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Interest in medieval accounts: Examples from England, 1272-1340


  • Adrian R. Bell

    () (ICMA Centre, University of Reading)

  • Chris Brooks

    () (ICMA Centre, University of Reading)

  • Tony Moore

    () (ICMA Centre, University of Reading)


Research into medieval interest rates has been hampered by the diversity of terms and methods used by historians, creating serious misconceptions in the eporting of medieval interest rates, which have then been taken at face value by later scholars. This has had important repercussions on the wider debate on the credit risk of different forms of medieval governments and the costs of borrowing as a bar to investment. This paper seeks to establish a standardised methodology to accurately calculate interest rates from historical sources, which will provide a firmer foundation for comparisons between regions and periods. It also supports other recent literature suggesting that medieval economic and financial development was more advanced than previously portrayed. The paper is illustrated with case studies drawn from the credit arrangements of the English kings between 1272 and c.1340, and argues that the variations over time in interest rates charged reflect the contemporary notion of credit worthiness as it applied to the medieval English Crown.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrian R. Bell & Chris Brooks & Tony Moore, 2008. "Interest in medieval accounts: Examples from England, 1272-1340," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2008-07, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:icmadp:icma-dp2008-07

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Darrell Duffie & Jun Pan & Kenneth Singleton, 2000. "Transform Analysis and Asset Pricing for Affine Jump-Diffusions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1343-1376, November.
    2. Damiano Brigo & Naoufel El-Bachir, 2007. "An exact formula for default swaptions’ pricing in the SSRJD stochastic intensity model," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2007-14, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    3. Farshid Jamshidian, 2004. "Valuation of credit default swaps and swaptions," Finance and Stochastics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 343-371, August.
    4. Damiano Brigo & Aurélien Alfonsi, 2005. "Credit default swap calibration and derivatives pricing with the SSRD stochastic intensity model," Finance and Stochastics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 29-42, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bell, Adrian & Sutcliffe, Charles, 2010. "Valuing medieval annuities: Were corrodies underpriced?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 142-157, April.
    2. Casson, Catherine & Fry, J. M., 2011. "Revolutionary change and structural breaks: A time series analysis of wages and commodity prices in Britain 1264-1913," MPRA Paper 27866, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Casson, Catherine & Fry, J. M. & Casson, Mark, 2011. "Evolution or revolution? a study of price and wage volatility in England, 1200-1900," MPRA Paper 31518, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Mark Koyama, 2010. "The political economy of expulsion: the regulation of Jewish moneylending in medieval England," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 374-406, December.

    More about this item


    medieval finance; interest rates; government debt; Italian merchant banks;

    JEL classification:

    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage


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