Leges Edwardis Confessoris:
The Liberties of London, c. 1120
The laws of Edward the Confessor, written after A.D. 1115, prescribed certain rules
for the conduct of merchants, and though London probably had no merchant gild, detailed
regulations similar to those set up by the gilds of England must have existed in the
twelfth century. The privilege of selling at retail was usually reserved to local
Liberty of Cities.
C.l. Be it known that within the space of three miles from all parts outside of the
city a man ought not to hold or hinder another, and also should not do business with him
if he wish to come to the city under its peace. But when he arrives in the city, then let
the market be the same to the rich man as to the poor.
Concerning Liberty of the Citizens of London.
C.2. Be it also known that a man who is from the court of the king or the barons
ought not to lodge in the house of any citizen of London for three nights, either by
privilege or by custom, except by consent of the host. For if he force the host to lodge
him in his house and there be killed by the host, let the host choose six from his
relatives and let him as the seventh swear that he killed him for the said cause. And thus
he will remain quit of the murder of the deceased towards the king and relatives and lords
of the deceased.
C.8. And after he has entered the city, let a foreign merchant be lodged wherever
it please him. But if he bring dyed cloth, let him see to it that he does not sell his
merchandise at retail, but that he sell not less than a dozen pieces at a time. And if he
bring pepper, or cumin, or ginger, or alum, or brasil wood, or resin, or incense, let him
sell not less than fifteen pounds at a time. But if he bring belts, let him sell not less
than a thousand at a time. And if he bring cloths of silk, or wool or linen, let him see
that he cut them not, but sell them whole. But if he bring wax, let him sell not less than
one quartanum. Also a foreign merchant may not buy dyed cloth, nor make the dye in the
city, nor do any work which belongs by right to the citizens.
C.9. Also no foreign merchant with his partner may set up any market within the
city for reselling goods in the city, nor may he approach a citizen for making a bargain,
nor may he stop longer in the City.
From: Benjamin Thorpe, ed., Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, (London:
Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1840), p. 462, 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. 199-200.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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