1300 – The Flemish Arrive

1303 INSPEXIMUS OF EDWARD I

Inspeximus: an English charter or letters patent beginning with the Latin word inspeximus in which the grantor confirms and recites a former charter

 

1321 EDWARD III ENCOURAGES FLEMISH WEAVING INFLUENCE

1327 INSPEXIMUS OF EDWARD III

1347 – 1353 BLACK DEATH

Flemish Immigrants

In 1321 the Court of Husting (early meetings of the Aldermen) declared it lawful for all Freemen to set up looms and sell cloth so long as the King received his yearly ferm. Try as it would, the Weavers’ Guild could not maintain complete control of its craft. Some weavers simply moved out to the country to evade the Guild’s control. In their place “aliens” moved in. These developments were particularly marked in the reign of Edward III, who recognised the national value of the cloth trade and was determined to promote it. He issued regulations forbidding the export of wool and the import of foreign cloth. Flemish weavers, already discontented with conditions in Flanders, were encouraged to bring their skills to England. The Weavers were prevented by the King, whose wife Philippa of Hainault was Flemish, from forcing the foreign workers to join their Guild and pay dues. Instead the Flemish workers were allowed to set up their own Guild and measures were introduced to protect them. Disputes continued between the two weaving guilds for over a hundred years during which time many attempts were made to reach agreement. Eventually in 1497 a pact was made protecting the interests of both sides and merging both groups into the Weavers’ Guild.

 

The Black Death
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