Drapery in Exile: Edward III, Colchester and the Flemings

Milan Pajic, Bart Lambert

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4 Citations (Scopus)
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Throughout the fourteenth century, Edward III issued several letters of protectionencouraging Flemish textile workers to establish their trade in England. During thecenturies that followed, historians have disagreed about the newcomers’ contribution tothe development of English drapery. Lacking in each debate were quantifiable data relatedto the presence of Flemish cloth-workers on English soil. This article argues that, between1351 and 1367, over 100 immigrants from the Low Countries settled in Colchester, twenty-seven of whom were Flemish textile manufacturers exiled from Flanders and welcomed byEdward III in 1351. Attracted by excellent natural conditions for clothmaking, a shortageof manpower following the Black Death and an open economic environment, they madea vital contribution to the town’s development as an internationally renowned centre oftextile production that was able to withstand the pattern of urban decay so prevalent inother parts of late medieval England.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-753
Number of pages21
Issue number338
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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