STAMFORD in the thirteenth century was at the height of its greatness – the site of one of England’s greatest international fairs at which the debts incurred by overseas and English merchants were settled, as well as the home to two main industries, pottery making (which was beginning to decline) and the manufacture of woollen cloth. As one of Europe’s largest commercial centres, Stamford attracted many alien merchants from Italy, Germany and the Low Countries, as well as a large Jewish community with their own synagogue. Some of these alien merchants of Stamford, (for example, Eustace Malherbe from the Low Countries whose tombstone survives in St Paul’s church, Stamford) have attracted the attention of medieval historians.
Among these is Terricus of Cologne or Terricus the German. A recent study of his life (Huffman 1998) helps us to throw some light on his career and to distinguish him from another merchant of the same name. For there were two men called Terricus Teutonicus in England at the time; one is known from 1199 and died in 1223, very rich in the king’s service (see Victoria County History, Hampshire, vol. iv p136). This is not the Stamford man who died some 25 years later.
This Terricus Teutonicus (Dietrich the German) of Cologne was also known as Terricus of Stamford. He was burgess of Stamford known from 1217; he acted as party and as witness to a number of local property transactions. Unusually he left a lengthy roll listing his properties and business connections survives in the Public Record Office of The National Archive, presumably because of the forfeiture mentioned below; we do not have many such lists from laymen at this time.
In 1218, he was called cambiator Regis Anglie (the king of England’s money changer, i.e. banker). He had a base in London where (in 1234) he had a large wine cellar. He is known to have been in the service of the king with shipments of trade, providing credit facilities, and sent on diplomatic missions; he was the royal bailiff of Stamford fair (one of the largest and richest international fairs in the country) and he was the largest distributor of cloth at the fair. He exported wool through Lynn and Boston.
One interesting feature of this period of Stamford’s history is the way in which the alien merchants and the Jews were integrated into their English context. There is a good deal of evidence that they lived together and indeed intermarried relatively harmoniously – although the Jews did attract some hostility from time to time. It is known, for example, that some Jews gave money to the church for prayers for their souls after their death. They worked closely alongside their English fellow merchants. Terricus is an example: His wife was Beatrice; Juliana his daughter married William (de) Tickencote of Stamford, a member of the leading family in the town (William de Tickencote from 1240 to 1253 led a group of merchants in leasing the town from the king, see David Roffe Stamford in the Thirteenth Century 1994 p 30); and his son Walter became a priest in England.
Terricus Teutonicus of Stamford died in or about 1247. His estates were frozen soon after his death between 1249 and 1255, which probably accounts for the survival of his cartulary roll among the records of the Exchequer (PRO, E328/16/1). In February 1253, a messuage (property) in the town was held half by William de Tickencote and Juliana his wife and half by Beatrice the widow of Terricus; but because its landlord was Cok the Jew, this messuage came to the king, for the property of Jews who died without legal heir was forfeited to the king. Cok the Jew died without known heirs, and so his property came to the king. In 1255, Terricus’s property was granted to a servant of Richard earl of Cornwall (Calendar of Close Rolls, Henry III 1251-53 p.451;1253-54 p 19).
Based on J P Huffman Family, Commerce and Religion in London and Cologne Cambridge 1998 pp180-189. The roll which Terricus left and some of his other property dealings are calendared in Alan Rogers (ed) People and Property in Medieval Stamford: a catalogue of title deeds from the twelfth century to 1547, arima and Stamford Survey Group, 2012)
Bridge in Stamford, Lincolnshire