The wool trade as the modernization engine of English economy, its social impact and its intersection with politics

Table of Contents

1. Introduction p. 4

1.1 Lede p. 4

1.2 Research question p. 4

1.3 Methods and literature p. 5

2. Theories regarding the economic development and modernization of medieval England p. 8

2.1 Introduction p. 8

2.2 Construction of a combinatory model p. 11

2.3 Components of a combinatory model p. 13

2.3.1 Commercialization p. 13

2.3.2 Demographic analysis p. 16

2.3.3 Class analysis p. 18

2.3.4 Institutions p. 19

3. Foundations of society and economy in the middle ages p. 22

3.1 The estate system as the central organizing principle of the middle ages p. 22

3.2 Clerics p. 23

3.3 Nobility p. 24

3.4 The third estate p. 25

3.4.1 Slaves, serfs and free men p. 25

3.4.2 Additional income and labor services p. 26

3.4.3 Early trading and exchange of goods p. 27

3.4.4 Early crafts p. 28

3.4.5 Groups that do not fit the estate system p. 28

4. The origin of commercialization and prerequisites for the rise of the cloth industry p. 29

4.1 Population and urban growth, scarcity of land p. 29

4.1.1 Population growth and scarcity of land p. 29

4.1.2 Growth of markets p. 31

4.1.3 Urban growth p. 32

4.2 Commercialization and the role of nobility and clerics p. 36

4.2.1 Growing monetary needs of nobility and clerics p. 36

4.2.2 Market and borough foundations p. 37

4.2.3 Monetarization of tenures p. 39

4.2.4 Decline of labor services p. 40

4.2.5 Monetarization of the economy p. 42

4.3 Societal consequences p. 42

4.4 Institutional problems of the high medieval English economy p. 44

5. The success of commercialization and growth of long-distance trade p. 46

5.1 Reasons for the success of commercialization p. 46

5.2 The rise of the share of the market economy p. 48

5.3 The rise of long-distance trade p. 49

5.4 The wool trade and wool exports as predecessors of the cloth trade and cloth exports p. 50

6. Urban cloth industries as key industries during commercialization in the late Middle Ages p. 52

6.1 Good prerequisites for the rise of the cloth industry in England p. 52

6.2 Origin and function of the urban cloth industries p. 53

6.2.1 Origin of the urban cloth industry, technological innovations and the beginning of the division of labor p. 53

6.2.2 Labor division varieties p. 57

6.2.3 Division of labor in boroughs with little cloth production p. 58

6.2.4 Division of labor in boroughs engaging in long-distance trade with cloths p. 59

6.3 The commercialization as incentive for the formal organization and regulation of urban economies and commerce p. 60

6.3.1 The need for self-government p. 60

6.3.2 The begin of self-government p. 61

6.3.3 Leicester as case study p. 63

6.3.4 Decline of the local domination of guilds p. 65

6.3.5 The role of guilds as representatives of local business and entire boroughs before the king p. 65

6.3.6 Interim conclusion: The importance of the cloth industry for economic growth and the establishment and preservatuon of social and economical hierarchies in “free” boroughs p. 67

7. Crisis and resurgence of the economy and the cloth industries p. 71

7.1 The general economic crisis in England starting in the 1290s p. 71

7.2 The crisis of the cloth industries p. 73

7.3 The taxation of English wool exports and the consequences p. 76

7.4 The importance of the Black Death p. 79

7.5 Resurgence of the English cloth industry and its cloth exports p. 84

7.5.1 Change towards more expensive cloth production p. 84

7.5.2 The role of the fulling mill p. 86

7.5.3 Emergence of larger cloth industries in the countryside and western England p. 87

7.5.4 The ongoing importance of boroughs for the cloth industry p. 89

7.6 English foreign and trade policy from the 1360s on and the consequences p. 91

7.7 Transition of the areas of production and the markets p. 93

7.8 The definite rise of the cloth industry and the supplantation of the wool industry as the most important export industry p. 96

8. Conclusion: The importance of the cloth industry for England’s rise as world commercial power p. 102

9. Bibliography p. 107