By Jill Eddison
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Extra resources for Medieval pirates : pirates, raiders and privateers 1204-1453
14 The percentage the privateers were (officially) allowed to keep depended generally on the urgency of the political situation. The more acute the situation, the more they were allowed to keep, generally building up until the privateers in the time of Henry IV kept their entire prizes. The fate, the practical handling, of the stolen goods once they arrived in port is obscure, but important to this story. Some were divided up and immediately distributed to numerous people in the port or its locality, which made it very difficult for officials to trace them even a few days after the event.
Society within the ports was essentially competitive and structures were fluid. At Winchelsea, the Alards achieved early prominence which lasted well into the fourteenth century. The early leaders at Southampton were the St Laurences, the Flemings, the Bulehouses, the Fortins and, somewhat later, a redoubtable lady called Claramunda, though many of those families were replaced by others within a generation or two. In Southampton those leading families formed, with a few others, a small, close-knit group, which was strengthened by joint commercial interests and by intermarriage.
Published with permission of Bridgeman Art Library) Acknowledgements Dr Joan Thirsk and Dr, later Professor, Richard Smith, did much to encourage and promote my interest in medieval history. Dr Mark Bailey provided further insight into the period and into its sources at summer courses at Madingley Hall, Cambridge. Dr Mark Gardiner, medieval archaeologist from whom I had already learnt a great deal, discussed this project in advance and made valuable comments on an early draft of this book. The basic research was carried out in the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and in the Templeman Library at the University of Kent at Canterbury.