Medieval Colchester: The economy

A History of the County of Essex: Volume 9, the Borough of Colchester. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1994.

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A P Baggs. Beryl Board. Philip Crummy. Claude Dove. Shirley Durgan. N R Goose. R B Pugh. Pamela Studd. C C Thornton, 'Medieval Colchester: The economy', in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 9, the Borough of Colchester, (London, 1994) pp. 26-38. British History Online [accessed 24 May 2024].

A P Baggs. Beryl Board. Philip Crummy. Claude Dove. Shirley Durgan. N R Goose. R B Pugh. Pamela Studd. C C Thornton. "Medieval Colchester: The economy", in A History of the County of Essex: Volume 9, the Borough of Colchester, (London, 1994) 26-38. British History Online, accessed May 24, 2024,

Baggs, A P. Board, Beryl. Crummy, Philip. Dove, Claude. Durgan, Shirley. Goose, N R. Pugh, R B. Studd, Pamela. Thornton, C C. "Medieval Colchester: The economy", A History of the County of Essex: Volume 9, the Borough of Colchester, (London, 1994). 26-38. British History Online. Web. 24 May 2024,

In this section


The Early Middle Ages

Tenth-century Colchester, like other burhs, presumably functioned as a market for the surrounding countryside, but it was probably little more. It had no moneyers until c. 991, which suggests that despite its port, probably amounting only to a beaching place for small boats, traders did not bring foreign coin to the town to be reminted. What little foreign trade there was in 10th-century Essex seems to have been through Maldon, which had a more accessible port. From c. 991, however, the Colchester mint was a busy one, indicating a growth of foreign trade in the town. That perhaps reflected a decline at Ipswich, which had been sacked by the Viking army in the 991 campaign. (fn. 1) The fair held from c. 1104 by St. John's abbey at the feast of St. John the Baptist may have started in the 11th century, and the massive rise in the farm paid by Colchester to the Crown, from c. £15 in 1066 to £80 in 1086, may reflect increasing prosperity as well as Norman extortion. (fn. 2)

Growth in the 11th century seems to have been succeeded by relative decline in the earlier 12th, as the farm had been reduced to £40 by 1130. (fn. 3) Although the town retained four moneyers under William I and William II and probably under Henry I and Stephen, the number was reduced to one c. 1157 and minting ceased in 1166. (fn. 4) The fair granted to St. Mary Magdalen's hospital in 1189, and St. Dennis's fair, held outside St. Botolph's priory by 1310, may, with the St. John's fair, have helped stimulate trade from the late 12th century. (fn. 5) In the 14th century the three fairs were attended by men from London, Greenwich, Cambridge, Bury St. Edmunds, Tunstead (Norf.), and Sudbury (Suff.), (fn. 6) but they were never among the major English fairs and do not seem to have attracted foreign merchants.

Trade seems to have been principally in provisions. Ten Colchester men were amerced in 1198 for exporting grain to Flanders, and oats and other corn was bought at Colchester in 1206 for shipment to other parts of England. Four Colchester men were amerced in 1195 for selling wine contrary to the assize. (fn. 7) Most goods were probably carried by ship from Colchester's port at the Hythe across the North Sea or round the south and east coasts of England. A Colchester merchant traded in the count of Holland's territory in 1197. Others were at Winchelsea and Rye (Sussex) c. 1216 when they were harassed and their goods seized in retaliation for the depredations of Stephen Harengood, constable of Colchester castle. (fn. 8) The Colchester merchant who sold goods to Henry II's army in Wales, (fn. 9) had probably taken them by sea. Adam of Colchester, who travelled to Gascony with Richard of Cornwall in 1225, was at Falmouth in 1226. (fn. 10) In 1204 Colchester, although ranked 19th or 20th out of 33 seaports assessed for subsidy, was apparently one of the principal east coast ports, its assessment of £16 8s. or £16 12s. 8d. being higher than those of Norwich, Ipswich, Dunwich, and Orford, although less than half that of Yarmouth. (fn. 11) If the assessment reflects Colchester's importance as a port, that importance was short-lived. Even though the river Colne had probably been straightened in the 11th or 12th century, improving access to the Hythe, large ships could reach the port only on spring tides. When Henry III requisitioned ships capable of carrying 16 or more horses for his expedition to Gascony in 1229, only two Colchester ships were suitable. (fn. 12)

Colchester was important enough to attract Jewish settlement between 1159 and 1182. (fn. 13) Seven Colchester Jews paid a total of £41 13s. 4d. to the Northampton donum in 1194, the ninth largest contribution, but one man, Isaac of Colchester, paid £25 of that sum. (fn. 14) Isaac lent money to several prominent townsmen, including Richard and Simon sons of Marcian, and resentment of his outstanding wealth may have contributed to the violence against the Jews which broke out in Colchester, as in other towns, in the early 1190s. (fn. 15) Richard son of Marcian and his son Hubert were still indebted to four Jews, three of them from Colchester, in 1238. (fn. 16) Colchester Jews, like others, had links with Jewish communities throughout England. About 1220 debts were due, presumably at Colchester, to nine Colchester Jews, three Jews from London, and one each from Norwich, Canterbury, and Oxford. (fn. 17) Josce son of Aaron of Colchester married Rose, daughter of the prominent Lincoln Jew Isaac Gabbay; he lent money to a London man before 1268, and in 1275 he lived in Dunwich. Cok of Colchester, apparently his brother, was in London in 1272 and in Lincoln in 1276. (fn. 18) Another Josce of Colchester, a Jew of Lincoln, had houses in Oxford at his death in 1246. (fn. 19) Isaac of Colchester was living in Lincoln in 1268, Ellis son of Jacob of Colchester in London in 1273, and Aaron of Colchester in Dunwich in 1275. (fn. 20)

By 1220 the Colchester Jewish community had its own bailiff, Benedict, whose son Isaac was one of its principal members in 1255. (fn. 21) In 1258 a rabbi, Samuel son of the rabbi Jechiel, was given 15 years' tenure of a house in East or West Stockwell Street which may have contained the synagogue recorded in 1268. (fn. 22) Before 1285 the synagogue moved to a solar at the west end of High Street. (fn. 23) There was a Jewish 'chaplain' in Colchester in 1267 and 1276-7. (fn. 24) A 14th-century tradition held that Henry II had given the Jews a council chamber on St. John's green, but that in 1251 St. John's abbey had converted it into a chapel. (fn. 25) Although the details are questionable, such a grant by Henry II is not unlikely.

No later Colchester Jew was as wealthy as Isaac of Colchester, whose debts had passed to the king by 1209, (fn. 26) and the Colchester community ranked 16th among those which contributed to an aid in 1221. (fn. 27) It was one of the poorest Jewish communities in 1255 when two of its principal members were widows, (fn. 28) and, like other English Jewries, it declined further in the later 13th century as a result of royal exactions. Samuel and Josce sons of Aaron sold their houses in St. Runwald's parish to the wealthy burgess William Warin in 1275 to raise money to pay their tallage. (fn. 29) By 1290 there were only eight Jewish householders in Colchester, most of them comparatively poor. (fn. 30)

Although Colchester was not among the cloth towns recorded in 1202, an industry developed in the second quarter of the 13th century, and by 1247 there was a fulling mill in the liberty. (fn. 31) Surnames recorded between c. 1230 and c. 1265 include 2 chaloners, 2 drapers, 3 dyers, 5 fullers, and 3 weavers. Henry III bought 20 russet cloths in Colchester in 1249 to clothe his servants, 500 ells in 1252, and a further 30 cloths in 1254. Some of the last may have been used to make the robes of Colchester russet trimmed with rabbit fur given to Sir Richard Foliot and his wife and daughter in 1254. (fn. 32) Other cloth was acquired for Henry III from Colchester men at Boston fair in 1248 and at Ipswich fair in 1249. (fn. 33) Russet cloth was stolen in Colchester c. 1250, and in 1251 in the course of a dispute between a Colchester woman and Winchester merchants some was distrained by borough officers. Russet cloth was also among goods confiscated in Mile End in 1265. (fn. 34) In the later 13th century a draper, 2 fullers, and 3 weavers were recorded in charters or rentals, and surnames suggest the presence of 2 chaloners, a fuller, and 5 weavers. Worsted and blanket were recorded in 1300 and blanket was the Colchester cloth exported through Ipswich about that date. (fn. 35) Woad stolen in 1312 may have been to dye russet, or perhaps blue cloth like that stolen from a tailor in 1328. (fn. 36) Linen cloth was recorded c. 1316, in 1319, and, in Mile End, in 1337. (fn. 37)

Merchants who exported cloth imported wine. In 1272 six men, including the former or future bailiffs Richard of Bergholt, Henry Goodyear, and his brother Geoffrey, sold cloth contrary to the assize; Richard and three others including the bailiff Richard Pruet, sold wine. In 1285 the Goodyears and Richard Pruet were among the six men who breached the assize of cloth, while as many as 14 men, including both the Goodyears, Richard of Bergholt, and Richard Pruet, sold a total of at least 325 tuns of wine. (fn. 38)

Leather-working, important by 1300, seems to have developed later than cloth, but a cobbler and four tanners were recorded in the mid 13th century and a cobbler and a skinner after c. 1265. Late 13th-century surnames indicate the presence in the town of 1 cordwainer, 2 lorimers, and 4 tanners. Other trade surnames included cutler, goldsmith, mustarder, coalman, glasswright, and vintner. At least seven pottery kilns, probably late 12th- or early 13th-century, stood behind the street frontage at Middleborough, immediately outside North gate, and there were others in Mile End. They produced a fairly coarse ware which was used only in north-east Essex. In the late 13th century or the 14th, however, Colchester kilns produced elaborate louvres which have been found as far away as Chelmsford, Great Easton, and possibly Rickmansworth (Herts.). (fn. 39)

Detailed subsidy assessments of 1272-3, 1296, and 1301, show the importance of the wool, cloth, and leather trades in Colchester. Of the 167 people recorded in the incomplete assessment of 1272-3, a total of 25 were assessed on cloth, and a further 6 were called weavers, 4 dyers, 3 fullers, and 2 carders. In addition 3 people had wool, and 2 linen. Of the cloths specified, 9 were russets valued at between 6s. and 15s. a piece; there was a piece of 'huregray' worth 15s., and a piece of higher quality woollen cloth worth 30s. Four of those assessed on cloth were also assessed on leather or hides. Another 2 were assessed on leather alone, and 3 shoemakers and 2 tanners can be identified. (fn. 40)

The 1296 and 1301 assessments suggest that the leather trades had expanded to employ almost as many people as the cloth trades. Three of the 14 men assessed on goods worth over £4 in 1296 were tanners, including Henry Pakeman and John of Stanway, the wealthiest tradesmen, while 4 were assessed on wool or cloth, 1 on shoes, and 1 on meat. As many as 30 out of the 180 people assessed had wool or cloth; 2 of them were called dyer and 1 fuller. There were 31 leather-workers, including 16 shoemakers and 11 tanners. Four of the 22 people assessed on goods worth over £4 in 1301 (excluding the heads of the religious houses and Robert FitzWalter of Lexden) were assessed on wool or cloth, 2 were tanners, and 1 was a butcher. As many as 36 wool- or cloth-workers, including 6 fullers and 3 dyers, were assessed, compared with 30 leather-workers, including 11 tanners, 12 shoemakers, and a glover. A total of 12 men in 1296 and 18 in 1301 were assessed on 'merchandise' including silk and muslin, gloves, belts, and needles, and spices such as pepper, ginger, saffron, and fennel; 38 people were assessed on ready money for trading. Six men in 1296 and 11 in 1301 were assessed on iron (probably imported), 3 in 1296 and 1 in 1301 on sea coal; 3 men were assessed on salt in 1296. In 1301 twelve men were assessed on boats or shares in boats. (fn. 41)

Only 39 out of the 180 people assessed in 1296 (in an area excluding the outlying parishes) and only 148 out of the 388 assessed in the whole liberty in 1301 had no grain or livestock. Although some of the grain held by townsmen was for brewing or baking, and many of those who had only one cow or a few sheep may have grazed them on the half-year common lands to supplement their income from their trade or craft, many of the most prosperous inhabitants of the town derived their income wholly or mainly from land, much of it probably in the fields south-west, south-east, and north-east of the town. Of the 14 men assessed in 1296 on goods worth over £4 four, including the two wealthiest William Warin and Adam Plaunting, and the former bailiff Henry Goodyear, were assessed only on agricultural produce; only one, Edward of Bernholt who was assessed on salt, iron, and sea coal, had no grain or livestock liable to subsidy. In 1301 all those assessed at £4 or more had some grain or livestock. Henry Pakeman, the wealthiest townsman, had retired from the tannery he ran in 1296. (fn. 42) By contrast, at Ipswich in 1283, where the ratio of those assessed on cloth, leather, iron, and 'mercery' was not dissimilar to that at Colchester, a much higher proportion of subsidy payers were assessed on boats and ships, and a smaller proportion on grain and livestock. (fn. 43) The chief crop at Colchester was oats, of which c. 269 qr. were recorded in 1296 and c. 276 qr. in 1301; there was nearly as much barley as oats in 1296, but in 1301 only c. 168 qr. were recorded. There was slightly less rye, c. 118 qr. in 1296, 144 qr. in 1301. Only 56½ qr. of wheat was recorded in 1296 and 24 qr. in 1301, and some of that may have been imported. (fn. 44) Small quantities of peas and beans were grown. Nearly 1,100 sheep and lambs were recorded in 1301, a startling increase over the 305 recorded in 1296. A total of 189 cows and calves were assessed in 1296 and 344 in 1301. (fn. 45) The evidence for the burgesses' agricultural practice fits well with that for the cultivation of the royal demesne, which included the land north-east of the castle and Sholand along Maldon Road, between 1276 and 1281. There the chief crop was oats, although rye and probably barley were also grown; the 20 qr. of wheat accounted for in 1280-1, like the 7 qr. 1 bu. in 1276-7, may have been toll corn from Middle mill. About 100 sheep were kept, and 11 cattle were sold in 1280-1. (fn. 46)

The men of Colchester were ordered to arrest Norwich merchants in their town in 1272, and toll was taken from Kings Lynn merchants in 1298. Two Yarmouth merchants were involved in the settlement of a tenement in Colchester market place c. 1275. (fn. 47) In 1305 Colchester was one of the towns in which French merchants from Amiens and St. Omer traded, (fn. 48) and a Dutch merchant was robbed of cash, cloth, and other goods at the Hythe c. 1316. (fn. 49) Few Colchester ships seem to have been involved in overseas trade in the 1280s and 1290s, but two brought wine to London in 1303 and another robbed French merchants off the Brittany coast in 1311. (fn. 50) John Lucas of Colchester, who was involved in coastal trade with his ship the St. Mary in 1325, was arrested with three other Colchester merchants carrying French wines in 1327, but the four Colchester ships arrested that year were outnumbered by six from Harwich and seven from Brightlingsea. (fn. 51)

Although the cases brought in the borough court and the numbers amerced for breach of the assize of ale in the 1330s and 1340s suggest that Colchester was then declining in population and perhaps in wealth, (fn. 52) the seeds of the town's rapid recovery and growth in the period after the Black Death were presumably sown then. One factor in the town's later success may have been the improvement of the navigation and the extension of the quays at the Hythe. In 1339-40 and in 1341-2 the bailiffs leased to John Allen, John Peldon, Nicholas Chapman, and John Lucas, all merchants or ship owners, a total of 100 yd. of river bank below the Hythe with the meadow behind on which to build quays and warehouses. (fn. 53) In 1341 the borough reached an agreement with Sir John de Sutton, lord of Battleswick, allowing the building of quays lower down the river at Woodsend, perhaps near Hull mill, and the making of yards there for building and repairing ships. (fn. 54) A Flemish ship was arrested at Colchester in 1341, perhaps having reached one of the new quays although usually only barges and lighters could reach the Hythe. (fn. 55) Of the eight sailors or shipmen known to have been admitted to the freedom between 1327 and 1500, six were admitted between 1329-30 and 1340-1. (fn. 56) As a part, Colchester may have benefited from the decline of Ipswich in the 1330s and 1340s, a decline whose effects seem to have persisted for much of the 14th century. (fn. 57)

The Later Middle Ages

Colchester's later medieval prosperity was based on its cloth trade, which was able to develop and adapt freely, untrammelled by the restrictive practices of an independent weavers' or fullers' guild. The availability of water power for mechanical fulling may also have been important in a time of rising wages, and in the later 14th century all five mills on the Colne north and east of the town were rebuilt or adapted for fulling. (fn. 58) Colchester's wool and cloth trades were at least holding their own in the years before the Black Death. In 1340 the future bailiff William Buck and his partner contributed 5 sacks of wool to the 26,000 granted to Edward III by parliament, and in 1341 another Colchester man brought 5 sacks of wool, 200 woolfells, and 36 oxhides from Suffolk to Colchester. (fn. 59) In the same years at least 20 Colchester men were ordered to be arrested for illegally exporting wool or cloth. They included John Fordham, bailiff that year, and three future bailiffs, Adam Colne, Thomas Dedham, and John Warin the elder. Most of the wool and cloth was carried in Flemish ships, whose cargoes also included grain, cheese, and timber. (fn. 60) The export of wool and cloth through Colchester was presumably a comparatively recent development. When a merchant exported 28 sacks of wool to the staple at Bruges through the town in 1341 a customs official had to be sent from Ipswich or London to cocket the sacks. (fn. 61) Nevertheless, that year the Colne was sufficiently busy for seven Colchester men, four of whom had themselves been accused of exporting uncustomed wool, to be appointed deputies of the king's serjeant at arms to search ships in the river and estuary for uncustomed wool and other goods. (fn. 62) In 1344 a cargo of 714 ells of cloth, 20 qr. of salt, 28 weighs of cheese, and 70 qr. of crushed bark for tanning belonging to three Colchester merchants was impounded in Zeeland. Another merchant had licence to ship 30 Essex cloths from Colchester to Gascony in 1351. (fn. 63)

The growing trade led the bailiff William Reyne to tighten up the regulation of the cloth market and to reorganize two wool fairs in 1373. (fn. 64) The town continued to specialize in medium quality russet cloths, which were sent to other parts of England and abroad. Colchester russets were known in Oxfordshire in the early 15th century. Wool was brought from a distance; a Colchester woolman was mainpernour for a Lechlade (Glos.) man in 1419. (fn. 65) Colchester merchants' debtors and creditors in the late 14th century came from as far away as Southampton, Lewes, Norwich, Westminster, and York. (fn. 66) A Flemish merchant brought woad, presumably for dying cloth, to Colchester via Great Yarmouth in 1379, and the Londoner Sir Nicholas Brembre had 'a great number' of tons of woad in the town at the time of his execution in 1388. (fn. 67)

Trade in grain and dairy products continued. In 1358 a Flemish merchant was allowed to export 24 qr. of wheat from Colchester. William Reyne, William Buck, and William Fermery, all former bailiffs, were accused of smuggling wool and corn out of Colne Water in 1362. (fn. 68) In 1364 Geoffrey Daw and William Hunt had licences to export cloth to Gascony and to buy wine and salt there for import into England. A London merchant carried on a similar trade from Colchester to Gascony and Spain in the same year, and in 1374 a Bordeaux merchant was licensed to sell 9 tuns of wine by retail in Colchester. (fn. 69) In 1366 Geoffrey Daw exported corn and ale to Flanders and Zeeland, and in 1367 Ipswich merchants were accused of shipping uncustomed wheat, meat, and other foodstuffs from Ipswich and Colchester to Flanders and France. (fn. 70) In 1463 and 1478 Colchester merchants were to take foodstuff to Calais. (fn. 71)

The leather industry seems to have declined after the early 14th century; almost the only known later medieval leather-worker of consequence was Adam Frating who was allowed to transport hides from London to Colchester by sea in 1338. He may have been the same man as the tanner Adam son of Stephen, who dealt with a London glover in 1345 and who bought 165 hides in London in 1357. (fn. 72) Timber was presumably readily available in the woods round Colchester, but the only record of its trade is the carriage from Colchester to Norwich in 1395 of timber to build a stathe. (fn. 73)

The predominance of the cloth industry in late 14th- and early 15th-century Colchester is demonstrated by the occupations of those admitted to the freedom, about a fifth of which were recorded in the period 1375-1425. Between 1375 and 1400, a total of 19 cloth-workers were admitted, including 6 dyers, 7 fullers, and 4 weavers. Only 9 men, including 2 cordwainers, 3 glovers, and 3 skinners, were engaged in the leather trade, but 15, including 9 butchers, 2 bakers, and 2 brewers, were victuallers. Five men were described as merchants. Between 1400 and 1425 there were 22 cloth-workers, including 12 weavers, 4 dyers, and 2 fullers; only 5 leather-workers, including 3 cordwainers, but 21 victuallers, including 10 butchers and 9 bakers. The 5 tailors and 1 capper recorded over the whole period may reflect Colchester's importance as a market centre rather than its cloth trade. (fn. 74)

In the later 14th century Colchester merchants extended their markets, so that their cloth reached the Mediterranean and the Baltic. The Mediterranean trade was largely carried on through Italian merchants in London, but the Colchester merchant William Ody was in Spain c. 1480. (fn. 75) Colchester men were more directly involved in the Baltic trade; William Sedbergh took cloth to Sweden in 1361, and a Prussian merchant was in Colchester in 1375. (fn. 76) Colchester merchants were among those encountering difficulties in Prussia in the 1380s, and three or four of them were assessed to contribute to the cost of an embassy to Prussia in 1388, a small number compared with other towns. (fn. 77) Hanseatic merchants looked to the citizens of London, York, Colchester, and Kings Lynn for security for payment of debts in 1406. (fn. 78) Colchester merchants were in the Baltic again in 1441 and 1451. (fn. 79)

Colchester's rapid growth ended in the second decade of the 15th century as its traditional markets, Gascony and Prussia, faced war and depopulation. Perhaps as a result, its clothmakers abandoned their traditional russet cloths c. 12 yd. long and 2 yd. wide for cloths c. 24 yd. long and 2 yd. wide, which were nearer to standard English cloths. In the 1420s they turned to more expensive cloths which could more profitably be exported in a time of rising transport costs. Already in 1406 a London draper had five Colchester blue medleys, and blue cloth was produced throughout the 15th century. The output of fine grey musterdevillers, like the one paid towards the price of a house in 1486, increased, but from the late 1430s the most successful Colchester cloths were the new greys like the two 'beautiful' new grey cloths acquired by a Hanseatic merchant in 1453. (fn. 80)

Hanseatic merchants were in Colchester in the 1390s when two sold expensive red 'grain' dye to Vincent van der Beck, a Colchester burgess of Flemish origin. (fn. 81) In the period 1403-61 Hanseatic merchants sued or were sued c. 123 times in the Colchester courts. (fn. 82) The Cologne merchant Otto Bogylle was in Colchester several times between 1410 and 1428, but Hanseatic activity in Colchester was at its height in the mid 15th century, after the treaty with the Hanseatic League in 1437. (fn. 83) The three Hanseatic merchants whose houses and goods in the town were attacked by members of the duke of Buckingham's household in 1447 may have acted as resident agents for other German merchants. (fn. 84) In 1450 the bailiffs of Colchester were among those ordered to arrest Hanseatic merchants, but the merchants were back in 1452 when one was robbed in Colne Water of woad worth £72 which he had brought from London. Other Hanseatic merchants were robbed of woollen cloth from a ship anchored in Colne Water in 1454. (fn. 85) By 1470, when Richard Lowth of Colchester bought woad from the Cologne merchant Alexander Tacke, Hanseatic influence in the town was probably declining. Tacke soon returned to Germany and his attorney who later sued Lowth for debt may well have been English. (fn. 86) Hanseatic merchants were occasionally recorded in Colchester until the end of the century, but the last of them, Herman van A, was a goldsmith. (fn. 87)

In the mid 15th century Hanseatic merchants dominated the Colchester cloth trade, importing dyestuffs, notably woad, and exporting 80 to 90 per cent of the finished cloths, but control of the manufacturing processes remained largely in English hands. The German Eberhard Cryte sued an East Bergholt fuller in 1458 for six woollen cloths in circumstances which suggest that he may have been involved in the production as well as the export of cloth, but he was apparently unusual. (fn. 88) Nor was Hanseatic control of the sale of dyestuffs complete. A London merchant sold woad, madder, and alum in Colchester in 1427, John Trew bought woad from a Melton Mowbray merchant c. 1430, an English woader John Werkwode was in Colchester in 1429, and the will of Thomas Ruffle, woader, was proved in the borough court in 1462. (fn. 89)

Trade with north-west Europe declined in the later 15th century, and Colchester merchants, like those of other cloth-producing areas, turned increasingly to trade through London. (fn. 90) The sheriffs of London were accused in the late 14th century of charging a Colchester draper toll, contrary to the liberties of his town, and linen cloth and woad were shipped from Colchester to London for three London mercers in 1449-50. (fn. 91) Some Colchester ships took part in the London trade: in 1480 Richard Cely shipped wool and wool fells from London to Calais in the Nicholas of Colchester, (fn. 92) and two other Colchester ships, the Anne and the Christopher, arrived in London that year with linen cloth, soap, and wax. (fn. 93) Thomas Bosse, a member of a leading Colchester family and a borough councillor, owed £70 in London in 1423, part of it to a Lincoln merchant, and £20 to a London mercer and a woolmonger in 1426, when he was said to be late citizen and grocer of London. (fn. 94) In 1422 Bosse and another Colchester merchant, John Brandon, seem to have owed money to an Ipswich and a Brentwood man, and in 1446 Bosse owed money to two citizens of Norwich. Brandon was described as late citizen and grocer of London in 1423 when he owed money to Norwich merchants. The dyer John Edrich, chamberlain 1442-4, owed money to two London grocers in 1456. (fn. 95) Two late 15th-century bailiffs, Thomas Smith and Richard Barker, owed money in London, Smith to a pewterer and a draper in 1482, and Barker to two mercers in 1481. In 1439 a London merchant and a Dutchman conspired to send 26 stone of wool to Colchester by road, disguised as woollen cloth. (fn. 96)

Some wool was brought from Kent. In the 1420s a London grocer, in partnership with the wealthy Colchester merchant Thomas Godstone, shipped fleeces from Faversham to Colchester. (fn. 97) Forty sacks of wool were shipped from Sandwich to Colchester in 1415, and 24 sarplers in 1421. Other Kentish wool was sent to Colchester by road and the ferry at Tilbury in 1441. (fn. 98) The town also maintained close links with the cloth-producing area of north-east Essex and south-east Suffolk. A Colchester fuller owed £15 to a Lavenham man in 1457, and Peter Barwick of Colchester Hythe owed a Hadleigh (Suff.) clothmaker £4 10s. in 1472; a Bury St. Edmunds coverletmaker owed a Colchester man £8 in 1460. (fn. 99) Members of the Spring family of Lavenham were involved in the town c. 1470; a Nayland weaver bought a large quantity of wool there in the later 15th century, and William Christmas bought wool from a Bury St. Edmunds man c. 1499, paying for it partly in woad. (fn. 100)

The occupations of 68 bailiffs in the 14th and 15th centuries are recorded. Before the mid 15th century all were merchants dealing in cloth, wool, or wine, except the dyer Robert Selby, bailiff 1428, 1435, 1438, 1446, 1448; the wealthy vintner Thomas Francis, bailiff 12 times between 1381 and 1414, may have been a spicer also. (fn. 101) Most of the bailiffs in the later 15th century were merchants, but John Sayer (1454, 1457) and William Rede (1464) were shearmen, John Baker (1451), Richard Barker (1489, 1494, 1496, 1499), John Bardfield (1490, 1492, 1505), and William Colchester (1472, 1474, 1477) were fullers, (fn. 102) and Seman Youn (1455) was a pewterer, although he also exported cloth. (fn. 103) At the end of the century three bailiffs, Richard Plomer, Richard Hervey, and John Thirsk, were called clothmakers. (fn. 104) One alderman, John Pake (1398), was a draper, and seven other drapers between 1398 and 1455 were evidently substantial men. (fn. 105)

Evidence for trades other than cloth- and leather-working is sparse. Of 98 men summoned to appear before the justices in 1453, as many as 34 were cloth-workers (14 fullers, 12 weavers, 6 dyers, a shearman, and a cloth-sealer); a further 7 were victuallers (4 butchers, a brewer, a grocer, and a spicer), and 5 were leather-workers (2 glovers, a cordwainer, a skinner, and a currier). Among the others summoned were 3 shipmen, 7 tailors, 7 smiths, a tiler, a brickman, a pinner, and a painter. (fn. 106) Two forges in the east ward paid rents to the borough in the late 14th century, and a further four 'traves' or frames to hold a horse being shod had encroached on the roads before 1501. (fn. 107) At least 14 smiths were admitted to the burgage in the later 14th century and the 15th. A furber was recorded in 1492-3. (fn. 108) Two pewterers conveyed land in Lexden in 1425, and Colchester was among the towns in which the London pewterers' company seized substandard pewter in 1474. (fn. 109) Ten carpenters were admitted to the freedom between 1370 and 1407, a sawyer was admitted in 1395-6, a mason in 1426-7, a plumber in 1445-6, and a tiler in 1443-4. Enrolled deeds record a thatcher in 1328-9, carpenters in 1342-3 and 1377-8, plumbers in 1428-9 and 1451-2, and tilers in 1448-9 and 1490-1. (fn. 110) Tilers swore fealty in the borough in 1451 and 1472. A dispute over the sale of 15,000 tiles and 4,000 crest tiles reached the borough court in 1394, and cattle broke more than 500 tiles, apparently in a tileyard, in 1400. (fn. 111) There is surprisingly little evidence of ship-building after 1341, but the town was ordered to repair a small ship for the king's use in 1382 and to build one in 1401. In 1466 a boat building yard had recently been started at the Hythe. (fn. 112)

Although few fishermen appear in the records, Colchester undoubtedly benefited from the fishery which had been confirmed to the burgesses by Richard I in 1189. The oysters which were to be important in the economy of the modern town were less valuable than fish in the Middle Ages, (fn. 113) but they were sold: an oyster-stall in the market place was recorded in 1337. In the same year the bailiffs, leased two fishing weirs. Men were presented in the borough court for illegal fishing in 1351 and 1356, and there were disputes over the sale of oysters at the Hythe in 1366 and over fishing with illegal nets in 1377. (fn. 114) In 1362 Lionel of Bradenham was accused of inclosing parts of the creeks running into the Colne, presumably for his own fishery, and thus preventing the burgesses and others from fishing there. Similar allegations may have played a part in Bradenham's violent confrontation with the town in 1350. (fn. 115) The burgesses' strong, and ultimately successful, opposition to the grant of the river to the earl of Oxford in 1447 was largely due to their need to protect their fishery. (fn. 116) In the 15th century presentments of burgesses for using illegal nets or traps, of foreigners for fishing, and of fishermen for taking oysters out of season became more frequent, (fn. 117) perhaps as the fishery became more valuable. The proclamation made by the bailiffs on the river Colne in 1382 included prohibitions on forestalling fish, obstructing the river, and dredging oysters out of season. (fn. 118) Colchester oysters and mussels were taken to Great Yarmouth in 1413. In 1486 a Sudbury man sued a Dunwich man for £6 8s. owed for fish apparently bought in Colchester. (fn. 119)

A list of the late 14th century of goods on which customs were payable at Colchester included wool, flax, and hemp for weaving; yellow and green dyes, madder, woad, and ashes for dyeing; and fullers earth, as well as woollen cloth, broadcloth, and Irish cloth. There were also leather and hides, and bark for tanning them; tallow, wax, grease and oil, cotton, and wicks for the chandlers; several kinds of wood, including wainscot and deal, for carpentry; stone, lime, and marble, timber, tiles, and shingles for building; and iron, steel, lead, and tin for metalworking. Masts and oars of various sizes, ropes and cables, were used by ship-builders or repairers. Among the livestock and provisions were corn, pigs, cows, sheep, poultry, eggs, fish, including salmon, eels, and porpoises, and fruit, as well as the more exotic garlic, onions, pepper, figs, raisins, dates, almonds, and rice. Household furniture and utensils were imported, as were furs, millstones, and mortars. Most of those goods appear in late 14th- and 15th-century customs accounts, along with large quantities of wine, salt, and linen cloth, and smaller amounts of soap, bitumen, litmus, ginger, saffron, and walnuts, and manufactured goods including hats, mirrors, cushions, and two feather beds. The craftsmen who paid custom included cardmakers, dyers, and quiltmakers; tailors and haberdashers; skinners, tanners, cordwainers, curriers, and saddlers; smiths, spurriers, furbishers, lattoners, pewterers, and bellmakers; carpenters, carvers, and joiners; painters; bookbinders and scriveners; turners and coopers; bowyers and fletchers; masons; chandlers; and butchers. (fn. 120)

There is some evidence for craft organizations, mainly under the control of the borough authorities. The earliest recorded was the butchers', whose wardens, responsible for the quality of meat sold in the market, were recorded from 1311. Overseers of the fish trade were appointed in 1365 after complaints had been made about the lack of supervision. (fn. 121) In each instance the officials' activity was confined to the market. The keepers of the tanners' art recorded in 1336 may have represented a more independent organization since they do not seem to have been elected in the borough court until 1443. (fn. 122) The bailiffs and council laid down a scale of charges for tawed hides in 1424 or 1425, and at the same time forbade the tanners and white-tawyers to pollute the river by placing their hides in it. (fn. 123) In 1425 the 'artificers of the art of leather-working called the cordwainers' came to the borough court and asked for a number of ordinances, which had already been subscribed by all the cordwainers in the liberty, to be enrolled. All the ordinances dealt with Sunday observance, and the four masters of the cordwainers who took their oaths later that year presented only breaches of those ordinances; they did not appear before the borough court again, unless they were the wardens of the guild of St. Crispin and St. Crispian in the Greyfriars' church who sued for debt in 1525. (fn. 124) The incident of 1425 suggests that there was a pre-existing cordwainers' organization which made the new ordinances. In 1456-7 four supervisors of the curriers' craft were elected in the borough court. The masters of the wax chandlers were sworn in in the borough court in 1451. (fn. 125)

The first sign of a cloth-workers' organization was the election in the borough court in 1407 of two 'overseers and masters of the weavers' art'. (fn. 126) Two of a number of ordinances made by the bailiffs in 1411-12 were designed to regulate the cloth trade and protect the spinners and weavers. Standard weights were to be provided for weighing wool for spinning; no wool was to be sent out of the liberty for spinning, and weavers were not to be paid in food or merchandise. In 1425 a weaver and two fullers were presented in the borough court for taking part of their wages in goods rather than money. (fn. 127) In 1418 the fullers, in an effort to tighten the regulation of their trade, asked the bailiffs to form them into a guild of fullers whose two masters, elected annually on Monday after Michaelmas at St. Cross chapel, were to oversee all the master fullers within the liberty. The regulations provided that no man might exercise the crafts of both weaving and fulling, that no master weaver or fuller should take an apprentice for less than five years, and that disputes between weavers and fullers over the fulling of cloth should be settled by the masters of the guild. The guild seems to have been established, as a breach of its regulations was reported in 1419. (fn. 128) A fuller accused in 1427 of teaching his art to a man who had not been apprenticed was presented at the borough court by the lawhundred jury, not by the guild, but he was accused both of acting in derogation of his art and of breaching its ordinances. (fn. 129) Two masters of the clothiers' craft and two masters of the shearmen's craft were sworn at the Michaelmas lawhundred in 1448. (fn. 130) In 1452 it was ordained that every spinner or weaver should take an oath before the bailiffs to observe regulations as to payment for their work, which seem to have been those laid down in 1411. (fn. 131)

The tightening of craft regulations in the 15th century may have been partly the result of stagnation or decline in the town's economy. Cloth production, after falling in the 1410s and 1420s, reached its peak in the 1440s with the increasing Hanseatic trade. The later 15th century was marked by a slight decline in the number of cloths produced, and by a tendency for the sale of those cloths to be concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of clothmakers. At the same time, Colchester increased its share of the contracting local cloth market at the expense of smaller towns in the area. Other indicators, notably the farms of the land and water tolls, also suggest declining economic activity. The farm of the borough houses and cranes at the Hythe and of the water tolls fell fairly steadily from a high point of £56 in 1438-9 to £35 in 1484-5, while the farm of the land tolls and of the wool market in the moot hall cellar fell from a total of £22 in 1443-4 to £16 in 1484-5. (fn. 132) The decline in the number of pleas of debt in the borough courts is more difficult to interpret, (fn. 133) but it too may indicate reduced trade. Such reduced trade, however, undoubtedly reflected a reduced population, both in the borough and in its hinterland, and is not incompatible with continuing or even increasing prosperity among the surviving burgesses. Whatever Colchester's later 15th-century decline, it does not seem to have provoked complaints of poverty from the townsmen or pleas for the reduction of the borough's farm or subsidy assessment. (fn. 134)


  • 1. Battle of Maldon: Fiction and Fact, ed. J. Cooper, 208-9; A.-S. Chron. ed. D. Whitelock, 82.
  • 2. Below, this chapter, Boro. Govt.; Markets and Fairs.
  • 3. Pipe R. 1130 (Rec. Com.), 138.
  • 4. Brit. Numismatic Jnl. v. 118-20; Pipe R. 1156-8 (Rec. Com.), 135; 1167 (P.R.S. xi), 158.
  • 5. Below, Markets and Fairs.
  • 6. P.R.O., JUST 3/18/5, rott. 5, 24.
  • 7. Pipe R. 1195 (P.R.S. N.S. vi), 14; 1198 (P.R.S. N.S. ix), 137; 1199 (P.R.S. N.S. x), 97; Rot. Lit. Pat. (Rec. Com.), 61; Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i. 69.
  • 8. Pipe R. 1197 (P.R.S. N.S. viii), 73; Pat. R. 1216-25, 169.
  • 9. E. A. Webb, Bk. of Foundation of St. Bart.'s Lond. 46-7.
  • 10. Pat. R. 1216-25, 574; 1225-32, 23.
  • 11. Pipe R. 1204 (P.R.S. N.S. xviii), 218.
  • 12. Pat. R. 1225-32, 264, 344, 370-3.
  • 13. V. D. Lipman, Jews of Med. Norwich, 4; Pipe R. 1182 (P.R.S. xxxi), 69, On Colch. Jewry see E.A.T. 3rd ser. xvi. 48-52.
  • 14. Jewish Hist. Soc. Miscellany, i, p. lxiv.
  • 15. Feet of F. Essex, i. 16; Pipe R. 1194 (P.R.S. N.S. v), 36.
  • 16. Close R. 1237-42, 51.
  • 17. Westm. Abbey Mun. 9007.
  • 18. Cal. Exch. Jews, i. 119, 162, 166, 229, 294; ii. 268; iii. 43; P.R.O., E 32/12, rot. 3d.
  • 19. Cal. Pat. 1232-47, 488.
  • 20. Cal. Exch. Jews, i. 172; ii. 38, 296.
  • 21. Cal. Exch. Jews, i. 32, 60, 73, 81; Cal. Pat. 1247-58, 440, 444.
  • 22. M. D. Davis, Shetaroth or Hebrew Deeds of Eng. Jews, p. 365; Cal. Exch. Jews, i. 193.
  • 23. Trans. Jewish Hist. Soc. ii. 90; B.L. Lansd. MS. 416, f. 49v.
  • 24. P.R.O., E 32/12, rot. 3d.
  • 25. E.A.T. 3rd ser. xvi. 50-1.
  • 26. Pipe R. 1209 (P.R.S. N.S. xxiv), 89.
  • 27. Lipman, Jews of Med. Norwich, 6.
  • 28. Cal. Pat. 1247-58, 439-44.
  • 29. Cal. Exch. Jews, ii. 235-6; Cal. Pat. 1274-81, 42.
  • 30. Cal. Pat. 1292-1301, 18; Trans. Jewish Hist. Soc. ii. 90.
  • 31. Pipe R. 1202 (P.R.S. N.S. xv), p. xx; P.R.O., JUST 1/232, rot. 11d.
  • 32. Cal. Lib. 1245-51, 254; 1251-60, 97, 280; Close R. 1247- 51, 198; 1251-3, 135; 1254-6, 8, 24, 46.
  • 33. Cal. Lib. 1245-51, 316.
  • 34. P.R.O., JUST 1/233, rot. 36; JUST 1/238, rot. 27.
  • 35. Ibid. JUST 3/18/4, rot. 4d.; E.A.T. 3rd ser. xx. 47.
  • 36. P.R.O., JUST 3/19/2, rot. 33; JUST 3/19/8, rot. 31.
  • 37. Ibid. JUST 3/18/5, rott. 22, 38d.; ibid. KB 27/312, rot. 16.
  • 38. Ibid. JUST 1/238, rot. 59; JUST 1/242, rot. 112.
  • 39. Colch. Arch. Rep. iii. 186-9, 211-14; E.A.T. 3rd ser. vii. 33-54.
  • 40. B.L. Campb. Ch. ix. 2, 4, 5.
  • 41. Rot. Parl. i. 228-65, summarized and analysed in E.A.T. N.S. ix. 126-55.
  • 42. Rot. Parl. i. 228-65.
  • 43. Proc. Suff. Institute of Arch. and Nat. Hist. xii. 141-57.
  • 44. Cf. P.R.O., E 122/193/33.
  • 45. Rot. Parl. i. 228-65.
  • 46. P.R.O., SC 6/1089/7, 17-18.
  • 47. Cal. Pat. 1266-72, 707; Abbrev. Plac. (Rec. Com.), 238; Cart. St. John of Jerusalem, p. 154.
  • 48. Cal. Fine R. 1272-1307, 520.
  • 49. P.R.O., JUST 3/18/5, rot. 38d.
  • 50. Ibid. E 122/50/2, 4, 8; N.S.B. Gras, Early Eng. Customs System, 400-1; Cal. Pat. 1307-13, 446.
  • 51. Cal. Pat. 1324-7, 119; Cal. Mem. R. 1326-7, p. 130.
  • 52. Britnell, Growth and Decline, 20-1.
  • 53. E.R.O., D/B 5 R1, ff. 35v., 37.
  • 54. Ibid. D/B 5 R2, f. 139.
  • 55. Cal. Pat. 1340-3, 286; P.R.O., KB 2/22/1; B.L. Cott. Ch. xviii. 9.
  • 56. E.R.O., D/B 5 R1, ff. 30-113, which seldom records the occupations of new burgesses.
  • 57. G. H. Martin, 'Borough and Merchant Community of Ipswich 1317-1422' (Oxf. Univ. D. Phil. thesis 1955), 104, 128-9, 131; New Hist. Geog. Eng. ed. C. Darby, 184; Hoskins, Local Hist. in Eng. 238.
  • 58. Britnell, Growth and Decline, 76-7.
  • 59. Cal. Pat. 1340-3, 296, 317; 1343-5, 539.
  • 60. P.R.O., KB 9/22/1-2.
  • 61. Cal. Close, 1341-3, 204-5, 292.
  • 62. P.R.O., KB 9/22/1-2; Cal. Pat. 1340-3, 256, 286.
  • 63. Cal. Close, 1343-6, 478; Cal. Pat. 1350-4, 130.
  • 64. E.R.O., D/B 5 R2, ff. 4-5, 8 and v.
  • 65. Romania, xxxii. 54; Cal. Close 1419-22, 49.
  • 66. Cal. Pat. 1374-7, 421; 1381-5, 40; 1396-9, 10, 115; E.R.O., D/B 5 Cr 16, rot. 13d.
  • 67. Cal. Close, 1377-81, 258; 1385-9, 362, 376.
  • 68. Ibid. 1354-60, 438; Cal. Pat. 1361-4, 291.
  • 69. Cal. Pat. 1361-4, 497, 511, 515, 521; 1374-7, 3.
  • 70. Ibid. 1364-7, 211; 1367-70, 67.
  • 71. Ibid. 1461-7, 265; 1476-85, 64.
  • 72. Cal. Close, 1337-9, 596; 1343-6, 542; 1354-60, 375.
  • 73. Sel. Rec. City of Norwich, ed. W. Hudson and J. C. Tingey, ii. 51.
  • 74. E.R.O., D/B 5 R1, ff. 51v.-81.
  • 75. Britnell, Growth and Decline, 65-7; P.R.O., C 1/66, no. 230.
  • 76. Cal. Close, 1360-4, 248; Britnell, Growth and Decline, 64-5; Recesse und Akten der Hansetage 1256-1430, iii, p. 309.
  • 77. Cal. Close, 1385-9, 67, 163, 481, 566; Hansisches Urkundenbuch, iv, p. 434.
  • 78. J. H. Wylie, Hist. Eng. under Hen. IV, iv. 2.
  • 79. Hansisches Urkundenbuch, vii (1), p. 351; viii, p. 75.
  • 80. P.R.O., C 1/81, no. 70; Cal. Lond. Plea and Mem. Rolls, 1413-37, 3; Hansisches Urkundenbuch, viii, p. 176; Britnell, Growth and Decline, 163-7, 181.
  • 81. P.R.O., C 1/68, no. 228; Vincent van der Beck was admitted a burgess in 1390-1, and one of the Hanseatic merchants, Frowyn Stepyng, was in London in 1392: E.R.O., D/B 5 R1, f. 62; Hansisches Urkundenbuch, iv, p. 32.
  • 82. S. Jenks, Periodizität der hansischen Englandhandels, 403. Not all the identifications are correct. John Friday who occurs 1403-4, identified as the German Johann Vridach, was more probably John Friday of Chelmsford who became a burgess of Colchester in 1406-7: E.R.O., D/B 5 R1, f. 72; Grieve, Sleepers and Shadows, 49-50.
  • 83. Jenks, Periodizität der hansischen Englandhandels, 398; Britnell, Growth and Decline, 169-72.
  • 84. Jenks, Periodizitat der hansischen Englandhandels, 409-10.
  • 85. B.L. Cott. Ch. xviii. 9; Cal. Pat. 1446-52, 431, 579; 1452-61, 223-4.
  • 86. Britnell, Growth and Decline, 175-7; P.R.O., C 1/11, no. 512; cf. Jenks, Periodizität der hansischen Englandhandels, 415-20.
  • 87. Hansisches Urkundenbuch, viii, p. 176; x, p. 67; xi, pp. 352-4, 365-7, 381; P.R.O., C 1/29, no. 440; C 1/46, no. 320.
  • 88. Jenks, Periodizitat der hansischen Englandhandels, 414.
  • 89. P.R.O., C 1/7, no. 112; E.R.O., D/B 5 Cr47, rot. 22d.; D/B 5 R1, ff. 83v., 99; cf. Jenks, Periodizitat der hansischen Englandhandels, 396-426.
  • 90. Britnell, Growth and Decline, 171-7.
  • 91. E.R.O., D/B 5 R1, f. 154v.; Cal. Pat. 1401-5, 337; P.R.O., C 1/13, no. 147a.
  • 92. Cely Papers (Camd. Soc. [1st ser.], clxix), 42.
  • 93. Overseas Trade of Lond. 1480-1 (Lond. Rec. Soc. xxvii), pp. 2-3.
  • 94. Cal. Lond. Plea and Mem. Rolls, 1413-37, 164; Cal. Pat. 1422-9, 311.
  • 95. Cal. Pat. 1416-22, 413; 1422-9, 147; 1441-6, 388; 1452-61, 270.
  • 96. Ibid. 1476-85, 267, 291; Sel. Cases before King's Council (Selden Soc. xxxv), 103.
  • 97. Cal. Pat. 1422-9, 457, 525.
  • 98. Cal. Close, 1413-19, 236; 1419-22, 141; 1435-41, 418, 420.
  • 99. Cal. Pat. 1452-61, 321, 618; 1466-77, 321.
  • 100. P.R.O., C 1/48, no. 135; C 1/61, no. 420; C 1/195, no. 36.
  • 101. E.R.O., D/B 5 R1, f. 74v.; D/DCm 218/9.
  • 102. Ibid. D/B 5 R1, ff. 91v., 99, 112; Cal. Pat. 1476-85, 267; Britnell, Growth and Decline, 211.
  • 103. P.R.O., C 1/17, no. 198.
  • 104. Britnell, Growth and Decline, 184.
  • 105. P.R.O., C 1/85, no. 53; Cal. Pat. 1401-5, 337, 341; 1436-41, 239; 1446-52, 300; Cal. Close, 1422-9, 464; 1429- 35, 355; Feet of F. Essex, iii. 229.
  • 106. P.R.O., KB 9/26/2, nos. 175-7.
  • 107. E.R.O., D/B 5 R2, f. 165 and v.; Bodl. MS. Rolls Essex 2.
  • 108. E.R.O., D/B 5 R1, f. 111.
  • 109. Ibid. Acc. C104, box of family and estate papers 1425-1893; Med. Industries, ed. J. Blair and N. Ramsay, 68.
  • 110. E.R.O., D/B 5 R1, ff. 35-110v.
  • 111. Ibid. D/B 5 R2, ff. 143v., 150v.; D/B 5 Cr28, rot. 24; Cr31, rot. 17d.
  • 112. Cal. Close, 1381-5, 145, 181; 1399-1402, 239; E.R.O., D/B 5 Cr73, rot. 1d.
  • 113. Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 411, translated in Colch. Charters, 2; J. E. T. Rogers, Hist. Agric. and Prices in Eng. i. 606-8, 617; iv. 538.
  • 114. E.R.O., D/B 5 Cr5, rott. 6d., 8d.; Cr9, rot. 1d.; Cr11, rot. 2; Cr15, rot. 3; Cal. Inq. Misc. iii, p. 406.
  • 115. P.R.O., C 260/74, no. 55; E.A.T. 3rd ser. xxii. 67-75.
  • 116. Morant, Colch. 90-1.
  • 117. E.R.O., D/B 5 Cr32, rot. 15d.; Cr36, rott. 2d., 21; Cr39, rott. 1, 2, 3; Cr41, rot. 1d.; Cr55, rot. 3; Cr56, rot. 17d.; Cr57, rot. 2d.; Cr72, rot. 19d.; Cr74, rot. 23.
  • 118. Ibid. D/B 5 R1, f. 21.
  • 119. Cal. Close, 1413-19, 7; P.R.O., C 1/81, no. 56.
  • 120. E.R.O., D/B 5 R1, ff. A-C; P.R.O., E 122/193/33; E 122/52/42.
  • 121. E.R.O., D/B 5 Cr1, rot. 5; Cr14, rot. 10d.
  • 122. Ibid. D/B 5 Cr14, rot. 1; Cr59, rot. 3.
  • 123. Ibid. D/B 5 R2, ff. 65v.-66.
  • 124. Ibid. D/B 5 Cr45, rott. 16d., 27.
  • 125. Britnell, Growth and Decline, 245.
  • 126. E.R.O., D/B 5 Cr36, rot. 23d.
  • 127. Ibid. D/B 5 R2, f. 13; D/B 5 Cr45, rot. 25; V.C.H. Essex, ii. 383.
  • 128. V.C.H. Essex, ii. 384; Britnell, Growth and Decline, 242-3.
  • 129. E.R.O., D/B 5 Cr47, rot. 22d.
  • 130. Britnell, Growth and Decline, 244-5.
  • 131. V.C.H. Essex, ii. 383-4.
  • 132. Britnell, Growth and Decline, 181-92, 277-8.
  • 133. Ibid. 206-8; Econ. H.R. civ. 184-5.
  • 134. Cf. Proc. Suff. Institute of Arch. and Hist. xxxvi. 76, 97.