Bristol and Ireland in 1373 @ The Lord Mayor’s Chapel, College Green

Thursday 25th April, 16:00 – 17:30

FREE public talk by Prof Brendan Smith (University of Bristol) that is part of the Bristol650 anniversary celebrations. Everybody welcome!

In 1373, Bristol became the first English town to receive a charter from the king, raising it to the status of a county. The grant testified to the town’s established and growing importance in the politics and economics of the kingdom and to the influence of its leading citizens. The fortunes of Bristol at this time were shaped by its response to two great challenges: plague and warfare. The Black Death had hit the town hard in 1348-49, and again in 1361, reducing its population from around 20,000 when the pestilence first arrived to around 12,000 by the early 1370s. Mortality on such a massive scale inevitably affected all aspects of life in the town, but it was clear that by the time the charter of 1373 was granted, Bristol’s economy was flourishing. In large part this was because it was a major beneficiary of King Edward III’s military endeavours against the French. Underpinning England’s financing of the Hundred Years War (which began in 1337) was the promotion of a new cloth-making industry in England, designed to destroy the economy of France’s ally, Flanders. By the end of the 1340s, Bristol was the leading exporter of English cloth, and this, along with the revival of the importation of Gascon wine from Bordeaux, garnered for its merchants huge profits and increasing political power. But Flanders and Gascony were far from Bristol. Much closer was its oldest trading-partner: Ireland. In 1373, the king’s representative in Ireland was Sir Robert Ashton, a native of Long Ashton, and this was just one of many ties that continued to bind Bristol to the Irish lordship. The nature and strength of those ties in 1373 is the subject of this talk.

This talk is FREE to attend and open to all. Please book your FREE ticket as the venue has limited capacity.

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