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The English and Irish Wool Trade and the Export Ban

  • Peter J. Bowden

Abstract

By the end of the sixteenth century England’s transition from raw wool exporter to cloth exporter had been virtually completed. Inevitably, this change in the nature of English exports increased the dependence of the native wool grower upon the home manufacturer and brought a great and growing government concern for the welfare of the wool-textile industry. In 1614 the export of wool was prohibited,1 but long before this English government policy had been directed towards the subordination of the wool growing and merchanting interests to those of the increasingly important manufacturing class.

Keywords

Seventeenth Century Foreign Competition Custom Officer Woollen Yarn Privy Council 
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Notes

  1. 3.
    L. Stone, ‘Elizabethan Overseas Trade’, Econ. Hist. Rev. 2nd ser. ii (1949), 49.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    The prices of some types of Spanish wool more than doubled between 1601 and 1612 (E. J. Hamilton, American Treasure and the Price Revolution in Spain, 1501–1650 (Cambridge, Mass., 1934), pp. 358, 361).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    For a full account of this see A. Friis, Alderman Cockayne’s Project and the Cloth Trade (Copenhagen and London, 1927).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fisher, Econ. Hist. Rev. 2nd ser. iii (1950), 153.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    W. R. Scott, Joint Stock Companies to 1720 (Cambridge, 1910), i, 170; P.R.O. S.P. 14/131/29.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    P.R.O. P.C. 2/54, fol. 155; Cal S.P. Dom. 1663–4, p. 531; 1699–1700, pp. 25, 62–3; H. of C. Journals, xii, 434; Hist. MSS. Comm. House of Lords MSS. N.S. v, 333; England’s Glory, by the Benefit of Wool Manufactured therein (1669), p. 17. Until the Union of 1707, England and Scotland pursued their own economic policies. Scottish policy relating to wool was irresolute, the export being sometimes prohibited and sometimes allowed. But the prohibitions were usually little more than nominal; and throughout the seventeenth century wool featured as one of the main Scots exports (I. F. Grant, The Economic History of Scotland (1934), pp. 69, 75–6, 80–1, 177, 183–6, 189). Consequently, as large quantities of English wool were thought to be smuggled across the border into Scotland and from thence exported to the continent, the Scots were more than once urged that ‘some course may be taken, that no wools nor woolfells may be transported out of Scotland beyond the seas’ (H. of C. Journals, ii, 456). See also A.P.C. 1616–17, pp. 16, 25; P.R.O. S.P. 14/88/76; Friis, op. cit., p. 322.Google Scholar
  7. 2.
    P.J. Bowden, Econ. Hist. Rev. 2nd ser. ix (1956), 48.Google Scholar
  8. 1.
    G. Wilson, Econ. Hist. Rev. 2nd ser. xiii (1960), 214.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© P. J. Bowden 1962

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Bowden
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldUK

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