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Are we discussing the earnings in shillings or ducats? Also, consider setting it a bit later, because there was a lovely stimulus tax put through in the 1560’s that made it a law that every man had to wear a woolen cap to church, and since church was already mandatory…you can see what a boon that would be to a merchant.

The truth is, the earnings depended largely on the ability to move around, or the variety of connections the merchant possessed. Localized trade was controlled by noble families through taxation and so forth, and a maker of woolen goods couldn’t usually spare the time to go far afield. So, a merchant did better if he was simply a merchant and not the craftsman himself. But then he would need the capital to travel, to buy and sell, and so forth. Mercantile operations for even the best paid would usually be less than 1000 ducats per annum.

It wasn’t odd to hear of the more prominent merchants of wool having a hundred pounds or so, but the issue is, that they never stopped with just wool. They bought property and other things and then diversified. The answer is, a man with means, who controlled both production and sales, could make a tremendous amount, in the several hundreds of pounds per year.

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