The trading links between Scotland and Flanders is the subject of a documentary on BBC Radio Scotland on Friday morning, April 2.
The broadcast will be of interest to anyone following the current Looking in from the Edge (LIFTE) research project – a three-year programme investigating Orkney and Shetland’s place in 15-18th century European trade networks involving the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute, the University of Lincoln and the German Maritime Museum.
Flanders was the economic powerhouse of Europe in the early medieval period and the principal outlet for Scotland’s major export of wool. When David I established royal burghs across the country he encouraged Flemish settlers to establish their entrepreneurial skills bases in the new towns.
Meanwhile in Flanders, the Scottish export of wool for the weaving industry was augmented with herring, salmon, cod and wheat. So important was the Scottish trade that several towns vied for the privilege of being the Scottish Staple with the great city of Bruges holding the title for 150 years before Middleburg and Veere superseded it in the 16th Century.