Russell, Margery (d. around 1380)

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Russell, Margery (d. around 1380)

English merchant. Died around 1380 in Coventry, England.

Margery Russell, an English merchant, traded internationally in a variety of goods and, though married to another merchant, ran her business as a femme sole, or "woman alone," from the town of Coventry. She was well educated in those areas in which a businesswoman needed special knowledge, including arithmetic and trading law. She used her knowledge to great advantage, successfully pursuing in court those whom she felt had taken advantage of her. She even went to the royal court for redress when one of her ships was attacked and plundered by Spanish pirates. With a sense of justice perhaps odd to modern observers, the court granted Russell permission to compensate her loss through seizure of Spanish cargo in nearby ports. Spanish traders lodged a complaint against her soon afterwards for taking goods valued at more than she had lost. After this, Russell disappears from the court records.


Echols, Anne, and Marty Williams. An Annotated Index of Medieval Women. NY: Markus Wiener, 1992.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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Russell, Margery (d. around 1380)

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