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Chief amongst these is the raft of contracts for the advance purchase of wool entered into by both monastic institutions and lay producers, who bargained for the sale of the produce of their flocks for up to twenty years in advance with mostly foreign and particularly Italian more specifically Florentine and Lucchese merchant societies often in return for huge sums of liquid capital.

These were employed by E. Lloyd in a number of works which set a standard that few have challenged. The book was published posthumously and as such does not contain footnotes or referencing. Lloyd does not investigate the advance contracts in great detail — other than discussing briefly some of the terms and amounts present in a few selected examples. While both attest to the importance of such contracts in the functioning and financing of the trade, their intention, however, was mainly to place them within the broader economic context and to examine English involvement in the western European wool and commodity markets.

The English Wool Market, c.1230-1327

As a consequence of this diversity of focus, though, there has been no concerted attempt to explore the fuller extent of the source base, meaning that important details may have been obscured from economic historians and, perhaps more pertinently, historians of the local and monastic economy. Despite this lack of in-depth discussion, historians do still make statements regarding the early existence of sophisticated financial instruments within the wool market in England. Our study will provide a considered view on these advance wool sales and we will argue that they should be seen as financial instruments combining an element of loan and forward contract characteristics, and certainly should not be viewed as early evidence of futures contracts.


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Of course, it must be made clear from the outset that the surviving contracts discussed in this volume represent but a modest fraction of the wool that changed hands in England in the period under consideration. The contracts also shed light on the construction, function and, frequently, collapse of their trading and credit networks on both the local and national stages. However, as intimated above, an examination of the appropriate historical documents demonstrates the existence of quite sophisticated financial contracts much earlier.

The first official exchange for trading contracts for forward delivery, the Royal Exchange which later became the London Commodity Exchange , was formed in as a place where metal traders could come together.

British Wool - Herding & Countryside Management

A formal futures exchange occurred in the late seventeenth century in the Japanese rice markets. Within the historical literature, however, there is an ongoing revisionism regarding the sophistication of medieval financial transactions. Recent research has included that by J. Munro and M. Kowaleski on transaction costs, by J.

The English Wool Market, c.

Masschaele on business partnerships and by P. Spufford on banking. Gilchrist presents an example of non-existent loans of wheat where only cash actually changed hands made at prices below those prevailing and where repayment occurred later at market value. These options would pay the holder in certain circumstances, and would artificially create the same contingent pay-offs as a loan secured on property.

Both put and call options giving the holder the right but not the obligation to sell and the right but not the obligation to buy respectively were written on tulip bulbs in Amsterdam in the s. Bell ; Chris Brooks ; Paul R. Publisher: Cambridge University Press , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title The wool market was extremely important to the English medieval economy and wool dominated the English export trade from the late-thirteenth century to its decline in the late-fifteenth century.

The English wool market, c.1230-1327 - By Adrian R. Bell, Chris Brooks, and Paul R. Dryburgh

Book Description : Wool was at the forefront of the establishment of England as a European political and economic power. About the Author : Paul R. Buy New Learn more about this copy.


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