Skip to main content

Rose of Burford (fl. 15th c.)

Rose of Burford (fl. 15th c.)

Wool merchant of England. Flourished in the late 15th century.

Rose of Burford, an English wool merchant whose early life is obscure, was probably born into a merchant or gentry family. She was well educated—not in the classical fields of literature, music, and Latin, but the areas in which a merchant needed expertise, for example, trading law, mathematics, banking, and export law. Rose became a wholesaler, exporting raw English wool to Calais and selling it to textile manufacturers there. By running her own business, she qualified as a femme sole ("woman alone"); in medieval times, this phrase signified a woman who could conduct transactions independently and in her own name, making her an equal with male merchants. Rose retained this status even when she married another wool merchant, for she kept her business separate.

Her husband was extremely wealthy and worked directly for the king, Edward II, to whom he loaned a large amount of money for England's war against Scotland. Rose, too, appears in royal documents as a merchant to the crown, and also when she requested repayment of her husband's loan after his death. This request began a rather long legal procedure for the widow, who was forced to appear at the royal court five more times to demand the money, which was not forthcoming due to the administration's tight financial situation. Finally, Rose offered the officers of the crown a compromise: that instead of receiving a lump sum equivalent to the loan amount plus interest, she would accept having the loan paid off through reductions of the business taxes she was assessed, to which the royal court agreed. Rose remains a figure in documents of the royal treasury for some years after this settlement.


Uitz, Erika. The Legend of Good Women: The Liberation of Women in Medieval Cities. Wakefield, RI: Moyer Bell, 1988.

Laura York , Riverside, California

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Rose of Burford (fl. 15th c.)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . 23 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Rose of Burford (fl. 15th c.)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . (February 23, 2019).

"Rose of Burford (fl. 15th c.)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.