Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis



Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

David S. Bachrach Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Elizabeth W. Mellyn Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Michael Leese Ph.D.


This study intends to investigate this important international relationship between medieval England and the merchants of the German Hansa, and to provide a survey of the administrative and diplomatic realities. Specifically, these chapters will focus on, and attempt to contribute to, the historiographical debate surrounding these two medieval economic superpowers during the reign of King Richard II in the late 14th century by enhancing the existing with an in-depth study of the changing factors motivating English diplomacy. As a result of this effort, this thesis will be able to more specifically triangulate England’s early efforts to gain a position in the commercial revolution, and we will be able to further understand the context of the evolving importance of international relations to medieval trade during this pivotal moment of the commercial revolution. The process of comparing the prevailing interpretations of Anglo-Hanseatic relations with an analysis of the Calendars of the Patent and Close Chancery Rolls for Richard II’s reign will center in on the particulars of the evolving and nuanced rapport between royal authorities and the German Hansa. While the reign of King Richard II does represent a tumultuous moment in the history of the Anglo-Hanseatic relationship, a deeper read of the situation reveals that the English government proceeded through several diplomatic phases with their mercantile counterparts, not just a single see change in nature of Anglo-Hanseatic relations from pleasant to hostile, as some other historians have suggested.