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Lecture 10

MARKETS AND CUSTOM

 

1. Market as Pphysical Place or as Metaphor

 

2. Market as Physical Space
  • How were goods bought and sold?
  • Fairs, pedlars, retail shops

 

3. Fairs & Pedlars
  • c. 3,200 fairs in England Wales in 1756
  • the major international fairs were great international events of the early modern and eighteenth-century world
  • major national fairs brought tog. wide range of traders
  • most districts had a general purpose annual fair - also acted as labour market
  • also network of weekly markets with royal charters - 1693 - 680 active markets in Eng. & Wales - 728 in 1792
  • pedlars and hawkers - were innovative, aggressive and pushing salesmen and women - sold the full range of fashion goods

 

4. Shops
  • evolution of shops
  • numbers & types of shops in the eighteenth century
  • numbers of shops
  • excise records 1759
  • ratio of population to shops for England and Wales – 43.3 – survey in 1785 showed an average of 54.8 persons per shop
  • there were 32,234 with licences to sell tea

 

5. The market and custom
  • manorial custom
  • manorial custom defined common rights and copyhold privileges for landholders
  • custom and common rights
  • enforcement of custom in local manorial courts
  • custom over gleaning, game taking, tenant rights of widows etc.
  • the custom of the trades
  • Tudor and Stuart wage legislation - had been set up to contain claims for high wages in period of inflation
  • nforce of notion of customary minimum wage in times of decaying trade
  • the custom of markets
  • Any market, now or in the past, exists within the framework of an institutional structure of laws, practices and administration.
  • in the early modern period there was a legislation and administration for overseeing of markets
  • fears of profiteering middlemen raising prices

 

6. Markets and Middlemen

 

7. Grain markets and food
  • forestallers, regrators and engrossers
  • laws against forestalling (buying and selling again for a profit in the same market or nearby)
  • engrossing - buying large quantitites for resale - punishable by fine and imprison.
  • Book of Orders 1630 empowered magistrates to survey the corn stocks in barns and granaries, to order quantities to be sent to market; to enforce with severity every part of the marketing, licensing and forestalling legislation
  • no corn to be sold except in open market - did not explicitly empower justices to set the price, but ordered them to attend the market and ensure that the poor were `provided of necessary Corne' - fell into disuse during Civil War - but powerful popular memory of it & invoked in 18thC.

 

8. Food riots
  • grain riots of 1766 - concentrated in rural cloth districts of Gloucestershire & Wiltshire, central Midlands and East Anglia
  • central govt. felt that condemnation of middleman was counter-prod.- stressed free movement of grain

 

9. Wages and custom
  • wage-fixing by magistrates fell into disuse by mid-century - re-estab. in woollen trade in 1756 then repealed - repeal of Statute of Artificers in 1815
  • role of informal custom over materials which bec. an accepted part of wages - bec. changed into embezzlement in course of the 18thC.
  • look at prosecutions for theft of a whole range of things - coal, beaver fur, timber, silk, sugar, pins and needles, pewter, tobacco, calico, coffee, indigo cochineal, lead type, beer, tea, planes and saws, silver and gold - defences offered were that these were perquisites -accepted as part of customary wage