Web sites for historical data on Medieval period (Wehbe - Spufford project - Cities, Towns, states)
Flanders: Aalst Medieval Aalst. Becomes part of Burgundy after 1384.
Flanders: Honsdechoote Wealthy medieval cloth town
In the Middle Ages, Hondeschoote was part of the Spanish Netherlands. A thriving wealthy cloth-town, it had thousands of small workshops making serge cloth from locally-grown linen flax.
It was one of the largest towns in Flanders. Not a port city however, although near the coast, bordered by Marshes.
France: Montreuil historic walled town of Montreuil, built on a raised promontory overlooking what was once "la Mer"
France: Montreuil Back in the 13th century
this town - known as "Montreuil-on-sea" - was one of the wealthiest ports in northern Europe.
The estuary of the River Canche then reached up to Montreuil; its quays thronged with sailing ships
carrying pilgrims to the holy relics in Montreuil's churches, and trading cloth (some woven in the town),
grain and wine. Above the port, on the 40m high chalk hill,
stood the walled town and market place - all guarded by a royal castle built by French king Philippe Auguste.
Flanders: Douai Douai: Regulations on the Manufacture & Sale of Cloth, 1244
Douai Rewriting marriage in late medieval Douai. A city of perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 people, located in what is now French Flanders, just south of Lille, Douai had grown to prominence in the twelfth century as one of the southern Low Countries' leading manufacturers of luxury woolens made of English wool, and it survived throughout the Middle Ages as an important center of manufacture and trade, a treasured possession of its successive medieval sovereigns-- Flemish counts, French monarchs, and then Burgundian dukes.
St Omer Early Medieval and map
St Omer Draining the "Low Countries"
Centuries ago, much of their realm was coastal marshlands and tidal creeks - slowly reclaimed from the sea by the efforts of monks. From the 7th century, monasteries built dykes and drainage ditches enclosing land for grazing sheep and cattle. The growth of a line sand-dunes along the present-day coastline from Calais created a fairly sheltered salt-water lagoon which was easier to reclaim. In the 12th century, the Count of Flanders continued the work, organising societies of landowners - "wateringues" - to drain the marshes near St. Omer.
St Omer Crecy proved the superiority of the English tactical system.
What attempts did the French make to counter it? Already outside St Omer in 1340, a flank attack had been used to turn the position of forces commanded by Robert of Artois. But the troops who ran away that day were his inexperienced Flemish allies, and Robert won the day (on that field at least) with a determined counter-attack to his front, combining archers and dismounted men-at-arms.27 In Tout's collected papers, he draws attention to `Some neglected fights between Crecy and Poitiers'.28 At Lunalonge, `somewhere in Poitou' in 1349, an English force led by the Captal de Buch, was attacked by Jean de Lisle, seneschal of Poitou and Jean de Boucicault (fig. 1.6). The French sent part of their mounted force against the dismounted English, while another body galloped around the English rear to capture their horses. Unfortunately for the French their forces were defeated in detail, but they did drive off the English horses, forcing the victors to retire on foot during the night to a nearby fortress.
Italy, Italian Political Geography
Internet Medieval Sourcebook full text sources
The Medieval City incl. Gies, Joseph and Francis. Life in a Medieval City (1969). A case study of Troyes, a city based on international trading fairs.
The Medieval Counts of Flanders Prosperity in the medieval wool trade
Flanders prospered as craftsmen in its towns built up a Europe-wide trade and reputation in fine woollen and linen cloth. Flax was grown around Ypres, the centre for weaving it into linen; the waters of the river Lys were suitable for retting flax.
Draining coastal marshes created additional sheep pastures, but increasing amounts of fine long fibred wool had to be imported from England. The wool trade provided over half the English king's tax revenues, collected at ports like Sandwich before it was shipped to Antwerp, Bruges or St-Omer. Inland cloth towns like Lille and Arras were supplied by barges sailing up river.
Flanders cloth was sold in international fairs at Bruges, Paris and Cologne. The region thrived, and towns like Arras became cultural and economic centres for the Christian world - demanding more independence from the lords and their taxes.
History of Flanders
Lier, between Antwerp and Leuven
Franciscan provinces with their custodies and convents (c. 1350)