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Talk:Merchants of the Staple

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Fragmented thinking

Why are there so many separate articles: The staple, Staple port, Staple (wool), Staple right, Merchants of the Staple? Dictionary thinking. An inclusive article should give concise summaries of each of these, set in a general context: encyclopedic thinking--Wetman (talk) 03:37, 9 September 2009 (UTC)

Staple (wool) is about short staple and long staple wool, which concerns the length of the fibre. The Merchants of the Staple were a medieval guild (or something like one) and need an article. The staple and Staple port are both excessively anglocentic and these and Staple right should be merged. 17th and 18th century Sweden also had a system of staple ports, which were the only places from which goods could be exported. In theoiry (at least) producers sold their goods to a merchant in a market town, who then took them to the staple port and exported them. I am not sure about the statmetn about abolition in 1617. Certainly export was prohibited, but staplers continued to trade in wool internally in England. Peterkingiron (talk) 16:21, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
I've tried to fix it, by merging the staple and staple port into staple right. The implication of the hatnote in the latter that these were unrelated phenomena is false. Articles on the specific statute, guilds and wool I've left alone save for removing merger tags. Srnec (talk) 04:03, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

The following is copied/pasted from User talk:Eddaido. —Srnec (talk) 21:30, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

The concept of a "staple [port, right, tax, system]" is common to many medieval and early modern countries, not just England and Germany. There have been merge tags up (reasonably) for months. You have been misled by the English historiographical tendency to talk about the Staple, as if the English staple system was the only one. In fact, all these "staple" concepts are related. A staple port had a staple right, although how the staple right was exercised could vary from place to place. Srnec (talk) 17:20, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

I know that. Readers of Wikipedia can know that because I put it there - check the history. My point is that The Staple (in English and in the English language Wikipedia) refers very specifically to a particular and in its long day important institution, it purpose to collect tax, not force traders to offer their goods at every river port they passed. I think your re-arrangement of articles just needs to be amended to give a specific article for The Staple. I'm very happy for something called Staple Recht not staple right to have its own article.
I made the reference to staple right among other things to show that there were other much more important if less everyday things than paper fasteners which use the same name. I made the amendments as I did because I was very short of time and was anxious to get the job done. Easy enough to extract and paste the right portion (which I inserted in Staple in a hurry) from the article Staple to The Staple - currently a redirect. In fact I'll do that in a few minutes. Do you want to discuss it further?
The Staple was a specific English central government tax-gathering institution maybe named so it is related to a similar concept used in other countries but not the same. Annoying to find my attempts to develop the concept of staple (not fasteners) turned against the primary thing I was trying to explain. The remarks about a need for a merger just showed how lacking that person was in understanding and that is what I set out to cure!
Somewhere you mentioned discussion. Whereabouts is that discussion?
I had better add - this is not a good day for me (now I have time but a major distraction) to get involved like this but I wanted to make a prompt response. Very happy to have a longer more rational discussion when I can think more clearly, but not today. Eddaido (talk) 03:37, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
I (not I think too imaginatively) think of a staple as a marker, be it a pin (also in use a fastener) or a post in the ground (the use we discuss). It is stable in the motion sense. In what we discuss it marks the place of a market - from which the other fibre and food related meanings evolved. What do you think? Eddaido (talk) 03:49, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
If somebody wants to add sufficient material for an entire article on the English Staple alone, then it can be split off into an article of its own (perhaps at The Staple). The problem is that there were other staple systems, and the specifically English one is not so unique. It was more than just a "central government tax-gathering institution", although it was that. It did depend on the concept of "staple right", which is why I merged the articles staple port and the staple (which is a terrible page name) into that one. The staple right article explains how the Staple system worked. The article at the staple says, "The system made it easy for the Crown to monitor the overseas trade and to levy taxes and derive income and revenue on it," without telling us how it did this. This makes it almost worthless. (Anyways, I suggest we move discussion to Talk:Merchants of the Staple#Fragmented thinking, where it began). Srnec (talk) 21:26, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
Did it depend on the Stapel Recht? I don't think so. Can you find a reference?
There are articles on The President and The Queen - why not The Staple? Its called the definite article.
The name is unique to the English system. No searches of mine have turned up references to any other country's system - under that name anyway.
But not worthless, at least it tells the reader something. I am not qualified to do this but I may hunt around for something reliable to add to an explanation of the English system. However I am reluctant to add anything I'm not confident about.
I have made other amendments. I am very proud of this picture: Image of the staples on the sheep, it shows wool staple in situ. I had great difficulty in satisfying myself I had made an adequate explanation and the picture solves the problem, I think. But aware of keeping Wikipedianwise distinguished company (yrself and wetman) - I have used it on this page Staple (wool) and felt obliged to make the link to that image under External links. I've then added an internal link leading (unfortunately roughly) to that external link. I think I must do it that way but is the complication avoidable? Why can't I make a direct external link from within the body of the article?
I think (as below) that Merchants of the Staple and Statute of the Staple belong in the article named The Staple. I hold no special concern for your chosen fate for Staple port and Staple Right (which should be Stapel Recht in any case) Eddaido (talk) 12:21, 19 June 2011 (UTC)
I'd be inclined to merge them (with the exception of the Merchants of the Staple), and then follow the narrative of the evolution of the Staple approach to trade and taxation during the period. The Staple could then become one of the concepts to be explored in the article. I'm finishing off a castle article right now, but once that's done (Wednesday, say) I could help out on the English and North-West European aspects of that. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:29, 20 June 2011 (UTC)
Thank you! I shall watch with much interest. Eddaido (talk) 20:02, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

A number of comments, from some one who has not been contributing much recently:

  • There now appears to be little independent content at The Staple. Once its external links etc have been relocated, that article can be blanked and made a redirect to Staple right.
  • As this is the English WP, we should use the translation Staple right, not the German term.
  • I am unhappy with the statement about the post-1617 situation. As I understand it, after that period, staplers were wool merchants, but trading internally within England.
  • Earlier in this discussion, I said something about Sweden. There staple ports were the only legal places of export. Goods sem to have had to be sold in a market town first. However, how far this actually happned in practice, I am not clear. My experience largely refers to the iron trade, where I would be surprised if major producers actually exposed there wares for sale in market towns. Peterkingiron (talk) 22:37, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Readers' votes

I can suffer mouse malfunctions too but these seem to be the statistics for the last 30 days:

  • Staple food: views 15,843, discussion views 24
  • Staple (fastener): views 5,116, discussion views 10
  • Staples: views 3,183, discussion views 5 -disambiguation-
  • Staple: views 2,903, discussion views 5 -disambiguation-
  • Staple (wool): views 1,079, discussion views 16 see Staple (textiles) below. Wool must be senior to cotton, synthetics etc.
  • Staple port: views 982, discussion views 22 (now redirected to Staple Right - why are the numbers so different??)
  • Staple (textiles): views 588, discussion views 7 (This, somehow, has to be tied in with Wool above)
  • The Staple: views 348, discussion views 22 +Merchants of the Staple +Statute of the Staple
  • Staple Act: views 274, discussion views 4 -disambiguation-
  • Staple right: views 273, discussion views 11 this seems to be a continental european concept
  • Merchants of the Staple: views 249, discussion views 15 should be an item under The Staple
  • Statute of the Staple: views 185, discussion views 15 should be an item under The Staple

Should editors let this be a guide as to be the weight accorded to individual articles? Eddaido (talk) 11:58, 18 June 2011 (UTC)

Hey there! Start with The Staple Please. An appeal to reason

Yes, I like history and I've long been aware of merchants of the staple if not very clear about them, felt no need.

I've also long been aware of my descent from Thomas Harrison of East Court Finchampstead Berkshire died 22 February 1603 "squire of the stable" to Queen Elizabeth. He's one of our small number of little treasures as we have very few so notable and distinguished. Recently I spent a lot of time trying very hard to find out exactly what this curious court post might involve. To my surprise the prob. was orthography. He was Surveyor of the Staple to QE. It may be, one day, Wikipedia will tell a reader just what that meant.

There were mayors of the staple and staple courts etc all of them important to trade and they will come out in time on record in an encyclopedia that details total nonentities just because they were aristocrats and the composition of the uniforms of participants in battles . . . Not knocking it, just pointing out it happens. I see there is today something called a staple loan where a borrower gets prior approval before commitment to purchase - somewhere in Wikipedia tells me its name is from the approval STAPLED to the back of the contract - what's the betting the legal terminology in fact comes from some old trade term.

All I ask is that a Wikipedia reader can find easily just what the (English) Staple was - seek at present and you will find a lot of bent pins and things on/in your way, even in Wikipedia. No, a redirect is not good enough. Its not just notable, its important. They were 'a nation of woolgrowers' long before they were 'a nation of shopkeepers'. "The importance of wool to the English economy can be shown by the fact that since the 14th Century, the presiding officer of the House of Lords has sat on the "Woolsack", a chair stuffed with wool."

What is it against a definition of the Staple followed by Merchants of the Staple etc etc within that article? We learn about merchants as small children (don't we?). The important part of the phrase is the Staple.

Surely it is rational to state what an institution is/was then go into detail about the associated positions and functions. Now That would lead to the earnestly desired defragmentation. Eddaido (talk) 01:23, 21 June 2011 (UTC)


The body is stated to still exist, but also has the category 'Defunct Companies' - this seems illogical.

Perhaps there should be a specific category for 'bodies which were once economic entities and which are now charitable ones' (using a more succinct definition of course) - which would include eg the Livery Companies of London. Jackiespeel (talk) 09:25, 28 July 2015 (UTC)