Peter the Saracen
In the Close Rolls (financial records) of 1205, there is a reference to “Peter the Saracen” who was commissioned as a “maker of crossbows” by King John at 9d (pence) per day. The word ‘saracen’ is usually used to describe someone who is of North African or Middle-eastern origin, as well as people of Muslim or Islamic faith.

Peter the Saracen"A "maker of crossbows" by King John at 9d (pence) per day" Extract reads: “Mandate to the constable of Northampton to retain Peter the Saracen, the maker of crossbows, and another with him, for the King's service, and allow him 9d. a day. Freemantle, 26th July 1205”

Typically however, we know nothing else about him - why he was in Northampton, where he came from, what he looked like, how he felt and what his experiences were. However, it is important to recognise that this skilled craftsman may have lived and worked in Northampton 800 years ago. It is fascinating to speculate how many other people, given that this was the time of the crusades, were also living in Britain whose origins lay elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Northamptonshire Black History Association
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109 St James Road
Northampton NN5 5LD
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