' Bardi was master of the mint at the end of the reign of Edward III and at the beginning of that of Richard II (fn. 214) The only payment they appear to have received towards the acknowledged debt of £50,493 5s 2½d was one of £150 in October, 1347 (fn. 215) Many years later, in the reign of Richard II, under the date 10 November, 1391, occurs the following -

"Pardon and discharge, for reasons agreed upon between the Great Council of the one part, and Gualtiero de' Bardi, merchant of the Society of the Bardi of Florence, their attorney, of the other part, and for the salvation and discharge of the souls of the late King, the King, his heirs and executors, as well as divers lords spiritual and temporal of the realm, their heirs and executois, to the said Gualtiero and merchants, their heirs, executors, and attorneys, of all actions, suits, and demands, sums of money, or other things the value of money, due to the King from them, or current in demand at the Exchequer or elsewhere in the King's places" (fn. 216)

Such then appears to be the end of the transactions between the English Crown and the Bardi

There are but few facts recorded in the Calendars of the Patent and Close Rolls after 1345 as regards the Peruzzi They were still in the Tower in March, 1346, but not closely confined there, being free to go and come as they chose (fn. 217) The King's indebtedness to them in 1347 was given at £20,000, or rather, Walter de Chiriton and others, having assignments to the value of £40,000 were to satisfy the Peruzzi for the King (fn. 218) It is stated that Chiriton and his fellows had undertaken to pay £100,000 for the King's debts in Gascony and £20,000 to the Peruzzi (fn. 219) On the whole, however, the Peruzzi were, perhaps, somewhat more fortunate than the Bardi, for they appear to have received payments amounting to £6,375 in June, 1346, (fn. 220) and a further payment of £100 in August, 1352 (fn. 221) This is the last mention of the Society, perhaps they were among the Lombard merchants about whom the Commons complained as having left the country in that year (fn. 222)

Villani gives certain particulars as to the affairs of the companies He appears to have been himself financially interested to a small extent, first, in the Peruzzi, (fn. 223) with whom he had invested 2,000 lire, (fn. 224) and after 1308, in the Bonaccorsi He is said to have been imprisoned for a short time on the failure of the Companies (fn. 225) He notes the state of the accounts of the Societies in England at the time of the outbreak of war between that country and France, which was a serious misfortune to the Companies (fn. 226) Villani puts the loans of the Bardi to Edward at 180,000 marks, those of the Peruzzi at 135,000 marks, and evaluates the total at 1,365,000 florins of gold, (fn. 227) "the worth," says he, "of a kingdom" (fn. 228)

The date of the failure is given as January, 1345, (fn. 229) and the indebtedness of the King of England is fixed at 900,000 florms to the Bardi, and 600,000 to the Peruzzi The King of Naples had left debts of 100,000 florms to each company, therefore the grand total owing from the two Kings was 1,700,000 florins, or evaluating at the ratio used by Villani above, about £262,000 sterling The debts of the merchants in Florence and elsewhere amounted to about 900,000 florins, or about £138,000 The Acciaiuoli, Bonaccorsi, Cocchi, Antellesi, Corsmi, the Uzzani, Perendoli, many other small companies and private individuals were all involved in the general destruction of the commercial importance of the city, which was bitterly lamented by the Chronicler, but ultimately attributed to the justice of God, in the punishment of the sins of the people (fn. 230) The magistrates of Florence appealed on behalf of the Bardi to the King of England-" Regum Gloriosissime et Domine" -but apparently without effect, (fn. 231) the marked indifference of Edward and his Parliament being especially noted by Peruzzi (fn. 232) The King of France, instigated by the Duke of Athens, says Villani, made reprisals against the Florentines in his realm, (fn. 233) and before the end of 1345 several of the Bardi, being implicated in the introduction into the city of a number of coiners of false money from Siena, (fn. 234) were put to death in Florence The failure of the Florentines spread something very like panic throughout the trading communities of Europe, but an arrangement was ultimately arrived at and signed on 6 September, 1347, at a conference held in Florence under the auspices of the Commune (fn. 235) The names of the "syndics" appointed by the city to aid in the settlement of affairs between the societies and their creditors are given below, as are also those of the members of the companies at that period (fn. 236)

The Bardi appear to have paid about six soldi per lira, or about 30%, whilst the Peruzzi paid four soldi per lira, or about 20% (fn. 237)

To complete the account of the loans by Italians of this period to the sovereigns of England, it would be necessary to deal with numerous small companies and certain important individuals Such are the Acciaiuoli, Albertini, Leopardi, and Bonaccorsi, certain merchants of Lucca, Siena, and Genoa, the Portenari, Antonio Pessagno, Antonio "Bache," and others, (fn. 238) some of whom made very important contributions to the royal needs, and no doubt were among the Lombard merchants who left the country in 1352, (fn. 239) that is, such of them as escaped the general "débâcle" of 1345

Four great companies of Italian merchants had been ruined by dealings with English kings-the Riccardi of Lucca under Edward I, (fn. 240) the Frescobaldi of Florence under Edward II, (fn. 241) and the Bardi and Peruzzi under Edward III

The two last mentioned Companies advanced £73,500 (fn. 242) to the first Edward and his successor, and they appear to have found no less (if we include their contributions to the maintenance of the Household) (fn. 243) than £359,600 for Edward III (fn. 244) This gives a total loan of not less than £433,000 to the English Crown between the years 1290 and 1345, by the merchants of the Societies of the Bardi and Peruzzi of Florence alone

There is considerable ground then for the statement that as regards the repudiation of his obligations by Edward III of England "se non fu allora la sola causa per cui decadde la prosperitÀ della repubblica di Firenze, ne fu certamente una delle maggiori" (fn. 245) E Russell



(a) Lists of names of merchants of the Societies of the Bardi and Peruzzi of Florence, trading in England, during the reign of Edward III (Compiled from Calendars of Patent and Close Rolls)

(b) Names of members of the Companies at the time of their failure, and names of the "Syndics" appointed by the Commune of Florence, to aid in effecting a settlement between the Companies and their Creditors

Merchants of the Society of the Bardi of Florence trading in England during the reign of Edward the Third

Clavo Angelini Bauchino Belchari
Alessandro de' Bardi Pietro Bene
Bartolommeo de' Bardi Francesco di Bocci, or Boschi (fn. 249)
Bartolommeo di (Sir) Rodolfo de' Giovanni Boletti
Bardi (fn. 246) Gherardo Boninsegni
Bindo di Gianni de' Bardi (fn. 246) Tano Cecco (fn. 247)
Filippo de' Bardi Lottieri di Colino
Gualtiero di Filippo de' Bardi (fn. 246) (fn. 248) Dino Forzetti
Pietro di (Sir) Rodolfo de' Bardi (fn. 246) Giovanni di Francesco
(Sir) Rodolfo di Giovanni de' Manetto Franzesi
Bardi (fn. 246) (fn. 250) Andrea Gherardini
Taldo di (Sir) Rodolfo de' Bardi (fn. 246)

Merchants of the Society of the Bardi in England-continued

Alessandro Gianni (fn. 253) Pietro Maso
Filippo Gianni (fn. 253) Perotto Matr (fn. 251)
Lottieri Gianni (fn. 253) Giovanni di Mevane
Giotto di Giocchi (fn. 254) (fn. 255) Cione Migliori (fn. 256)
Giotto Ubertino di Giocchi (fn. 251) (fn. 255) Jacopo Niccolini
Francesco Grandoni Pietro Rinieri
Roberto Infangati Rinuccio Rinucci (fn. 258)
Ubertino Infangati (fn. 248) Giotto Roberti (fn. 248)
Francesco Lapi Tommaso Tedaldi
Niccolo Marini (fn. 248) Taldo Valori (fn. 257)
Niccolo Marsi (fn. 252)

In 1345, at the time of the failure of the Bardi and Peruzzi, the Company of the Bardi under Sir Ridolfo di Bartolo Bardi was thus composed -

Ridolfo di Bartolo Bardi Gherardo Boninsegni
Filippo Bardi Lapo Niccoli
Taldo Valori (fn. 259) Angiolo di Gherardo Lanfredini

The above subscribed the 'arrangement' arrived at on 6 September 1347

The following were the 'Syndics' appointed by the Commune to assist the Creditors of the Bardi -

Pegolotti Francesco Balducci Silvestro di Manetto Issachi
Piero di Lippo Aldobrandini Silvestro di Ricciardo Ricci
Silvestro di Rinieri Peruzzi Paolo di Cecco Gianni
Naddo Bucelli Jacopo di Piero Machiavelli
Giovanni Arnolfi

The above is taken from Peruzzi, pp 474 to 476

Merchants of the Society of the Peruzzi of Florence trading in England during the reign of Edward the Third

Annual Salary in Lire (fn. 260)
Arrigo Accorsi 145
Piero Aldobrandi (fn. 261)
Tommaso d'Arnoldo de' Bagnesi (at one time representative
of the Company in Genoa)
Giovanni di Tano Baroncelli (Representative in London)
Riccardo Baroncelli (fn. 261)
Piero Bernardini (fn. 261) (fn. 259)
Piero di Bernardino Dini (priore) (fn. 262) 80
Guido Donati 200
Riccardo Fangni 217 10 0
Bonfantino di Vanni Fantini
Jacopo di Gherardo Gentili (priore) 175
Jacopo Gherardi (fn. 261)
Giovanni Giuntini 145
Baldo Orlandini (fn. 265)
Piero di Simone di Giovanni Orlandini 100
Neri Perini (fn. 263) 290
Andrea di messer Amideo Peruzzi (fn. 266) 60
Bonifazio di Tommaso Peruzzi (priore, direttore, 1336-1340, died in London, 1340)
Filippo di Tommaso Peruzzi 70
Jacopo di Filippo Peruzzi 60
Ridolfo di Tommaso Peruzzi 100
Dionigi di Giovanni di Giotto Peruzzi 75

Merchants of the Society of the Peruzzi in England-continued

Roberto di Tommaso Peruzzi (fn. 270) 120
Tommaso d'Arnoldo Peruzzi (priore, direttore, 1300-1331)
Zanobi di Tano Raugi (priore) (fn. 269) 40
Giovanni Ricoveri (fn. 271)
Piero Simone (fn. 268)
Angelo Soderini (fn. 268)
Giovanni Stefano (fn. 268)
Riccardo di Geri Stefano (fn. 272) 70
Stefano Uguccioni

Those merchants who held office in Florence at any time, or were 'Directors' of the Company have the office indicated in brackets after the name, see Peruzzi, pp 250-265

Members of the Society of the Peruzzi from 1336 to the time of the failure, who subscribed the "arrangement" of 6 September, 1347 (Pacino di Tommaso Peruzzi was Head of the Company)

Bonifazio (fn. 273) and Pacino di Tommaso Peruzzi

Niccolo, Ottaviano, Andrea, and Napoleone d'Amideo Peruzzi

Pacino, Lepre, Sandro, and Giovanni di Guido Peruzzi

Tommaso di Messer Filippo Peruzzi

Berto di Messer Ridolfo Peruzzi

Donato di Pacino Peruzzi

Donato, and Bartolomeo di Giotto Peruzzi

Gherardino, and Giovanni di Tano, and Gherardo di Michi Baroncelli

Baldo di Gianni Orlandini

Francesco Forzetti

Ruggeri di Lottieri Silimanni

Filippo Villani (brother of the Chronicler)

Stefano d'Uguccione Bencivenni

Geri di Stefano Soderini

Giovanni, and Guccio di Stefano Soderini

The following were the "Syndics" appointed by the Commune to assist the creditors of the Peruzzi -

Sandro di Simone Quarata Braccino Feri
Filippo di Giovanni Macchiavelli Vanni Rondinelli
Zanobi di Ser Piero Ognano Manetto Filicaia
Cambino Signorini Ugolino Vieri

Taken from Peruzzi, pp 474 to 476


  • 1. The English Nouveaux-Riches in the Fourteenth Century, by Alice Law Trans Royal Hist Soc n 8, Vol IX See also S L Peruzzi, Storia del Commercio e dei Banchieri di Firenze, p 177
  • 2. Ib, p 58
  • 3. T A Trollope, The Commonwealth of Florence, II, 172
  • 4. Villani, p 827
  • 5. Peruzzi, p 67
  • 6. Villani, p 543
  • 7. Ib, p 569
  • 8. 23 Sept, 1325
  • 9. Yver, Le Commerce et les Marchands dans l'Italie meridionale, au xiiie et au xive siecle, p 316, but see Villani, p 629, where the text mentions 400,000 florins, and a footnote states "piu di ottocento migliaja di fiorini"
  • 10. Villani, p 670
  • 11. Ib, p 786
  • 12. Ib, p 822
  • 13. Yver, Le Commerce et les Marchands, etc, pp 319, 320
  • 14. Yver, p 319, and Villani, cap 71, see pp 98, 119, below
  • 15. Peruzzi, p 452, also pp 471, 472
  • 16. Villani, p 863
  • 17. Yver, op cit, pp 320, 321
  • 18. They encountered difficulties in their business enterprise even before this Cf C P R 1338-40, p 391
  • 19. Villani, p 871
  • 20. Ib, p 879, mentions the indignation of the "grandi" because one of the Bardi who had strangled one of the people for insolence was fined 500 florins'
  • 21. Ib, p 887
  • 22. Ib, p 890
  • 23. Ib, p 892
  • 24. Ib, p 880
  • 25. Ib, p 901
  • 26. Villani, p 902
  • 27. Ib, p 934
  • 28. 1309 to 1343
  • 29. Villani, p 956
  • 30. Villani himself was a victim of the pestilence, see the end of his Chronicle, p 1002
  • 31. Peruzzi, p 477
  • 32. Villani, p 936
  • 33. Rhodes, "Italian Bankers in England, and their Loans to Edward I and Edward II," in Historical Essays by Members of the Owens College, p 156
  • 34. Ib, pp 163, 164, appendix N
  • 35. Ib, p 163, appendix L The dates of the two transactions are 1311 and 1315 respectively
  • 36. Note-As regards the £900 mentioned above, it is probable that it does not fully represent the activities of the Peruzzi prior to the fall of Edward II, for there are among the extracts from the Liberate Rolls given by Sir Edward Bond at the end of his article in Archæoloqia, Vol xxviii, pp 207-326, three entries ordering payment from the Treasury, under date 26 May 1324, to the Bardi, the Scali, and the Peruzzi respectively of over 1,000 marks, "because they have lent, for our business, to the Constable of Bordeaux" in each case over 3,950 florins of gold of Florence (Bond, Appendices, CLXIV to CLXVI to the above named article) One of these societies, the Scali, had failed for more than 400,000 florins of gold prior to the accession of Edward III in England, on 31 July, 1326, the day after the entry of Charles, Duke of Calabria, into Florence, to assume the supreme authority in the city (Yver, Le Commerce et les Marchands, etc, p 317, Villani, p 603, where he describes this failure as more unfortunate than such a defeat as that of Altopascio)
  • 37. C C R 1339-41, p 419
  • 38. W A Shaw, The History of Currency, 1252-1894, p 302
  • 39. Yver, op cit, p 351
  • 40. C C R 1339-41, pp 175, 176, see Bond, p 224, as to ways of circumventing the laws against usury, also see Rhodes, "Italian Bankers in England," etc, p 140
  • 41. Famiglie celebri italiane, Conte Pompeo Litta, Vol I, fasc xiii, gives an account of the career of this important politician, ending with a reason for his withdrawal from activity in England "Mori dopo il 1344 Come mercante fiorentino era stato ricchissimo, avendo prestato 30 mila fiorini d'oro ad Odoardo III re d'Inghilterra per la guerra contro 1 Francesi, ma non avendo riscosso 1 crediti, abbandono disgustato 1 negozi" Although"Valori does not appear to have been actually in England after 1327, he did not withdraw from the Bardi He had married Francesca de' Bardi, and he was a member or partner in the Society at the time of its liquidation, see Appendix, p 133 below Probably Litta's statement merely signifies that Valori had 30,000 florins of his own private capital invested in the Company, which of course he would ultimately lose Peruzzi, p 456, has the following -" nella Storia Fiorentina dell' Ammirato si narra che Taldo Valori gonfaloniere di giustizia nel 1340 fu compagno della gran ragione dei Bardi in Londra egli era si ricco, che di sua proprieta, come apparisce nei libri di quella ragione, presto 30 mila fiorini d'oro"
  • 42. Appendix, pp 133-4, below
  • 43. C C R 1327-30, p 120
  • 44. Ib, p 221
  • 45. Ib, p 305
  • 46. Ib, p 310
  • 47. C P R 1327-30, p 23, see also Appendix below, for names of merchants
  • 48. C P R, p 124
  • 49. Ib, p 102
  • 50. C C R 1327-30, p 157
  • 51. 5 Edw II, cap 4 and cap 8, also 17 Edw II, Statute of the Exchequer
  • 52. C C R 1327-30, p 195, cf also C C R 1339-41, p 225
  • 53. Ib, pp 259, 362, 378, C P R 1327-30, p 230 These houses were ultimately granted, in return for his great services to the King, to William de la Pole, merchant, on 27 September, 1339 (C P R 1338-40, p 394)
  • 54. C C R 1327-30, p 311
  • 55. Ib, p 353, C P R 1327-30, pp 333, 338
  • 56. C P R 1330-4, p 52
  • 57. C C R 1327-30, p 488
  • 58. Ib, p 507, C C R 1330-3, p 15, and especially p 75
  • 59. Ib, 1327-30, p 507, also see C P R 1327-30, p 421, and C C R 1330-33, p 108
  • 60. Cf pp 101, 104 above
  • 61. C C R 1330-3, p 79, also p 105
  • 62. C P R 1330-4, p 228, C C R 1330-3, p 388
  • 63. Ib, p 413
  • 64. The entry has been assumed to signify that the first payment of 1,000 marks was made on 1 December, 1331, and the last on 1 October, 1332 (eleven payments) This would cover the period from All Saints' Day, 1331, to 1 October, 1332, and would give continuity with the previous loans made by the Bardi for the household
  • 65. C P R 1330-4, p 380
  • 66. C P R 1330-4, p 431
  • 67. Ib, 1334-8, p 6
  • 68. C C R 1333-7, p 250
  • 69. C P R 1334-8, p 23
  • 70. One thousand marks per month
  • 71. See below, pp 109, 110 (Exceptions for John of Hainault, the Count of Julich, and the Lord of Cuyk)
  • 72. C P R 1334-8, p 29, also see C C R 1333-7, p 345, where 'calendar' month is expressly specified
  • 73. C C R, p 456
  • 74. Ib 1333-7, p 615, Ib 1337-9, p 70
  • 75. C P R 1330-4, p 122, under date 21 May, 1331, acknowledges the King's indebtedness to the Bardi in £45 16s 8d paid through Richard de Bury for expenses of the household beyond sea This was probably incurred during Edward's clandestine journey to France (4 to 20 April, 1331) on which he met Philip of Valois near Pont Sainte Maxence (This £45 16s 8d is not included in the amounts given above) See Murimuth, p 63, Baker, Chronicon p 48, Deprez, Les préliminaires de la Guerre de Cent Ans, pp 74 to 76
  • 76. C C R 1337-9, p 195
  • 77. See pp 118, 119, below
  • 78. C C R 1330-3, p 86, C P R 1330-4, pp 32, 34
  • 79. Ib, p 399
  • 80. Ib 1334-8, p 534, C C R 1337-9, p 231
  • 81. Ib, p 41
  • 82. C P R 1330-4, p 398
  • 83. Ib 1334-8, p 261, C C R 1337-9, p 67
  • 84. Ib 1333-7, p 626
  • 85. Bond, "Extracts from the Liberate Rolls, etc," in Archæologia, Vol XXVIII, pp 207 to 326, App CLXXXVIII
  • 86. Ib, CLXXII
  • 87. Ib, CLXXIII
  • 88. C P R 1330-4, p 269
  • 89. Bond, App CLXXVII
  • 90. Ib, CLXXIX
  • 91. Ib, CLXXXIV
  • 92. Ib, CLXXXVI
  • 93. C P R 1327-30, p 523
  • 94. Ib, p 502.
  • 95. Ib, p 231
  • 96. C P R 1330-4, p 122
  • 97. Bond, App CLXXV
  • 98. C C R 1333-7, p 518
  • 99. Ib, 1337-9, p 230
  • 100. C C R 1333-7, p 615
  • 101. Bond, App CLXXXI
  • 102. C C R 1337-9, p 67
  • 103. Tout, p 332, Murimuth, p 84
  • 104. Foed, II, 11, 686
  • 105. Ib, 769, C C R 1327-30, p 557
  • 106. Ib, p 470 The King was heavily indebted to John of Hainault, chiefly for military assistance Baker, Chronicon, has this note, p 214 - he appears to have received the following payments 28 June, 1327, a warrant was issued in his favour for £700 (Foed, II, 708), 20 August, 1327, the sum of £4,000 was ordered to be paid to him, the jewels in the Tower to be pledged, if needful (Ib, p 713), 6 March, 1328, the King undertook to pay him £14,406 6s 9d in two instalments, for twice coming to his assistance (Ib, p 733), and ordered part payment amounting to £7,000 on 28 June (Ib, p 745), the other £7,000 appears to have been paid in May 1329, with money advanced by the Bardi of Florence (Ib, p 764, Archæologia, XXVIII, 257)
  • 107. Foed, II, ii, 795, 804, 805, C C R 1327-30, p 490 See also as regards this payment to John of Hainault, etc, Ib, pp 463, 554, C P R 1327-30, pp 254, 395, 418, Ib, 1330-4, p 11, C C R 1330-3, p 109
  • 108. Ib 1341-3, p 2 When the King granted the customs of London to the merchants of Almain, an exception in favour of John of Hainault was made See also p 409, where John's attorneys, not specified, may, or may not, be the Bardi (See p 406)
  • 109. Ib 1343-6, pp 161, 289, 309, 421, 518, 622, Ib 1341-3, p 406, states that the King still owes certain monies to John of Hainault
  • 110. Name given as Master Itherius de Concoreto
  • 111. Ib 1330-3, pp 60, 86, C P R 1327-30, p 549, Ib 1330-4, pp 11, 194, 212, 256, 273, 399, Ib 1334-8, p 391
  • 112. C P R 1330-4, pp 453, 454 In stating the amounts above, shillings and pence have been neglected
  • 113. C C R 1333-7, p 485
  • 114. C C R 1330-3, p 73
  • 115. C P R 1330-4, p 434
  • 116. Peruzzi, pp 71 to 79, gives a list of English and Scottish monasteries dealing with the Italian merchants
  • 117. C P R 1334-8, pp 277, 343, C C R 1333-7, pp 519, 599, 608, Ib 1337-9, pp 234, 235
  • 118. Ib 1333-7, pp 124, 126, 127
  • 119. Peruzzi, pp 159, 260
  • 120. Ib, pp 250, 251, 259, 475, see also App, p 135, infra
  • 121. Peruzzi, pp 251, 252
  • 122. C P R 1334-8, pp 249, 312, C C R 1333-7, p 609
  • 123. C P R 1334-8, pp 388, 430, 466, C C R 1337-9, pp 3, 25, 36, 42, 56
  • 124. Ib, pp 9, 51, 228, 229
  • 125. C P R 1334-8, pp 515, 517, see also C C R 1337-9, p 206
  • 126. C P R 1334-8, p 515
  • 127. Ib, p 517
  • 128. Ib, p 515
  • 129. C C R 1337-9, p 85
  • 130. Ib, p 86
  • 131. Ib, p 42
  • 132. Ib, p 157
  • 133. C C R 1337-9, p 232
  • 134. Bond, App cxciii
  • 135. See pp 101, 105, above
  • 136. C P R 1338-40, p 371, in connection with a loan of 111,000 florins of gold of Florence, see also C C R 1339-41, pp 597, 598, Ib 1341-3, p 448
  • 137. Ib 1341-3, p 565, cf Bond, App CLXXV, also C P R 1338-40, p 391
  • 138. Tout, p 350
  • 139. Ib, p 349, cf Stubbs, II, 532
  • 140. C C R 1339-41, pp 622, 623
  • 141. C P R 1340-3, p 276, cf also p 105, supra
  • 142. C C R 1341-3, pp 161, 162
  • 143. Ib 1341-3, pp 26, 36, 161, 167, 324, 330, 378, 410, 411, 417, 421, C P R 1340-3, p 145
  • 144. C C R 1327-30, p 168
  • 145. C P R 1338-40, p 392
  • 146. Bond, App cxcviii
  • 147. C P R 1338-40, p 388
  • 148. C C R 1337-9, pp 205, 206 This £10,000 was included in the greater sum of £62,000 for which the King had acknowledged indebtedness to the Bardi, C P R 1334-8, p 541 A later entry (C C R 1337-9, p 561) states that £50,000 of this was paid to the Bardi on 2 September, 1337 It is curious that this date is anterior by about six weeks to that of the entry acknowledging the debt of £62,000
  • 149. C P R 1327-30, pp 520, 521
  • 150. Ib 1330-4, p 269
  • 151. Ib 1327-30, p 395, Ib 1330-4, p 96
  • 152. Ib, p 463
  • 153. Ib 1327-30, p 231, Ib 1330-4, pp 29, 193, 380, Ib 1340-3, p 469
  • 154. C C R 1337-9, p 206 This is included in the £35,000 mentioned on p 114, above There is again the same curious difficulty as to the dates of the entries, part of the debt being acknowledged apparently after it had been paid
  • 155. See Ib, pp 400 and 412
  • 156. C P R 1340-3, p 21
  • 157. Ib 1330-4, p 218, Ib 1334-8, p 29, Ib 1338-40, p 102
  • 158. Ib 1330-4, pp 192, 392
  • 159. C C R 1330-3, p 131
  • 160. C C R 1339-41, pp 611, 612, 639, 640, C P R 1340-3, p 507
  • 161. One entry-Ib, p 528-gives the date as 1 July, 1340, but all other entries agree as to 1 June
  • 162. C C R 1339-41, pp 523, 528, 573, 593, 611, 612, C P R 1340-3, p 3, C C R 1341-3, pp 164, 165
  • 163. C C R 1339-41, pp 611, 612
  • 164. Ib 1341-3, pp 164, 165
  • 165. Ib 1339-41, pp 611, 612
  • 166. Cf C P R 1340-3, p 247
  • 167. C C R 1341-3, pp 164, 165
  • 168. C C R 1337-9, pp 400, 412
  • 169. This figure is probably an over estimate
  • 170. I e the King will expedite the passage of the wool by taking it in his ships, and the merchants are to sell it, if by so doing, the King's needs can be the better supplied
  • 171. Murimuth, p 88, Baker, Chronicon, p 63
  • 172. C C R 1339-41, p 534
  • 173. See pp 93 to 98
  • 174. Law, English Nouveaux Riches, etc, Trans Royal Hist Soc, IX, 61, 62
  • 175. C P R 1343-5, pp 468, 469, C C R 1343-6, p 673
  • 176. C P R 1345-8, pp 13, 14
  • 177. C C R 1333-7, p 565
  • 178. Stubbs, II, 566, 567
  • 179. C P R 1334-8, p 506
  • 180. Ib 1338-40, p 123
  • 181. C C R 1337-9, p 467
  • 182. C P R 1338-40, p 255, Foed, II, 11, 1080
  • 183. C P R 1338-40, p 272, see also Ib, pp 258, 260, 331, 357, 391
  • 184. C C R 1339-41, p 153
  • 185. Ib, pp 154, 155
  • 186. Ib, p 155 This entry seems to impose restriction as to the privilege reserved for the Bardi, but the other entries do not seem to do so, neither does the original "revoking" order of 6 May, 1339, appear to confine the excepted assignments of the Bardi and Peruzzi to those for Scottish affairs alone Scottish assignments are separately mentioned Foed V, 109, reads "Nos attendentes, 'Assignationibus, pro Munitione et Defensione Castrorum et Villarum nostrorum in Scotia, necnon Assignationibus, Dilectis nobis Mercatoribus de Societatibus Bardorum et Peruch', factis et concessis, dumtaxat exceptis,' ac etiam atterminationes seu installamenta et respectus debitorum nostrium post ultimam transfecta tionem nostram facta, ex causa necessitatis hujusmodi revocamus omnino Teste me ipso apud Antwerpen, vi die man, anno regni nostri xiii" The writer ventures the opinion that Peruzzi, pp 471, 472, is not correct in stating that the above order revoked all assignments "including" those to the Bardi and Peruzzi
  • 187. The Director was Bonifazio di Tommaso Peruzzi See pp 112 and 135
  • 188. C P R 1338-40, p 391, also see C C R 1341-3, pp 542, 543, where, in an indenture of assignment to the merchants, dated 18 May, 1342, it is expressly stated, "this assignment the King and Council have agreed to keep," which seems to indicate that the King's good faith was not beyond question
  • 189. Audit was ordered of the accounts, etc, of "William de la Pole, John Charnels, Paul de Monte Florum, the Bardi and Peruzzi, William de Northwell, William de Melchbourn, and others" The members of the investigating commission were John, Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard, Bishop of Durham, Roger, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, Henry, Earl of Derby, Richard, Earl of Arundel, William, Earl of Huntingdon, Thomas Wake, of Liddel, Ralph Basset, of Drayton, and Robert de Sadington Ib 1340-3, p 87
  • 190. C P R 1340-3, p 247
  • 191. Ib, p 558
  • 192. C C R 1343-6, pp 45, 106, 160, 199, 246, etc
  • 193. The first commissioners named are Robert de Wodehouse, Archdeacon of Richmond, John de Pulteney, William de Stowe, and William de Broklesby (C P R 1340-3, p 558), in January 1343 the names of Gervase de Wilford, William de Kirkeby, Ivo de Clinton, William de Northwell, and Robert de Pleseleye are added (Ib, p 588, where audit is also ordered of the accounts of the Acciaiuoli and Albertini as well)
  • 194. I e from 8 July, 1326, a little before the time when Isabella and Mortimer aimed at supremacy in the Government The loans of the Bardi to Queen Isabella have been mentioned
  • 195. Probably the end of 16 Edw III, 24 January, 1343, C P R 1340-3, p 588
  • 196. C C R 1343-6, pp 45, 99
  • 197. Ib, p 199
  • 198. Ib pp 45, 160, etc
  • 199. Ib, p 160
  • 200. C C R 1343-6, p 199, see also pp 246, 304, 324, 330, 372, 406, 407, 421, 422, 438, 500, 501, etc
  • 201. The members of this commission were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Earls of Derby, Northampton, Huntingdon and Suffolk, John Darcy, Bartholomew de Burghersh, William de Cusancia, John Charnels, and William de Northwell (C P R 1343-5, p 274) Many of the orders, issued to the Exchequer, to make allowance to the merchants, as already mentioned on p 124, may have been due to the deliberations of this committee These orders are continued into the year 1345 (C C R 1343-6, pp 500, 501)
  • 202. Ib, p 360
  • 203. Ib, p 97
  • 204. C P R 1343-5, pp 265, 269
  • 205. C C R 1343-6, pp 551, 552, C P R 1343-5, p 434
  • 206. C C R 1343-6, p 581
  • 207. Ib, p 638
  • 208. Ib, p 673
  • 209. There is, however, a hint of their fault in a later Calendar The acknowledgment of a debt of £18,000 by the Bardi may possibly have been the price they paid for release from prison The acknowledgments are dated 12 and 14 November, 1345 C P R 1345-8, pp 13 and 14, contains a state ment of their "pardon' (by the King, who had ruined them by failure to meet his obligations), in words which seem worthy of record "Although the King's lieges, especially those who have long done laudable service, sometimes by want of care or otherwise, offend him grievously, yet, by the example of Him, who in the midst of anger remembered mercy, he freely abates severity, willing to have mercy rather than vengeance-so, whereas he lately caused a great sum of money to be delivered to the Bardi as a loan to be paid for him at a certain time under heavy penalties, and they made default in the payment incurring the penalties, at which he has in truth been disturbed, especially because of the very damaging delay of important business caused by want of money, because those merchants coming humbly before him and offering various excuses have humbly submitted themselves to him herein, he, gratefully recalling their fruitful service at other times, and overcome by their prayers and humility, from his heart remits all the indignation, offence, and rancour conceived by him against them for this cause, admitting them to the grace of his former affection and familiarity" It is important to note that this pardon is dated 8 November, 1345, and that it was followed four days later by the acknowledgment of the Bardi that they owed £18,000 to the King It would appear that the Bardi ultimately had offended the King by paying themselves somewhat instead of others with money he entrusted to them No mention is made of the Peruzzi, but it is significant that they also went to prison, and they also became bankrupt See also C C R 1343-6, p 670, where there is enrolled, under the same date, 8 November, 1345, a long indenture making a grant to various English merchants
  • 210. C P R 1343-5, pp 467-469
  • 211. Ib 1345-8, pp 60, 80, 406, 441, 442, 443, Ib 1348-50, pp 10, 11
  • 212. C P R 1345-8, pp 87, 151, 197, 257 (Peruzzi), 281, 409, 410, Ib 1348-50, pp 6 (Peruzzi), 194, 418 (Bardi and Peruzzi), 573 (Bardi and Peruzzi), Ib 1350-4, pp 150 (Bardi and Peruzzi), 326, 501, Ib 1354-8, pp 103, 286, 439, 607, Ib 1358-61, pp 99, 274 (1 October, 1360)
  • 213. See C C R 1354-60, pp 489, 490, Ib 1364-8, p 455, Ib 1368-74, pp 38, 121, 450
  • 214. Ib 1360-4, pp 296, 528, Ib 1368-74, p 1, C P R 1377-81, p 1
  • 215. See Bond, App CCIV
  • 216. C P R 1391-6, p 15
  • 217. C C R 1346-9, pp 53, 54
  • 218. Ib, p 204, see also p 143
  • 219. Ib, p 260
  • 220. See Bond, App CCI and CCII
  • 221. C C R 1349-54, p 505
  • 222. Stubbs, p 532, quoting Rot Parl, ii, 240
  • 223. Peruzzi, p 253
  • 224. About £186 sterling, at that time, evaluating at an Exchange of lire 10 150 per £ sterling, see Peruzzi, pp 276, 291
  • 225. Peruzzi, pp 163, 462
  • 226. Peruzzi, p 237, has the following from the accounts of the society of the Peruzzi - "Per lo costo d'una barca armata che si mando da Barletta a Rodi nel mese d'ottobre 1338 per far sapere a/?/ nostri compagni le novita arrivateci per la guerra del re d'Inghilterra al re di Francia Lire 203 16" (About £19 sterling of the period)
  • 227. Villani, p 820 (315,000 marks, £210,000)
  • 228. Ib "che valeano un Reame"
  • 229. For this section see Villani, pp 934, 935 Adopting Villani's ratio that 315,000 marks equals approximately 1,365,000 florins, the following are rough equivalents to the nearest £1,000 -Debt of the King of England to the Bardi, £138,000, to the Peruzzi, £92,000 It is perhaps noteworthy that these amounts are still in the ratio 3 2, see p 118, above
  • 230. Villani, p 935 'O maladetta e bramosa Lupa piena del vizio dell' avarizia regnante ne' nostri ciechi e matti cittadini Fiorentini, che per cuvidigia di guadagnare da' Signori, mettono il loro e l'altrui pecunia, in loro potenza e signoria a perdere, e disolare d'ogni potenza la nostra Republica, Ma non sanza cagione vengono a' Comuni, e a' cittadini gli occulti giudicj di Dio per punire 1 peccati commessi, siccome Cristo di sua bocca vangielizzando disse 'In peccato vestro moriemini etc'"
  • 231. Sir H Ellis, Original letters illustrative of English History, 3rd ser, I, 39-43 The letter is from the Cotton MS Nero, B, VII, folio 11, and is dated at Florence, 30th January, Xth Indiction It is addressed "Serenissimo ac Gloriosissimo Principi et Domino, domino Heduardo Dei gratia Angliae et Francorum Regi," and is subscribed "Devotissimi Majestatis vestrae (servitores), Priores Artium et Vexillani justitiae Populi et Communis Florentiae"
  • 232. Peruzzi, p 464
  • 233. Villani, p 936
  • 234. Ib, p 933
  • 235. Peruzzi, pp 472, 473
  • 236. Ib, pp 474-476 See p 132, below
  • 237. Villani, p 935
  • 238. Perhaps also Matthew Dast, if the name is equivalent to Matteo d'Asti
  • 239. See p 129, above
  • 240. See Rhodes, "Italian Bankers in England," &c, pp 142, 156, 159
  • 241. Ib, pp 145-152, 156, 161, 162
  • 242. Ib, pp 163, 164
  • 243. See pp 107, 118, above These sums, £41, 477 13s 4d, and 26,000 marks, are probably not to any extent included in a sum of £300,757 12s 10d, obtained by computation from the entries in the Calendars of the Patent and Close Rolls for the period
  • 244. The approximate total of the sums indicated in footnote 6 The amounts are given in the text to the nearest £100 More or less repayment was, of course, continuously being made throughout the period
  • 245. Peruzzi, p 477
  • 246. These names appear towards the end of the period
  • 247. Given as Tane Jakes
  • 248. Honoured with a grant of "English citizenship" by Edward III, see Peruzzi, p 149 A certain Walter de' Bardi was master of the mint in the Tower of London at the end of the reign of Edward III and the beginning of that of Richard II See p 128, supra
  • 249. This merchant appears to have traded also in the Kingdom of Naples for the Society, see Yver, op cit, p 403
  • 250. Head, or Director of the Company in 1345
  • 251. These names appear towards the end of the period
  • 252. Probably the same person
  • 253. Given as Loterinus Johan, Philip Johan, and Alexander Johan
  • 254. Given as Jonettus, or Chonettus, de Joky, or Joiky
  • 255. Possibly the same person
  • 256. Given as Chinus Meliory
  • 257. "A person of some political importance", see Rhodes, p 154, "Gonfaloniere in 1340"
  • 258. See note, p 132, above
  • 259. Litta states, see note, p 101, above, that Taldo Valori died after the year 1344 The above excerpt from "Peruzzi," if correct, proves that his death must have been subsequent to 6 September, 1347 His name first appears in English affairs in 1313 See Rhodes, "Italian Bankers in England," p 154
  • 260. Peruzzi, pp 261-265 The figures are the annual salaries of such as were paid agents of the Company between 1335 and 1338 In an account of the period the English pound sterling was rated at lire 10 15 o by the Company, see Peruzzi, pp 276, 277, 291, 292 This enables the above salaries to be estimated in English money of that period
  • 261. Names not found in Peruzzi
  • 262. Probably the same person as above
  • 263. Given as Reyner, Nerus, and Nereus, Perini
  • 264. Given as Andrew Stramidey and Andrew Domini Amideni
  • 265. Probably also traded in the Kingdom of Naples, see Yver, Le Commerce et les Marchands dans I'Italie méridionale, etc, p 404
  • 266. See note, p 134, above
  • 267. See note, p 134, above
  • 268. Given as Genobius Tani
  • 269. Given as Robert Thomays
  • 270. Given as Rechoneri, or Rekonery
  • 271. Given as Richard Digerii
  • 272. See note, p 134, above
  • 273. Bonifazio di Tommaso Peruzzi was Head or Director of the Company from 1336 till his death in London in 1340 He had gone there on account of the Company's difficulties, see Peruzzi, pp 251 and 259