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Medieval Sourcebook:
Grants of Privileges at London to the Hanse of Cologne, 1157-1194

The hanse of Cologne with other hanses of merchants prevailed upon the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa to make treaties with foreign countries, and a treaty was concluded with Henry II of England in A.D. 1157. In the same year the hanse of Cologne obtained special favors for themselves in London where they obtained royal protection of their house and equal privileges with the French in selling wine. From Richard I they bought freedom from certain tolls throughout England some years later.

Grant of Henry II, 1157.

Henry, by the grace of God, King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his justiciars, sheriffs, and all officers in England, greeting. I command you to guard, maintain, and protect the men and citizens of Cologne as if they were my own men and my friends; and you are to protect all their wares and merchandise and possessions so that you injure neither them, nor their house in London, nor their merchandise, nor impede their business, nor permit any of these things to be done. For all their things are in my custody and protection. For which reason let them have security and peace on paying their lawful customs; nor shall you exact from them any new customs or duties which they have not been accustomed to pay and which they ought not to pay. And if any one should maliciously transgress this order, see that full justice be done to him without delay. Witnesses, etc.

Grant of Henry II, 1157.

Henry, by the grace of God, King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to his sheriffs and bailiffs of London, greeting. I grant that the men of Cologne may sell their wine at the market where French wine is sold, namely, for three denarii the setier. And so I forbid them to be disturbed there or that any one should do them injury or harm. Witnesses, etc.

Grant of Richard I, 1194.

Richard, by the grace of God, King of England, Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and Count of Anjou, to the archbishops, bishops, earls, barons, justiciars, sheriffs, and to all officers and bailiffs, and to all his faithful people in England, greeting. Be it known that we have freed our beloved citizens of Cologne and their merchandise from those two solidi which they were accustomed to give for their gild-hall at London, and from all other customs and demands which pertain to us in London and throughout our land of England. We have granted also that they may come and go freely throughout our entire land, and that they may go freely and buy and sell in the fairs of our land, in the city of London, and elsewhere. Therefore we wish and command that the citizens of Cologne shall have the said liberties and free customs throughout all this our realm of England.

Witnesses, etc.


From: J. M. Lappenberg, ed., Urkundliche Geschichte des Hansischen Stahlhofes zu London, (Hamburg, 1851), Part II, pp. 3-5, 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. 220-222.

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


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