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Bruges, 15th-century centre of the notarial profession in the Low Countries

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On the strength of previous research it has often been assumed that in Flanders the notarial profession had barely developed before 1531. That position can no longer be upheld, in particular with regard to fifteenth-century Bruges, since a prosopographical study into the notaries public who were active at the time in Bruges shows that nowhere else in the Low Countries was the notariate so successful. Moreover, because of their numbers, of their intensive activity in pursuing their trade and of the nature of the deeds they drafted, the Bruges notaries appear to have set the standards for their colleagues in the other parts of the Low Countries. Even so, it remains true that in Bruges as in the rest of North-Western Europe, the notarial profession remained far less important than in the cities of Northern Italy.


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