Henry II of England:
Grant of a Gild to the Oxford Cordwainers, 1175
The cordwainers derived their name from the Spanish leather or cord wain which they
used in the manufacture of shoes. Henry II granted many such liberties in the closing
years of his reign in exchange for an annual fine payable at the Exchequer.
Know ye that I have granted and confirmed to the corvesars of Oxford all the liberties
and customs which they had in the time of King Henry, my grandfather, and that they have
their guild, so that none carry on their trade in the town of Oxford, except he be of that
I grant also that the cordwainers who afterwards may come into the town of Oxford shall
be of the same guild and shall have the same liberties and customs which the corvesars had
or ought to have.
For this grant and confirmation, however, the corvesars and cordwainers ought to pay me
every year an ounce of gold.
From: Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval
Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York:
Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 237-238.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by
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© Paul Halsall, October 1998