The Celys and their world: An English merchant family of the fifteenth century

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  • Title: The Celys and their world: An English merchant family of the fifteenth century
  • Format: Book
  • Author: Alison Hanham
  • Published by: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication Date: 1985
  • ISBN: 9 780521 520126
  • Author died: 16 September 2018
  • Copyright Expires: year end 2088

Back Piece Description

From the start of his career as a young woolmerchant, about 1473, George Cely was a hoarder. He kept everything, from important business accounts down to the scrap of paper on which his father had once noted that the brewer and tailor hadn't been paid yet. The result is a rich collection, which not merely documents the Cely Family's activities as staplers and ship-owners, but also gives vivid details of their intimate concerns: what they ate and wore, where they lived, how they spent their money - and where they went for loans when the cash ran short - how they amused themselves, and how they coped with trade recessions and political turmoil at home and abroad.

Hitherto, accounts of life in fifteenth-century England have relied heavily on the records of the nobility or of gentry like the Pastons and Stonors. This book helps redress the balance, by concentrating on the life-style and activities of some representatives of the 'urban middle class'. While there is much about the mechanisms of trade and finance, there is also much of human interest. The Celys were not faceless businessmen: they emerge from their letters and memoranda as individuals with distinctive and engaging personalities. Their surviving papers are also a mine of miscellaneous information, much of it new, for anyone interested in the social and economic history of the late medieval period.

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