Professor Jim Bolton

Professorial Research Fellow

Location People’s Palace 301


Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 6930

Since taking early retirement from full-time teaching, I have been able to pursue my research interests in medieval economic history.

In 2001, thanks to a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council, I established The Borromei Bank Research Project at Queen Mary, to create electronic database versions of two important Italian banking ledgers of the Borromei banks in Bruges and London in the 1430s.


My research in the last decade has focussed on banking, credit and international commerce in late medieval Europe. This is with particular reference to activities of the Borromei family of Milan in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, in partnership with Dr Francesco Guidi-Bruscoli.

We have created an electronic on-line version of the ledger of Filippo Borromei and company of Bruges for the year 1438 and are preparing a similar version of the ledger of Filippo Borromei and company of London, 1436-39. The Bruges ledger can be found at

  • Banking, credit and finance in late-medieval Europe
  • Economy and society in medieval England
  • The monetary history of medieval England

English political society 1399-1509


Recent Publications

Money in the medieval English economy, 973-1489, Manchester Medieval Series (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012). ISBN 0719050405

‘London merchants and the Borromei bank in the 1430s: the role of local credit networks’, in H. Kleineke (ed. Parliament, Personalities and Power. Papers presented to Linda S. Clark, The Fifteenth Century X (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2011), pp. 53-73.

‘Was there a “crisis of credit” in fifteenth-century England?’, the Howard Linecar Lecture to the British Numismatic Society, 2009, British Numismatic Journal, 81 (2011), 144-64.

‘When did Antwerp replace Bruges as the commercial and financial centre of north-western Europe? The evidence of the Borromei ledger for 1438’, The Economic History Review, 61:2 (2008), pp. 360-79.

The Ledger of Filippo Borromei and Company of Bruges, 1438’, Web Publication, (2008)

‘How Sir Thomas Rempston paid his ransom: or, the mistakes of an Italian bank’, in L. Clark (ed.), Conflicts, Consequences and the Crown in the late Middle Ages, The Fifteenth Century VII (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2007), 101-18.

Forthcoming (in press) 2013

‘Looking for Yersinia pestis: scientists, historians and the Black Death’ in L. Clark and C. Rawcliffe (eds.), Society in an Age of Plague, The Fifteenth Century XII (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2013), publication date 15 August 2013, ISBN 9781843838753.

‘The Church and money in twelfth-century England’ in G. Gasper and S.H. Gullbekk (eds.), Money and the Church in Medieval Europe, 1000-1200 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), publication date Autumn 2013, ISBN 9781472420992

‘How it really worked: Italian banking in northern Europe in the fifteenth century as seen through the Borromei ledgers’ in N.J. Mayhew (ed.), Peter Spufford’s ‘Money and its use in Medieval Europe’ – Twenty Five Years On, Royal Numismatic Society Special Publication 50, (London: Royal Numismatic Society, 2013), publication date Autumn 2013, ISBN 0901405698.

Membership of professional associations or societies

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society