Stepping stone to fiscal disaster

DECADES ago, Britain joined the Common Market. Most people welcomed it. In reality, it turned out to be a disguised stepping stone into fiscal disaster.

Look at it now, a hotbed of distrust, contention and political intrigue.

A far cry from the time East Anglia and the Fens benefited from the Hanseatic League, the first common market, a merging of medieval traders in East Anglia and the Fens and their counterparts in Flanders, the Teutonic region and nations adjacent to the Baltic Sea.

Involved were the cities of Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and Amsterdam, London and Norwich and the towns of Ipswich, Boston, King’s Lynn and Wisbech all thriving ports. It was a significantly successful adventure and it lasted unsullied for 400 years.

The league enriched East Anglia and the Fens and numerous buildings, especially churches testify to the day to its benevolence.

All over the Fens, sheep, cattle, wool, salt, wheat, pickled eels and hardy horses were taken to Wisbech, then on to King’s Lynn port. Ships returning brought back art work, hand crafted books, furniture, fine cloth, lace and Flemish bricks.

One of the farms benefiting from the League, the Rollesbury’s of Bacton, produced the acclaimed angel roof at March and their skill can be seen throughout the Eastern counties. Successful businessmen were involved in these lavish monuments.

The Hanseatic League blended the best of local talent with continental expertise. It worked admirably because politics was excluded. Surely something to emulate.


St Peters Road