These documents have been extracted from the notarial registers of the Bordeaux notaires Dartiguemale, Dubosc, and Turpaud conserved in the Archives départementales de la Gironde at Bordeaux.
These contracts, calendars of which are given by J. Bernard in Navires et gens de mer à Bordeaux vers 1400vers 1550 (3 vols, S.E.V.P.E.N., Paris, 1968) iii, 245, 345, 845, 1367, 1523, are set out here to illustrate the kind of agreement entered into by merchants, on the one hand, and shipowners and/or masters on the other, for the transportation of merchandise to Ireland from Bordeaux. Attention is directed particularly to the care taken, in drawing up the contracts, to provide for contingencies and also to the not uncommon practice of paying in kind at least some of the freight costs incurred in the Irish trade. The latter was primarily due to the shortage of specie which late medieval Ireland experienced. For a discussion of the notaires and notarial practice see Bernard, Navires i 612, ii 6813.
The contracts illustrated here range in date from 1477 to 1503 and all involve the port of Cork. Documents 3 and 4 specify Cork alone as the destination in Ireland. In Document 5, Waterford is the primary choice with Cork as the secondary, while Documents 1 and 2 provide for a choice, as circumstances warranted, between Cork, Kinsale, Youghal, and Waterford. These ports ranked among the most important in later medieval Ireland and all enjoyed a significant trade with France.
I would like to express my thanks to Professor Bernard for the assistance he gave me, while I was in Bordeaux, in regard to notarial practice and registers. With regard to the registers, similar thanks are due to Mr Jean Cavignac of the Archives départementales de la Gironde. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the receipt of a grant, under the IrelandFrance Cultural Agreement (Agreement on Exchange of Research Personnel) made to me by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, to undertake research in France on FrancoIrish medieval trade.