chapter  12
16 Pages

The London-Antwerp Ascendency and the Merchant Adventurers Company

ByJohn Oldland

Antwerp had become the primary destination for English cloth by the mid-fifteenth century, and was the chief emporium for linen, other raw materials and luxuries that England wanted. This favoured London and its merchants who dominated the Merchant Adventurers and influenced the city’s government. London mercers were the largest merchant company in the trade as they exchanged woollens for linen, followed by drapers with their cloth expertise. The economy was now driven by cloth, although London at the same time increased its share of the declining wool trade. The London economy rapidly expanded, especially after 1500, driven by profits from exported cloth, the wholesaling of imported goods and the re-distribution of cloth and other products across the country.