The Rise of London as a Financial Capital in Late Medieval England

  • Pamela Nightingale
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance book series (PSHF)


Nightingale discusses which factors explain why London emerged in the late fifteenth century as the financial capital of England. She concludes that in the fourteenth century, warfare, plague, and the control exercised over trade by England’s strong monarchy contributed to London’s rise, while in the fifteenth, falling wool exports, and bullion famines, reduced provincial credit. When Italian merchants returned to London in greater numbers after free trade was imposed on the city in 1351, to buy English cloth they financed their purchases by importing the raw materials that the industry needed. These imports drew provincial merchants to London because they enabled them to profit from a double trade to and from the city which allowed them to exchange their cloth for the raw materials and other goods provided by London’s greatly expanded import and distributive trade. These so enriched its merchantile class that they were able to make the city into the financial capital of England. When new supplies of bullion eventually allowed provincial credit to expand again, London’s position was unassailable.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pamela Nightingale
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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