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1. Raymond Firth, Elements of Social Organization: Josiah Mason Lectures Delivered at the University of Birmingham, 3d ed. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), pp. 30, 33. [BACK]

2. Peter M. Blau and W. Richard Scott, Formal Organizations: A Comparative Approach (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1963), p. 2. [BACK]

3. Firth, Elements of Social Organization, pp. 36–40. [BACK]

4. Blau and Scott, Formal Organizations, p. 5. The classic definition of “formal organization” is to be found in Chester Barnard, The Function of the Executive (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1938), pp. 65–95. [BACK]

5. See Charles Gross, The Gild Merchant: A Contribution to British Municipal History, 2 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890), vol. 1, p. 49. [BACK]

6. Veale, ed., Great Red Book, vol. 16, pp. 82–84; Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 16–18; McGrath, ed., Records, p. x; Patrick V. McGrath, The Merchant Venturers of Bristol: A History of the Society of Merchant Venturers of the City of Bristol from Its Origins to the Present Day (Bristol: Society of Merchant Venturers of Bristol, 1975), pp. 6, 8; Gross, Gild Merchant, vol. 1, pp. 45–46. The histories of previous organizations are associated primarily with the old Gild Merchant. A fraternity of merchants was founded in 1370 by one hundred and forty of the richest and most worthy townsmen, together with “plus ours aultres merchauntz et drapers,” for the purpose of regulating the sale of cloth in Bristol and of controlling dealings with strangers who frequented the town. But this was merely a reform of the Gild Merchant and, after 1372, when the gild’s right to admit freemen was successfully defended, there was no further reference to it. In the late Middle Ages, merchants were also organized through the Staple and its court in Bristol: LRB, vol. 2, pp. 51–55; Stella Kramer, The English Craft Gilds: Studies in Their Progress and Decline (New York: Columbia University Press, 1927), p. 29; Gross, Gild Merchant, vol. 2, pp. 353–55; Cronne, ed., Bristol Charters, 1378–1499, pp. 64–65; McGrath, ed., Records, p. ix n. 2. [BACK]

7. Veale, ed., Great Red Book, vol. 16, pp. 120–30; McGrath, Merchant Venturers of Bristol, p. 7. Nevertheless, the city’s leading merchants may have maintained some institutional association throughout the later fifteenth century. In 1493, thirteen of the most prominent of them joined together with thirteen mariners to build a new chapel in honor of St. Clement on what was later to be the site of the Merchants’ Hall and Almshouse. But it is by no means certain that the thirteen merchants were performing their charitable work on behalf of an existing gild or society. The years between 1467 and 1499 yield no solid evidence of the activities of any such company nor any record of the election of a master or other officers: LRB, vol. 2, pp. 186–92; Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 19–21; McGrath, ed., Records, pp. x, xi, 66; McGrath, Merchant Venturers of Bristol, p. 6 and 6n. 20. [BACK]

8. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 26–35. For a discussion of the implications of the new city charter of 1499, see Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 1, pp. 45–101; Sacks, “The Corporate Town and the English State,” pp. 86–87; Latham, ed., Bristol Charters, 1509–1899, pp. 1–19. [BACK]

9. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 26; Veale, ed., Great Red Book, vol. 8, pp. 57–60. [BACK]

10. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 30. Many other clauses point in this same direction. For example, it was ordered that no merchant or other burgess of the city send any wine, wax, woad, iron, or other merchandise out of the city without being able to demonstrate that it had first been sold in open market or had been explicitly requested by a letter from an out-of-town customer; ibid., pp. 27–28. Rules were also laid down governing the treatment to be accorded all vessels arriving in Bristol laden with wine, wax, iron, woad, cochineal, oil, or any other merchandise shipped by strangers. Bristolians were forbidden to receive these goods and store them for their owners without the consent of the assembled fellowship: Gross, Gild Merchant, vol. 1, pp. 48–50. [BACK]

11. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 32–33. [BACK]

12. Ibid., pp. 32–33. [BACK]

13. Ibid., p. 27. [BACK]

14. Ibid., p. 35. The intent was to avoid time-consuming and socially disruptive suits. [BACK]

15. Ibid., pp. 21–22; BRO, Old Ordinance Book, esp. ff. 2r–3v. [BACK]

16. Carr, ed., Select Charters of the Trading Companies, pp. 1–3; Connell-Smith, Forerunners of Drake, pp. 67, 70, 76, 81–82, 90–97; Pauline Croft, ed., The Spanish Company (London Record Society 9, 1973), p. viii. [BACK]

17. Connell-Smith, Forerunners of Drake, pp. 82, 89. [BACK]

18. Connell-Smith, Forerunners of Drake, pp. 94–97; Croft, ed., Spanish Company, p. viii. [BACK]

19. Chaunu, Séville et l’Atlantique, vol. 8, part 2, section 1, pp. 244–47, 273, 298. [BACK]

20. Ibid., vol. 8, part 2, section 1, pp. 248–49, 299; Connell-Smith, “English Merchants Trading to the New World,” pp. 53–67; Connell-Smith, Forerunners of Drake, pp. 70–75. [BACK]

21. Chaunu, Séville et l’Atlantique, vol. 8, part 2, section 1, p. 307; Hamilton, American Treasure, pp. 189, 198. [BACK]

22. Hamilton, American Treasure, pp. 321, 340–41. [BACK]

23. Ibid., p. 261. [BACK]

24. See Gould, Great Debasement, pp. 81–86, 94, 96, 133ff.; C. E. Challis, The Tudor Coinage (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1978), pp. 81–134, 223–31; C. E. Challis, “The Circulating Medium and the Movement of Prices in Mid-Tudor England,” in Peter Ramsey, ed., The Price Revolution in Sixteenth Century England (London: Methuen, 1971), pp. 117–33, 134–35, 139, 146; C. E. Challis, “Currency and the Economy in Mid-Tudor England,” EcHR, 2d ser., 25 (1972): 313–22; Albert Feaveryear, The Pound Sterling: A History of English Money, 2d ed., rev. E. Victor Morgan (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963), pp. 64–69; Y. Brenner, “The Inflation of Prices in Early Sixteenth-Century England,” in Ramsey, ed., Price Revolution, p. 78; de Roover, Gresham on Foreign Exchange, pp. 49–60; Fisher, “Commercial Trends and Policy in Sixteenth Century England,” pp. 155–57; Stone, “State Control,” p. 106; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 583–85. [BACK]

25. De Roover, Gresham on Foreign Exchange, pp. 57–58; Gould, Great Debasement, pp. 85, 90, 91–93; Stone, “State Control,” p. 106. [BACK]

26. Stone, “State Control,” p. 106. [BACK]

27. Unfortunately, the absence of local trade statistics for 1551 and 1552 makes it impossible to know the exact course of events there. By 1553–54, however, Bristol’s cloth exports were 18.1 percent below the average figure for 1549–1551, a decline that continued at a precipitous rate until the end of the decade: Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 583, 902n. 39. [BACK]

28. When the Bristol Corporation struck its deal with Sadler, it apparently was concerned to maintain the charitable functions associated with the chapel, particularly the care of poor seamen. But this act canceled the authority of the thirteen merchants and the thirteen mariner feoffees who had previously held the property. Among the first recorded acts of the newly founded Society of Merchant Venturers was its effort to recover the property directly from Sadler. In October 1553 the property passed by deed to Edward Pryn, one of the founders of the Society and at the time its first master. Pryn appears to have been acting in a private capacity and not as the Society’s agent. He later resold it to the Society. But by 1561 the Merchants’ Almshouse, called St. Clement’s Almshouse, was already on the site, which suggests that the Society’s association with Pryn’s purchase of the property was close and that it had been in possession, if not ownership, for some time; LRB, vol. 2, pp. 186–92; Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 18–21; McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 66, 96; SMV, Merchants Records, Box 5, Bundle A2; William Barrett, The History and Antiquities of the City of Bristol; Compiled from Original Records and Authentic Manuscripts in the Public Record Office or Private Hands Illustrated with Copper-Plate Prints (Bristol: W. Pine, 1789), p. 180; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 903–4nn. 51–52. [BACK]

29. Edgeworth, Sermons, f. 43v. At the time this collection was printed, Edgeworth was canon of the cathedral churches of Salisbury, Wells, and Bristol, and resident at Wells, where he was also chancellor. The sermon from which this quote comes was part of a series on the “Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost” preached at St. Mary, Redcliffe, sometime during the years 1544–47. [BACK]

30. See also below, pp. 125–26. [BACK]

31. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 42. [BACK]

32. Ibid., pp. 42–43. [BACK]

33. Ibid., p. 43. [BACK]

34. Ibid., p. 44. [BACK]

35. Ibid., pp. 44–45. [BACK]

36. Ibid., p. 45. [BACK]

37. See above, p. 61. The Bristol merchants were not alone in this period in seeking to exclude retailers and artisans from overseas trade; see, e.g., W. E. Lingelbach, The Merchant Adventurers of England: Their Laws and Ordinances, with Other Documents (Translations and Reprints from the Original Sources of European History, Department of History, University of Pennsylvania, 2d ser., vol. 2, 1902), pp. 111–16; Burgon, Life and Times of Sir Thomas Gresham, vol. 1, p. 464; Woodward, Trade of Elizabethan Chester, p. 74; W. Cotton, An Elizabethan Guild of the City of Exeter (Exeter: W. Pollard, 1873), pp. 6, 15–16; MacCaffrey, Exeter, 1540–1640, p. 137. [BACK]

38. See above, pp. 62–66. [BACK]

39. APC (1550–52), p. 485. [BACK]

40. See D. Hollis, ed., Calendar of the Bristol Apprentice Book, 1532–1565. Part 1: 1532–1542 (BRS 14, 1949); Elizabeth Ralph and Nora M. Hardwick, eds., Calendar of the Bristol Apprentice Book, 1532–1565. Part 2: 1542–1552 (BRS 33, 1980); BRO, Apprenticeship Book, 1552–1565. [BACK]

41. F. F. Fox, Some Account of the Ancient Fraternity of Merchant Taylors of Bristol, with Transcripts of Ordinances and Other Documents (Bristol: J. Wright, 1880), pp. 40–54, 68; Veale, ed., Great Red Book, vol. 16, pp. 64–69; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 1, pp. 132–33. [BACK]

42. Fox and Taylor, eds., Guild of Weavers, pp. 91–92. [BACK]

43. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 68, 71–75, 79–80; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 631–33. [BACK]

44. Patrick V. McGrath, “The Society of Merchant Venturers and the Port of Bristol,” BGAS 72 (1953): 105–28; McGrath, ed., Records, pp. xli, 135–75; McGrath, Merchant Venturers of Bristol, pp. 70–77. [BACK]

45. McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 176–98. [BACK]

46. Ibid., pp. 96–116. [BACK]

47. McGrath, ed., Records, p. xxxvii. [BACK]

48. SMV, Book of Trade, p. 119. [BACK]

49. From 1552 to 1639 the Society acquired three such patents from the Crown: Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 39–47, 88–97. [BACK]

50. See Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 634ff. [BACK]

51. SMV, Book of Trade, pp. 67–68, 95–96. In a pattern typical of state concessions, the patent belonged to Richard Williams and David Lewis, who assigned a portion of it to William Harbett and Thomas Morgan. Harbett then made independent arrangements for shipping the butter with Henley and Henley with the Bristolians. [BACK]

52. Ibid., pp. 170–75, 237–38. [BACK]

53. SMV, Book of Trade, pp. 104ff. [BACK]

54. McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 110, 111–12. [BACK]

55. Ibid., p. 112. [BACK]

56. BRO, Common Council Proceedings, vol. 2, f. 96r; see also Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, p. 918n. 67. [BACK]

57. SMV, Book of Trade, p. 123; see also Preston, “Fishing and Plantation,” pp. 29–43. [BACK]

58. SMV, Book of Trade, p. 111; McGrath, ed., Records, pp. 207ff. [BACK]

59. PRO, SP 15/22/19; Marchants Avizo, pp. 10, 11; Latimer, Merchant Venturers, p. 77; Malynes, Lex Mercatoria, pp. 81–86; Willan, Elizabethan Foreign Trade, pp. 3–4; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 546–50. [BACK]

60. Cf. A Relation, Or Rather a True Account, of the Island of England; with Sundry Particulars of the Customs of these People and of the Royal Revenues under King Henry the Seventh, about the Year 1500, ed. and trans. C. A. Sneyd (Camden Society 37, 1847), pp. 24–25; Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500–1800 (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), pp. 106–8. [BACK]

61. The sources for this study are Hollis, ed., Bristol Apprentice Book, part 1, and BRO, Apprenticeship Book, 1626–1636, ff. 1–333. Although ordinarily each apprenticeship enrollment identifies the trade of the apprentice’s father and that of his master, such occupational classifications did not exclude an individual from engaging in other kinds of work from time to time. Where there was no gild to enforce the boundaries between trades, or where large investments in tools or capital equipment were not necessary, it was possible to move from trade to trade. Some small shopkeepers, for example, maintained fairly diversified stocks that would qualify them for inclusion in more than one category. For example, William Adams, Bristol’s seventeenth-century chronicler, was identified during his lifetime as a haberdasher, an ironmonger, and a mercer. Occasionally individuals are listed as having multiple occupations, such as Thomas Howell “hooper ac bruer” or Richard Browne “haberdasher atque wierdrawer”: BRO, Mayor’s Audit (1600–1601), p. 138; BRO, MS 09467 (13a); Hollis, ed., Bristol Apprentice Book, part 1, pp. 115, 125, 195; Willan, Inland Trade, pp. 61ff. But since in general an occupational identification in the indentures gives the central focus of an individual’s economic activities, we can safely use it for our present purpose. [BACK]

62. See above, pp. 57–59 and Table 8; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 1, pp. 205, and vol. 2, p. 760. [BACK]

63. Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 480–81, 663. [BACK]

64. Ibid., pp. 478–79, 496, 505, 506, 759–60. Note that the cappers of 1532–1542 had disappeared as an occupational category by 1626; their craft had broken up into haberdashers, on the retail side, and feltmakers, on the production side. Feltmaking appears to have been a growth industry in Bristol in the early seventeenth century. [BACK]

65. Sacks, Trade, Society, and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 479–80, 506–7, 760–61. [BACK]

66. See below, pp. 147–53; Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 487–88. [BACK]

67. The actual figures for Bristolians apprenticed in the same occupation as their fathers are: 1532–1542, 23.94 percent; 1626–1636, 34.79 percent. The figures for those apprenticed in the same industry but not the same occupation are: 1532–1542, 18.94 percent; 1626–1636, 14.12 percent. Together, these two sets of figures total: 1532–1542, 42.23 percent and 1626–1636, 48.91 percent. See Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 670–72. [BACK]

68. The consequences of these methodological difficulties for the overall picture of social mobility are small. Even if we move everyone in a “borderline” craft, such as whitawing, into the category of “leading entrepreneur,” the opportunities for social advancement would still appear greater in the early sixteenth than in the early seventeenth century. The more restricted definition we have employed in determining the composition of this category is better suited to our present purposes, however, since it results in something of an overestimation, rather than an underestimation, of mobility in Bristol. If those manufacturers who relied on heavy capital investment or produced for the national market were all included with the merchants, major retailers, and soapmakers, the apprenticeship of their sons to leading entrepreneurs would be counted in favor of heightened exclusivity, not increased openness. [BACK]

69. For further discussion of this evidence see Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 672–79. [BACK]

70. BRO, Burgess Book, 1607–1651, passim; see also Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, pp. 706–8. [BACK]

71. See Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, p. 759. [BACK]

72. See above, p. 60. [BACK]

73. For the general history of consumer industries and retailing see Willan, Inland Trade, pp. 50–106; Joan Thirsk, Economic Policy and Projects: The Development of a Consumer Society in Early Modern England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978). [BACK]

74. See Sacks, Trade, Society and Politics, vol. 2, p. 495. The other groups were food producers and woodworkers. [BACK]

75. Gross, Gild Merchant, vol. 1, p. 157. [BACK]

76. Ibid., p. 10, and vol. 2, pp. 24–27, 353–55; Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 1–7. [BACK]

77. Latimer, Merchant Venturers, pp. 30, 33. [BACK]

78. George Unwin, Industrial Organization in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, 2d ed. with intro. by T. H. Ashton (London: Frank Cass, 1963), pp. 73, 96. [BACK]

79. Edgeworth, Sermons, ff. 210v, 211r–v. [BACK]

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