Export Expansion, 1470–1555
Exports grew rapidly from 37,000 cloths in the late 1460s to 117,000 cloths in the early 1540s, as the European economy revived, conflicts with Burgundy and the Hanse lessened, and treaties were signed with many countries which improved distribution networks. Spanish trade was encouraged by lower customs duties. Overland shipping routes to Eastern Europe, Italy and the Levant replaced the slow and unstable maritime trade. Kersey added a second woollen cloth to the merchants’ arsenal and smaller quantities of cottons, frieze and straits and Yorkshire dozens and penistones were also exported. The share of the trade by alien merchants remained relatively stable at 40–50 per cent of the trade. London’s share of the trade ranged from 60 per cent to 90 per cent of the national trade in the course of the first half of the sixteenth century. The only other port to prosper until the 1540s was Exeter.