In the early 1300s the central market was moved to St Peter Port from the Castel and legal taxes were introduced to finance repairs to the harbour. The local economy relied on the wine trade and fishing and despite the loss of the markets in Normandy Guernsey continued to trade with Gascony. When Eleanor of Aquitaine married King Henry II in 1152, her lands in South Western France had become part of the English holdings. With the loss of Normandy goods from the English lands in south western France had to be brought all the way by sea round the west coast of France.
This was ideal for Guernsey which was en route to the South of England. Trade was further helped by the privileges given to Bordeaux merchants.
Ships such as the ‘Mary’ were built in Guernsey. She was launched in 1415 and used to ferry troops to France for Henry V. Guernsey traders also obtained special grants from Henry VI of Castile (Spain) for safe conduct within his domains. This helped to offset some of the problems Guernsey faced as French attacks on the island continued. The fishing trade with Newfoundland began in the1460s when Jacques Cartier from St Malo who had Guernsey man Guillaume de Guerneze was amongst his crew discovered the Grand Banks and St Peter Port continued to grow.