• Lex Mercatoria, or, the Auntient Law-Merchant, Diuided into three parts: According to the Essentiall parts of the Traffique. Necessarie for all states-men, judges, magistrates, temporall and Ciuile Lawyers, Mint-men, Merchants, Mariners, and all others negotiating in all places of the World.

    A book of legal and merchant law, statutes and information for the 17th century merchant.

    Author: Gerard Malynes
    Modern English (post-1500)
    Published in 1629
    Renaissance Clothing and Textile Terms
    1600 AD - 1699 AD


A Table of the Standard, for the true making of Woollen Clothes, according to the Waight and Measure declared by the Statute made in the fourth yeare of his Maiesties raigne of Great Brittaine, etc.

Page/Folio No.: 34

The Sacke of Wooll appointed by King Edward the third, is distinguished according to the Lunare yeare of 13 monethes, of 28 dayes, making in all 364 or 365, for so many dayes in the yeare; the Todd of Wooll being 28, for so many days in the moneth, and 13 Todds for so many moneths in the yeare; euery Todd containing foure Nayles, and every Nayle being 7 lb(?) for the seuen dayes of the weeke.

This Sacke of Wool is accounted to make 4 Standard Clothes of cleane Wooll, called Sorting-clothes, waighing 50 lb the Cloth, and being 24 yeards long, of 6 1/2 quarters broad or thereabouts, within the remedy or allowance of 2 lb weight upon a cloth. In the weight is to be obserued, that the clothes be well scoured, thicked, milled, and fully dryed.

In the Measure likewise, that the same be measured by the yeard and inch, within the List, concerning the breadth, according to the said Statute made of all the seuerall sorts of Clothes made in diuers Shires, Viz.

Kent, Yorkshire and Reading clothes of 6/12 quarters 86 lb 30 & 34 yeards.

Suffolke, Norffolke and Essex of 7 quarters 80 lb 29 & 32 yeards.

Worcester, Couentry and Herefordshire of 6 1/2 quarter 78 lb 30 & 33 yeards.

Wiltshire, Glocestershire, Oxon. Somersetshire of 7 quarters 76 lb 29 & 32 yeards.

Suffolke sorting Clothes broad 6 1/2 quarter 64 lb 23 & 26 yeards.

All sorting Clothes of diuers shires 6 1/2 quarters 60 lb 24 & 26 yeards

B. Cloth, Tauntons, Bridgewaters and Dunstars of 7 quarters 30 lb 12 & 13 yeards.

Broad & narrow of Yorkshire of 4 quarters 30 lb 24 & 25 yeards

Devonshire Kerseys and Dozens of 4 quarters 13 lb 12 and 13 yeards.

Checked Kerseys, strait and plain grayes 4 quarters 24 lb 17 & 18 yeards.

Ordinary Penistone or Forests 5 1/2 quarters 28 lb 12 & 13 yeards.

Sorting Penistones of 6 1/2 quarter 35 lb 13 & 14 yeards

Washers of Lankyshire and others 17 lb 17 & 18 yeards.

Clogware, kendal Karpnuals at pleasure, 0000 20 at the least.

Obseruations concerning the said Weight and Measure of Clothes in generall.

That all Substantiall things, either dry or liquid, are by Diuine prouidence subiect and gouerned by Number, Weight, and Measure.

That Weight and Measure doe controle each other, and that Number giueth denomination to them both, to discerne truth from falshood, as aforesaid.

That the weight of a Cloth is more to be regarded, than the Measure, because the weight containeth substance, which is abused by stretching it in measure.

That according to the Standard of Clothes, there must be allowed or accounted two pounds and one halfe of Wooll, to make one yeard of the abouesaid Clothes.

That the Statute of Clothmaking, hath had a consideration to make an allowance or abatement for Draped, Dressed, Rowed and Sheared Clothes, which is fiue lb in a Long-cloth, and foure lb in a Broad-cloth, besides the remedy of two lb.
According to this Rule, his Maiesties Custome for Cloth and Carseyes, &c, ought to bee payed, equalizing the said Custome of Cloth, with the Custome of Wooll, according to fortie shillings the Sacke, payed in the time of Queene Mary; which is to bee done according to the weight, and not according to the measure, as heretofore hath been partly done. And the weight will cause Clothes to be better made, according to the Statute whereunto the Reformation must be reduced, which will be beneficiall.

Breadth and Length of Silks.

Page/Folio No.: 51

The bredth of silke Cypers, bending and Curld.
No.6 is 3 Nails broad, no 8 is 3 1/2 Nails, and no 10 is 1/4 of a yard broad, no. 12 is 1/16? of a yard, no 14 is 3/8? of a yard, no 16 is 7/16 of a yard, no 18 is half a yard broad. Note in all plaine Cypers they abate upon the hundreth, and so bring them from Braces [braccia] into Flemish Elles, and in the curld they abate 25 pcent and in bending 16 in the hundreth.

Genes silke by the Paune of 104 to the hundreth is 1/4 26 yards English.

Bolonia silkes by Braces the 100 are 89 Flemish Elles.

Florence silke by Braces the bundreth 81 2/3 Flemish, and 61 1/4 English.

Luca by Braces the 1/6 part of a Flemish Elle, or 1/8 of a yard English.

Venice by Braces the 100 are 95 Flemish, and 71 1/4 yards so Norenborgh.

Seuill by Varres the 100 is 123 1/2 Flemish, and 92 1/8 yards 74 Elles.

Roan by Elles the 100 is 125 yards, and 157 1/2 Varres of Spaine. And the 110 Elles English is 135 1/2 Varres of Spaine.

The 100 Elles Flemish is but 60 Elles English.

Here followeth the description of the Measures.

Page/Folio No.: 35

Whereas all Commodities Wares or Stuffes made of wooll linnen silke or haire are measured by the Elle or Yeard which was taken vpon the measure or length of the arme accounting the halfe Elle for Cubitus diuided into foure quarters and euery quarter into foure inches wee shall also follow the elle at Antuerp generally knowne and obserued in all places in the correspondence and buying of forraine commodities by it reducing the same afterwards to our elle or yeard

The hundreth ells of Antuerpe make in the countries following.


60 Ells for Linnen Cloth with the palme and thumbe measured.
75 Yards for woollen Cloth with the thumbe which is 1/16 of a yard.
59 Godes to measure Frizes or Frizadoes.
61 Elles Cords to measure Rowan Canuas whereof the Centener is 120 Elles, 10 Cords to a Centener of 12 Elles.

72 Elles, and they recon with sixe score to the hundreth, is 120.

The Low Countries.
Antuerpe for silke wares is but 98 2/3 Elles.
Briges in the shops is also 98 2/3, but for linnen is 94 1/2 Elles.
Gaunt, Audenarde, Ysenghem, Damme, Ipre, Sluys, all 98 Elles, and all Flanders and Brabant accordingly, and not named hereunder.
Dunkercke, Honscotten, 100 Elles.
Cassell, Wynockxborough, Deyse, Lowe, Bolducke, Bruselles, Diest, Louain make 102 Elles.
Lile cambray, Doway, Orsies, Meanen and Masiers 96 Elles.
Amsterdam 101, Harlem in the market 94 Elles for linnen.
All Holland besides is 103 Elles.
Henault 94 in the markets, but in the shops 98 Elles.
Gelderland and Ouerrysell 104 Elles.
Middelborough 100 Elles, and in the market for linnen 94 Elles.
Flissingh 104 Elles, Vere 94 1/2 Elles, Goes 97 Elles, Romerswall 99 Elles.
Artois all the whole prouince 98 1/2 Elles.
Tourney 108 Elles.
Liege 114 Elles,
Maestricht, Asselt, Namen and Acon 104 1/2 Elles.
Couyn but 70 Elles.
Hoye 102 Elles.


The said 100 Elles of Antuerpe make at Rouen 58 Elles, the Centener of Elles being 112 of 4 quarters of 28 Elles.

Paris, Rochell, and all France, the following places excepted, 59 Elles.
Nantes, Abbeuile, and all Picardie 84 Elles.
Lyons: 60 Elles for linnen cloth. 94 1/2 Elles for silke wares.
Auignon: 60 Elles. 36 Cannes.
Prouence: 36 Cannes.
Marselles: 36 Cannes for silke. 33 1/2 Cannes for woollen cloth.
Geneua 60 Stabb.

Venice, Istrica, Prian: 101 1/2 Braces for woollen cloth. 108 for silkes and cloth of gold.
Florence: 122 1.2 Braces for silkes. 116 Elles for wollen cloth.
Rome: 33 Cannes. 105 1/2 for wollen cloth.
Luca and Raguza 120.
Ferrara, Modena, Mantua, Perato, Ancona, Cesena, Bologna, Carpi, Nigropont, Mirandola: 107 1/2 Braces.
Verona: 104 1/2 Braces. 108 Braces of cloth of gold. 86 Braces.
Parma: 109 1/2 Braces. 91 Braces.
Rauenna, Scio, Corfu: 116 2/3.
Genes: 122 Braces. 228 Palmes for silke wares, and 104 palmes is giuen for 34 2/3 ells. 32 Cannes for woollen cloth of 9 palmes to the cane. 29 Canes of linnen cloth of 10 palmes to the cane.
Vicenza: 98 2/3 for woollen cloth, and 80 1/2 Braces for silkes.
Naples: 116 Canes and 33 1/3 Canes.
Padu: 101 2/3 for cloth, and 83 1/2 Braces for silk wares.
Milan: 120 Braces Campido for linnen cloth. 141 Braces for silke, which must be conditioned.
Rauenna: 113 braces.
Bressa, treuira,Crema, Bergamo, Rechanati, Vrbin, Cremona, Lacaia: 101 2/3 braces.
Pesaro 103, and for cloth 107 Braces.
Sicilia, Palermo, Masilla: 34 1/2 Canes of 4 pichy to the Cane.
Gira: 124 Pichy.
Rama: 115 Pichy
Salonici: 109 Pichy.
Tripoli in Barbary: 124 Pichy of 4 to a Cane.
Lavelona 111
Nigroponte and Lepanto 113 Pichy.
Alexandria, Larta 124 Picny.
Siria, Damasco, Bruti 111 1/2 Pichy.

Tripoli 112 Pichy.
Achri 115 Pichy.
Alepo, Aman: 108 Pichy.

Bursa in Natolia 114 Pichy, Bucia 158 Pichy.
Constantinople: 113 Pichy, 80 Pichy for Canvas.
Archipelago, Sapy: 100.
Puglia: 31 Canes for clothes. 33 Canes for silkes.
Calabria, Adler, Lansan, Malaca, Rhode, 33 1/2 Canes.
Candia 108 Braces
Pichy, Sebenico, Zara 112 Braces.

Embden, Brema, Hamborough, 122 1/2 Elles.
Lubecke: 120 Elles.
Munster: 65 Elles.
Osenbrigh: 63 Elles.
Wismar: 118 Elles.
Rosticke: 119 Elles.
Gripswoll, Domyn: 122 1/2 Elles.
Statin, Ockermond, 106 Elles.
Dansicke, & Melvyn, 122 Elles.
Connixborough 125 Elles.
Riga and Reuell 125 Elles.
Narua 125 Arsins.
Sweden and Stockholm 125 Elles, but at Barrow vncertaine, for they measure the bignesse of your head with a rope for an Elle, and may be 120 Elles.

Collen 120 Elles.
Norenborough, Meysen, Lipsich: 105 Elles for silke and linnen wares. 120 for cloth.
Ausborough, Franckford: 127 for cloth. 125 for linnen.
Halle and Meydelborch, 105 Elles.
Praga, Breslo, Bautson: 111 Elles, and for silke wares 120 Elles.
Viena: 77 1/2 for Linnen, 85 1/2 for cloth and silke.
Osner: 119 for linnen, 130 for silke.
Regenburch: 78 1/2 Elles.
Ulm 120, and for woollen cloth 96 Elles.
Ernfurd 165 Elles.
Ienfer 60 Stabb.
Zurich 116 1.2 Elles.
Basell 125 Elles.

Castill and Toledo, 85 Varas of 4 Quartos, every Quarto a Palmes.
Cadez: 81 Varas. 108 Elles for silke.
Andaluzia, Seuill, Granado: 83 1/2 Varas.
Barselona, Aragon, 43 Cannes.
Saragosia: 33 Cannes.
Valentia: 73 Cannes.

Lisborne: 62 Varas. 83 Varas. 100 Couados for Silke Wares.
Maroco. Capo dAlgier 136 1/2 Couados, of twelue to one Cane.

Increases in prices of foreign commodities

Page/Folio No.: 87

Commodities it is to bee prooucd by diuers ancient Merchants bookes that within the age of a man or seuentie yeares, the price of forraine Commodities with vs is farremore risen than the price of our home Commodities, which by way of Antithesis is worthy the obseruation.

Redding colour and othermingled colour Clothes did cost 9 li the Cloth then, when Blacke Veluets were sold at 10 shillings the yeard, and now the said fort of Clothes are sold but for 11 li and 12 li the Cloth and Veluets at 26 shillings the yeard.

Packe Clothes white, at fiftie pound the packe of tenne pieces, Cramosin Veluets at 12 shillings the yeard. And now Packe Clothes of the same marke at ninetie pound, and a hundreth pound and Cramosin Veluets at thirtie shillings the yeard.

Wooll the Todd of 28 li weight, at 12 shillings, Blacke Satine at 5 shillings the yeard; Wooll now aboue 20 shillings, or thereabouts, and Satine 15 shillings.

Calfe skins the dozen 5 s; Fustians the Bale of 40 1/2 pieccs at 12 li the Bale; Calfe skins now at 10 s, and Fustians 36 pounds, and Millaine Fustians at 18 and 20 shillings the piece, now at 3 li and aboue.

Sayes of Norwich at 20 s the piece and vpwards: Messina silke 8 s the pound: Sayes are about 40 s, and Messina and the like silke aboue twentie six shillings.

Northerne Carfeyes then 18 s, Spanish Soape 20 s, now 50 s, and Carfeyes 22 s.

Seuill Oyle, the Tunne 12 li, now 35 li, and many times aboue fortie pound.

French Wine at 5 li the Tunne, now 20 li or thereabouts: Long Proines 5 s, now 15 and 16; Sugar 6 pence the pound, now 14 and 16 pence.

Malmeseyes 5 li the Butt, now 18 and 20 li; Cotton Wool 4 d. now 15 d and diuers other commodities accordingly.

So that an angel would haue bought one yeard of Veluets, now three Angels or pieces of gold can be exported for the same. Ten Angels would haue bought a Tun of Claret Wine in England, which is now sold for aboue twentiepound and twentie foure pound.

Besides that, our Cloth is better made than in those dayes, albeit not so good as it might be made; victuall and wages are deerer, and Woad, Mather, Oyle and colours are extreamly risen.

A Merchant might haue sent or carried with him one packe of Clothes, white, broad, or narrow lists, and brought in returne one Chest containing nine or tenne pieces of Veluets: whereas now he cannot bring aboue three or foure pieces in returne thereof. For a Redding Cloth sold beyond the Seas hee might haue returned one Bale of Fustians, whereas now for the value of one Bale of Fustians sold in England a Merchant must buy and export three Clothes.

A London mingled colour cloth, would haue bought at Lisborne two chests of Sugar; j now one chest of Sugar will draw two Clothes out of the Realme: So a Kentisti Cloth would haue bought at Seuill a Tunne of Oyle and more; now one Tunne of Oyle doth counteruaile three Clothes and more, and other commodities accordingly, giuing (as it were) three to one in specie for foreine commodities.

Allowances made for Cloth.

Page/Folio No.: 195

Vpon Clothes to be shipped out there is allowance made of the tenth Cloth for a wrapper, which payeth no Custome; and so of all other woollen Commodities, which pay after the rate; as three Northeren Kersies for a Cloth, foure Deuonshire Kersies, two single Dozens, one double Dozen, six Cardinals, Pinwhites, Statutes, Stockbridges, Straites and Tauistockes, foure Cornish Dozens, Pennystones vnfriezed, Island Dozens, and Northeren Plaines for one Cloth, two Bridgewaters, Cornish and Deuonshire double Dozens, Florentines, Northren Dozens single, and pcnnystones for a Cloth, to be vnderstood for a short Cloth coloured or white of twentie and foure yards long, waighing 60 ll vntill 64 ll, whereof English Custome was a Noble, and the Merchant Straunger thirteene shillings and foure pence, whereunto is added the auncient Custome heretofore paied by the Merchants of the Steele yard or Haunce townes being 14 pence, so together 14 s 6 a Cloth, besides the ouerlength of 3 d 1/2 the yard; which is of late comprised in the new Imposition of the pretermitted Custome for waighing of Clothes, at two pence the pound, so that a short Cloth paied in times past a noble, and now tenne shillings, besides the ouer-length, according to the weight, after the said rate of two pence for the pound; all which the Merchant stranger payeth double.

Commodities of each nation

Page/Folio No.: 80

Of the Commodfities of Great Brittaine.
The Commodities of Great Brittaine containing the Kingdomes of England and Scotland and the dominion of Wales are rich, and Staple wares, and very aboundant, with a continual increase namely:

Woollen Clothes of all sorts, broad and narrow, long and short, called and knowne by the names of seuerall Shires, being 250 thousand Clothes made yearely, besides the new Draperies of Perpetuanaes and the like commodities.
Tinne wrought and vnwrought aboue tweluehundreth thousand pounds yearely
Lead transported and vsed, aboue eight thousand Fodders euerie yeare
Allomes made in aboundance, aboue seuen hundreth Tunnes yearely
Copperas made according to the quantitie vfed, some 250 Tunnes yearely
Yron of all forts, setting 800 Furnaces on worke
Yron Ordnance or cast Pieces, according to occasion made
Wools and Woolfels and Calfe skinnes in great quantitie and Conie skins.
Stockins of all forts, of Silke Wooll and Yarnfey Yearne and Woolls.
Buffins Mocadoes Grograines Sattins Calamancos Veluets Worsteds Sarges Fustians Durance Tukes and all other Norwich wares and Stuffes
Saffron, the best that can be found in any countrey
Glasse and Glasses of all sorts, Venice gold , Sea coale and Salt
Scots coale, Wheat, Barley and all kind of graines in both Kingdomes
Linnen Cloth, and all Ironmongers wares, Hides, Tallow, Leather drest and vndrest, Trayne Oyle, Salmons, Pilchards, Herrings, Hake, Conger, Red Herring, Hops, Woad, Butter, Cheese, Beere, Salt peter and Gun powder, Honny and Wax, Alablaster and many other Stones

The Commodities of the Kingdomes of Ireland are
Woolles, Felles, Yarne, Furres, Flax, Linnen Cloth, Hides, Tallow, Hempe, Honny, Wax, Herring, Cods, Hake-fish, Salmonds, Eeles, Ruggs, Mantles, Irish Cloth, Pipestaues, Yron Lead, Wheat and all kind of graine, Salt beefe, Butter and and many Manufactures.

The Commodities of the Kingdome of France are:
Wines, Prunes, Canuas, Linnen cloth, Salt, Veluets, Raw silke, and diuers stuffes of Silke, Buckrames, Boxes with Paper playing Cards, Glasse, Graine to dye, Rozen and all kind of Graine corne.

The Commodities of Spaine and Portugal are
Wools, Madera, Sugar, Almonds, Wines, Oyles, Anny seeds, Anchoues, Bay-berries, Bariglia,Figs, Raisons, Traine oyle, Yron, Oranges, Leamons, Sumacke, Saffron, Soape, Coriander, Cork, Licoras, Woad and the commodities of the West Indies, Sugar, Brazill , Fernandebucke Wood, Tabacco and other commodities

The Commodities of Italy and certaine Ilands
Venice Gold, Veluets, Sattines, Cipres Silkes, Cloth of Gold and Siluer, Cottones, Fustians, Wines, Currans, Cloues, Rafhes, Rice, Sarcenets, Raw Silke, Allomes, and Vitrioll, Glasses, and other Manufactures

The Commodities of Germany and places adjoyning
Woolles, Argall, Steele, Latine, Copper, Yron, and all kind of Manufacture made of them: Copperas, Allomes, Lead, Fustians, Paper, Linnen cloth, Quick siluer, Bell-mettall, Tinne, Renish Wines, and Mather.

The Commodities of East land and thereabouts
Ashes, Bowstaues, Cables, Canuas, Buffe hides, Flaxe, Hempe, Honny Wax, Stock fish, Spruce, Yron, Match, Wheat, Rye, Meale, Woolles, Waynscott, Pitch and Tarre, and Linnen cloth, Cordage and Ropes.

The Commodities of Denmarke and Norway and Sweaden.
Wheat, Rye, Woolles, Deales, Clap boord, Pipe staues, Masts, Waynfcot, Copper, Timber, Fish and Furres, Allomes in some places.

The Commodities of Russia.
Tallow, Hides, Caueare, aboundance of rich Furres, Blacke Fox, Martins, Sables and the like, Honny, Wax, Cables, Ropes and Cordage

The Commodities of Barbery
Goatskinnes, Almonds, Dates, Aneale, Gumme, Feathers, Salt peter, Gold plentifully: and from Guynea, Hides, Oliphant teeth, and Graine.

The Commodities of the Low Countries
Steele, Cambrickes, Lawnes, Hoppes, Grograines, Bozatoes, Chamblets, Mocadoes, Brushes, Tape, Linnen cloth, Pots, Bottles, Wheat, Rye, Salt, Chimney backes, Blades, Horses, Soape, Fish, Herrin, and many things, as Diaper, Smalt, Hoopes of Yron

The Commodities of the West Indies
From the Low Countrie beginning the West India Trade, letvs set downe the commodities of it, seeing that the States of the vnited Prouinces haue made lately a Societie of Merchants bearing date the ninth of June 1611 wherein other Nations may be aduenturors, as by their letters Pattents appeareth; prohibiting all other their subiects or inhabitants, that they shall not trade from the said countries, nor out or from any other kingdome and countrie whatsoeuer, vnto the coasts and countries of Africa, from Tropicus Cancri, along to the cape of Bona Speranza, neither in the countries of America, from the South end of Magellanes le Mary, and other straits, to the straits of Anian on euery side, Noua Guinea included, vpon forfeiture of the ships and goods and all their possessions, within their iurisdicti on and command and arrests of their persons vnlesse they be of the said Company made and established for the West India Trade.
Gold and Siluer, Cucheneale, Sugars, rich Indico, Donnigo Ginger, Pearles, Emeraulds, Hydes, Campeche or Logwood, Sallaparilla, Tabacco, Canasistula, Cocos wood, Lignum vita, Cottonwooll, Salt, and some other druggs for Physicke or dying of Stuffes.

And this may suffice for a declaration of the principall commodities of most countries

The like consideration is to be had for such manufactures whereof the verie peeces or rags may be vsed to some purpose as of Linnen to make white paper, of fishers nets to make browne paper, of skins to make glew, of beere lees to make Aqua vite and the like.