Great Slump (15th century)

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The Great Slump was an economic depression that occurred in medieval England between approximately 1440 and 1480.


The Great Slump occurred in England between approximately 1440 and 1480.[1] The economic slow-down began in the 1430s in the north of the country, spreading south in the 1440s, with the economy not recovering until the 1480s.[2] The Great Slump took place against a wider trading crisis in Northern Europe, driven by shortages of silver - essential for the money supply - and a breakdown in trade.[2] It was also driven by multiple harvest failures in the 1430s and disease amongst livestock, that drove up the price of food and damaged the wider economy.[3]

The impact of the Great Slump was far reaching across England. Certain groups were particularly badly affected - cloth exports fell by 35 percent in just four years at the end of the 1440s, for example, collapsing by up to 90 percent in some parts of the South-West.[4] Prices of remaining trade goods fell dramatically as well.[5] Popular rebellions ensued in 1450 under Jack Cade, and the events contributed to the outbreak of the Wars of the Roses in the 1460s.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hicks, p.40.
  2. ^ a b Hicks, p.50.
  3. ^ Hatcher, p.246.
  4. ^ Hicks, p.51.
  5. ^ Hatcher, p.243.
  6. ^ Hicks, pp.52-54.


  • Hatcher, John (2002). "The Great Slump of the Mid-Fifteenth Century". In Britnell, Richard; Hatcher, John. Progress and Problems in Medieval England: Essays in Honour of Edward Miller. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-52273-1. 
  • Hicks, Michael (2012). The Wars of the Roses. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-18157-9.