The move to Portugal



   
 

By the mid-seventeenth century the Thompsons had begun importing cloth to Portugal.  Since the signing of the Treaty of Windsor in 1386, England and Portugal had been close trading partners.  
 

In 1654, commerce between the two countries was further encouraged by a new treaty which awarded special privileges to English merchants trading in Portugal including entitlement to lower duties.  As a result the Thompson family shifted their focus from France, which was frequently at war with Britain, to Portugal.  By that time the firm was led by Richard Thompson who was responsible for transforming the family firm into a Port wine company.
 
In 1707, Richard Thompson merged the business with that of Thomas Phayre and Nathaniel Bradley, two Irish brothers who had settled in Portugal and were trading in Port and other goods.  The company became known as Phayre, Bradley & Thompson until the two Irishmen left the partnership and were replaced by a new partner, Benjamin Tilden, after which it adopted the name Thompson & Tilden.
 
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