The English Historical Review/Volume 37/A General Court of the Merchant Adventurers in 1547

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A General Court of the Merchant Adventurers in 1547

The document printed below from the Tanner MS. 90 in the Bodleian Library appears to consist of two leaves from the Court Books of one of the Tudor trading companies. The references to the general court, to the governor, to 'carseis' (kerseys) point to the Merchant Adventurers. The 'colde marte' was one of the four groups of market-days held annually by that company. The document illustrates a dispute with the city of Antwerp not previously recorded and the interest of Bergen-op-Zoom ('Barowe') in the Adventurers' trade.[1] It adds weight to the contention of Mr. W. E. Lingelbach that the court abroad exercised jurisdiction over the entire 'fellowship' and that the executive government of the company was abroad and not in London, an opinion which is opposed to those of Ehrenberg, Gross, Cunningham, and Schanz.[2]

W. P. M. Kennedy


[Bodleian MS. Tanner 90, fos. 151–2.]

Generall Corte holden the
xxjth day of October ano 1547

Att this pñt courte beinge by the worshippll master gouernor . proponid how the lordes of the towne of barowe arne hethier Repaired . and haue made Requeste to this worshippfull fealisheppe for thobseruacion and kepinge of this next colde marte att their said towne of barrowe accordinge to the mooste aunciente and Right laudable order of longe tyme here to foore vsedd. after good deliberacõne and well ponderinge the vtillities or discomodities wc their bie might chaunce vnto this fealisheppe . speciallie at this pñt perceavinge the continuall and daylie violacion of or priveledges wt in this towne of antwerppe . not wt standinge greate and longe sewte made to the lordis of the saide towne for Redresse of the same att whoes handes noo Reasonable . aunswer nor Remeadye in that parte can be hadde beinge greatte likelyhod that the contynuall demire in this their towne all the fower martes contrarie to oure olde auncyente and accostomide maner/ cawsith them the lesse to Regarde the parformance of their saide priueledge wt vs / yt is thiere fore thowght moste expediente and nessessarie for the better presentation of our priueledgis / leste the same sholld fall too vtter Ruine and dekey / wc by our auncyentes and predesessors in tyme paste wt noo small difficultie ware gotten and oppteynede that from hence forthe wee obserue our olde orders in kepinge our said martes in bothe townes as in tymes paste wie weare accostomyd / And for to haue large triall of all menys oppinyons in this be hallfe the determynacion[3] therof beinge putt accordinge to our olde order vnto the erectinge and listing vpp of handes, ytt is finallie their by determyned, and is by auctoritie of the worshippfull Mr gouernor assistente and generalitie ordeyned and enacted that the said colde marte nexte ensuynge shall be hollden and kepid at the said towne of barowe vppon zoone / and all suche clothes carseis cottens and all other the comodyteis of the Realme of englande whatt soo mever, belonginge or apperteyninge to anye the King's maiesties subietts wc arne or shall be laded shipped or other wyse traunsported hether into theis parties vnto the said colde marte shalbe conveyde browght and discherged at the said towne of barowe . and to noo other plase wtin thies parties of hollande zealande brabant and flanders vppon payne too forfaite for euery clothe other wyse browght or to be conveyde contrarie to this acte xxs. st̂. And for all other comodyteis after the rate / And is further in acted that euerye brother fealishepp hauinge any clothes carseis or otheir whatt soo meuer the comodytes of the Realme of Ynglande here Remayninge shall cause the same to be fardelled trussed and packed vpp . and the same soo ferdellid packed or trussed . to be shipped . laden . and to be conveyde to barowe by crestmas yeven next ensuyng. wtout fraude or coullor And their parsonis wt all to departe hence to the said towne at the said daye att the[4] ffurdeste / leade here beinge all Redye wt in this towne of andwerpe is accepted / and that no brother of this fealisheppe after the said daye shal by . sell shew nor delyuer . nor by any means vse feate of marchaundise etheir by him sellfe or any other for him wtin this towne of andwerpe dewringe the contynuance of the said colde marte wtn the said towne of barrowe vpon payne of one hundred markes st̃ to be forfayted and paid as often as any brother of this fealishep͠p shalbe found fawtie or directlie or vnderectly doinge in any maner of wyse contrarye to the trewe meanyng of this ordynance ayther by fraude color or other wyse and is ordeyned that lr̃es of aduyse shalbe wretten to London and to all other placis wheare anye of the bretherin of this fealishipp dwell and arre presydente to the intent euerye of them maye haue sufficient warnynge and knowledge of the prymisses /.

  1. See Wheeler, Treatise on Commerce, p. 16.
  2. Royal Hist. Soc. Trans. New Ser. xvi. 51 ff.
  3. fo. 151v.
  4. fo. 152.