One of the towns in England, Wales, Ireland, or in Continental Europe, through which wool merchants traded. They were set up by Edward III of England as a means of controlling the principal English export, wool, so that he could be guaranteed the tax due on it at the customs point. By the Ordinance of the Staple (1353) 15 British staple towns were established, but in 1363 Calais was made the wool staple through which all wool exports had to pass; a very profitable monopoly in the wool trade was given to the Merchant Staplers. A continental staple existed until the ban on exports of wool in 1617.
Subjects: World History.