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celticroots
01-01-2014, 01:50 AM
Hi all!

My MC is working as a servant for a rich merchant family in 16th century Scotland. As to what life was like for wealthy people in that period, I found some good info online.

As to the specifics of how merchants' did their jobs, I could find hardly anything online.

The library in my home state did not have anything on merchants. But, I am looking at the library in my new town. :)

Is it feasible for a merchant to be wealthy?
What goods did they trade?
Whom (or what countries) did they trade with?

Any info would be great!

Medievalist
01-01-2014, 02:04 AM
Pick a trade/specialty

wine
cloth
dyes
gems/precious metals
books
Furniture
live stock
grain
food (bakers, butchers, fish mongers etc.)
clothing

lots of possibilities

Don't search "merchants" in terms of references; search for trades, tradesmen, guilds

King Neptune
01-01-2014, 02:14 AM
Hi all!

My MC is working as a servant for a rich merchant family in 16th century Scotland. As to what life was like for wealthy people in that period, I found some good info online.

As to the specifics of how merchants' did their jobs, I could find hardly anything online.

The library in my home state did not have anything on merchants. But, I am looking at the library in my new town. :)

Is it feasible for a merchant to be wealthy?
What goods did they trade?
Whom (or what countries) did they trade with?

Any info would be great!

The first would largely depend on the second and third.

What do you want him to trade in? Scotland had a long history of importing wine and exporting wool, but I don't know the details for particular periods. Scotland did have a long history of trading with France, Flanders, and the low countries, but there would have been trade with more distant countries also.

As far as how merchants did business, it was the old-fashioned matter of providing goods for people who wanted them. What kinds of details are you looking for about that?

Something else that you might want to look into are the major fairs that were held in various places.

http://www.scran.ac.uk/scotland/pdf/SP1_overview.pdf

You might look for references in online articles like the one I linked above.

celticroots
01-01-2014, 03:07 AM
Thank you both for the good information!

williemeikle
01-01-2014, 03:14 AM
From an online article... Scotland in the 16th century.

http://www.thereformation.info/scotland16C.htm


Products exported included: wheat, barley, malt, oats, flour, bread, beef and spirits. Hides of cattle, deer, sheep, lambs, goats, calves, roe deer, foxes, kids, otters and rabbits; also wool, feathers, butter, leaf, coal and fishery products, salmon, herring, fish oil. There were some thirteen manufacturing industries who exported - salt, cloth, plaiding, linen cloth, coarse cloth, linen yarn , knitted hose, dressed leather, gloves, leather points (shoes), sewed cushions, bed ticking, and general footware, The main destinations of the products at this time were Ireland, Bordeaux and the Baltic sea ports.

Buffysquirrel
01-01-2014, 03:21 AM
They could be wealthy, but equally the loss of a single ship with its cargo could ruin them. Insurance for shipping didn't get going until the C17th.

Rufus Coppertop
01-01-2014, 05:04 AM
Is it feasible for a merchant to be wealthy?

Hell yes. It's also not unlikely that a wealthy merchant would have a harpsichord or virginal and a wife who could play competently.

She might even send one of the kids out to buy quill when the jacks need revoicing.

celticroots
01-02-2014, 01:43 AM
From an online article... Scotland in the 16th century.

http://www.thereformation.info/scotland16C.htm


Thank you for the link! I found both articles very helpful!