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Medieval Sourcebook:
Douai: Regulations on the Manufacture & Sale of Cloth, 1244


The bitterness existing between the small dealers and the aristocratic drapers in Flanders, by reason of the scarcely tolerated supremacy of the latter, led to combinations and revolts. In Douai a decree was passed to forbid these revolts.

1. The edict is made that no one be so bold in all this town, either man or woman burgess, or man servant or maid servant, that he be a party to a revolt; and whoever does this will incur a forfeit of £60, and will be banished from the town for a year. And if anyone has been a party to a revolt, let him make reparation, under forfeit of £60, and banishment from the town for a year.

2. And whoever should take part in a combination against the town, of whatever craft he may be, shall incur the same forfeit.

In the year 1244, the month of January.

The drapers prevented the weavers of Douai from selling cloth, and likewise the merchants were forbidden to make cloth. A clear distinction was thus drawn between the two functions.

1. And the edict is made that no one be so bold, either man or woman, if he take, or cause to be taken, cloth of Douai, or linsey-woolsey, in bolts or lengths, or any kind, outside of the town to sell, that he engage in cloth making, or that he be a partner or associate of a cloth maker, either man or woman.

2. And the merchant, man or woman, who should trespass in this shall incur a forfeit of £50 and be banished from the town, and shall lose the right to trade for one year.

3. And the cloth maker, man or woman, who should be a partner or associate of theirs shall incur the same forfeit of £50 and shall be banished from the town, and shall not be allowed to make cloth for a year.

4. And the merchant, man or woman, who takes cloth or linsey-woolsey, or causes them to be taken out of the town, whether it be for selling or trading, know that they may have but one associate for a single kind of merchandise.

5. And he who should trespass in this shall incur a forfeit of £50 and shall be banished from the city, and may not trade nor take an indirect part in trading for a year.

6. And if he seek ways and means to it in any manner whatsoever, and if he be convicted of it, he shall incur a forfeit of £50 and shall be banished, and shall lose the right to trade for a year.

7. And every burgess, man or woman, who has associates in these affairs of more than one person in one transaction shall release them before the coming feast of the nativity of St. John the Baptist under the same forfeit.

8. And no cloth maker, man or woman, may take cloth or linsey-woolsey, or cause them to be taken, to sell if it is not according to the permission of the sherifis.

9. And if they take them away by their permission they shall agree to export cloth for one year.

10. And the cloth maker, man or woman, who should do otherwise shall incur a forfeit of £50 and shall be banished from the town, and shall lose his craft for one year.

These edicts were proclaimed in the year 1247, the second day before the feast of Our Lady in March, and these edicts shall apply for five years.

The city of Douai drew up regulations for the dyers of the town as well as for the weavers. The monopoly of dyeing was lodged in the hands of the native craft which must only use woolen cloth properly made within the town. The quality of the cloth, and of the dye, was also maintained. Excessive hours of work, combinations of workers, and the hiring of untrained men, were all forbidden to the weavers.

 


Sheriffs' edict concerning the right of foreigners in the matter of dyeing.

1. The edict is made that no dyer be so bold that he dye wool in a caldron if it belong to a foreign man or woman, under forfeit of £10 and banishment from the town.

2. And let no man or woman who is a resident in this town cause such kind of wool to be dyed for a foreign man or woman under the same forfeit.


Sheriffs' edict forbidding the dyeing of materials which have not been woven and dressed in the town.

1. The edict is made that no dyer be so bold that he dye cloth or blankets if they have not been woven and dressed in this town, under forfeit of £50 and banishment from the town for a year.

2. And the man or woman who owns the cloth or blankets shall lose them.

3. And if a burgess, man or woman, cause such cloths or blankets to be dyed by deceit, he shall incur the forfeit of the dyer.

4. And the dyer shall be acquitted if he has testimony which the sheriffs accept that the man or woman had told him the cloth or blankets had been woven and dressed in this town.

 


Sheriffs' edict forbidding all deceit in wool and in dye materials.

1. The edict is made that no one be so bold, either man or woman, in all this town that he commit fraud in woolen cloth or linsey-woolsey.

2. And let no one be so bold, either man or woman, that he commit fraud concerning dye materials.

3. And let no dyer commit fraud concerning his dye for the sake of money.

4. And whoever should trespass in any of the above edicts shall incur a forfeit of £50, and shall be banished from the town, and shall lose his craft for a year.

5. And the dye-maker who is a party to such operations will incur a forfeit of £50 and shall be banished one year from the town, and shall lose his craft.

6. And whoever should seek ways and means to break any of these edicts shall incur the same forfeit.

Sheriffs' edict regulating the method of hiring and the days and hours of work of journeyman weavers.

1. The edict is made that no weaver or others of the same trade be so bold that they hire a workman for weaving, nor form combinations in the market place at Ville Neuve, nor elsewhere, within the jurisdiction of this town, under penalty of 20 solidi forfeit. And whoever should allow himself to be hired, or forms a combination, shall incur a forfeit of 10 solidi.

2. And let the workmen begin their work when the first mass is sung at St. Peter’s; and let them cease work when the upholsterers stop work. And on Saturday, and the eve of the Feast of the Apostles, let them stop work at precisely noon, under penalty of 20 solidi.


Source.

From: G. Espinas & H. Pirenne, eds., Recueil de Documents Relatifs a l'Histoire de l’Industrie Drapiere en Flandre, (Brussels: Academie Royale de Belgique, 1909), Tome II, pp. 22, 26, 30, 37-38, 64; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 253-256.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, September 1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu