Accounts of the English Crown with Italian merchant societies, 1272-1345
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The credit arrangements between the three Edwards and Italian merchants were crucial for financing England’s ambitious foreign policies and ensuring the smooth running of governmental administration. The functioning of this credit system can be followed in detail through the well-kept but mostly unpublished records of the English Exchequer. This volume combines a transcription of the most important surviving accounts between the merchants and the Crown, with a parallel abstract presenting the core data in a double-entry format as credits to or debits from the king's account. This dual format was chosen to facilitate the interpretation of the source while still retaining the language and, as far as possible, the structure of the original documents. The wealth of evidence presented here has much value to add to our understanding of the financing of medieval government and the early development of banking services provided by Italian merchant societies. In particular, although the relationship between king and banker was, for the most part, mutually profitable, the English kings also acquired a reputation for defaulting on their debts and thus 'breaking' a succession of merchant societies. These documents provide an essential basis for a re-examination of the 'credit rating' of the medieval English Crown.