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Noble Merchant: William Browne and Stamford in the Fifteenth Century
by Alan Rogers
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ISBN: 9781845495503
Format: softback
170x244 mm
(6.69x9.61 inches)
Pages: 360
Imprint: abramis
Cover Price: £19.95
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Noble Merchant: William Browne   and Stamford in the Fifteenth Century
 
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  • Description

STAMFORD in the fifteenth century retained something of its early medieval international greatness, but was changing, creating winners and losers. The chief winner was William Browne, "a merchant of a very wonderfulle richenesse" [Leland]. A wool merchant whose commercial empire spread from Boston and Ipswich to Coventry and Southampton as well as Calais; money lender to crown, nobility and local tradesmen and women; property owner in town and countryside, not above using underhand means to build up his estates; town councillor and gildsman, a leader in every field he touched (including mayor of the powerful Calais Staple), he bestrode the town like a colossus. He rebuilt his parish church (All Saints in the Market) and filled it with brasses to his close-knit family. Living for some eighty years during that troubled century, he carefully avoided commitment during the Wars of the Roses which several times threatened to embroil his town, unlike his brother-in-law who fought for Henry VI and was sent to the Tower of London, or his nephew who became well known in the courts of Henry VII and his mother Lady Margaret Beaufort. Despite manors in Lincolnshire, Rutland and Northamptonshire, William Browne and his wife Margaret rejected the life of the county squirearchy and espoused the urban life. Traditional (even old-fashioned) in religion but with a hankering after the reclusive life, he was a man of few words, to judge by his will, but he left behind (though not without controversy) "one of the best medieval Hospitals in England" [Pevsner]. This book contains the story of a man called by his contemporaries "a noble merchant" in his time and "in his place".

 
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