Hostmen of Newcastle upon Tyne

Who are the Hostmen?
The Hostmen of Newcastle upon Tyne were a cartel of businessmen who formed a monopoly to control the export of coal from the River Tyne in North East England. They were so known from the medieval practice of "hosting", whereby local businessmen provided visiting merchants with accommodation and introduced them to local traders. The Hostmen acted as middlemen with whom the coal producers and those who shipped the coal to London and elsewhere were forced to deal.

From the time in the mid-13th century when coal began to be exported from the River Tyne, the burgesses of Newcastle tried to gain a monopoly over its export. In 1216, King John granted Newcastle the right to elect a mayor and also to form trade guilds. These guilds sought to ensure that trade in various commodities was concentrated in Newcastle. The desire of the Newcastle burgesses to monopolise trade on the Tyne led to a dispute with the Prior of Tynemouth regarding the shipment of coal from nearby settlement of North Shields, which was owned by the priory. In 1267 the mayor of Newcastle, Nicholas Scott attacked North Shields with a band of merchants, setting fire to several buildings. In 1290 the burgesses petitioned the King regarding North Shields and succeeded in suspending the export of coal, as well as other trade, from the new settlement. Henceforth, North Shields remained solely as a fishing port. In 1350 Edward III granted a licence to the Newcastle burgesses to excavate coal from Forth Banks and the Town Moor area. From 1446, shipments of coal from North Shields were permitted, but in 1530 a royal act confined all shipments of coal to Newcastle quayside, thereby giving the Newcastle burgesses the monopoly they desired. This reinforced a medieval monopoly granted by Henry I, which was still in place

From Wikipedia : Hostmen of Newcastle

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