Text, maps & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - June 2020
This webpage goes about the information on the royal storehouses which were located outside the Grand Palace.

In the Early Ayutthaya Period trade was conducted mainly by kings, royal members, and noblemen, while private trading was limited. International
trade was almost a monopoly, but free trade was still possible. Trade could be done directly between local and foreign merchants. In the Middle
Ayutthaya Period, the king became more and more involved in international commerce and all trade had to go through the government. Revenue
came from trading rights, profits, import, and export taxes.

Peter Hourdequin wrote in his review essay 'Muslim Influences in Seventeenth Century Ayutthaya' that by the 17th century the Ayutthayan monarchy
had developed a system of royal warehouses in order to profit from foreign trade on certain goods. The royal warehouses operated as wholesale
outlets in that they bought (or received as tribute) and stockpiled exportable goods of both domestic and foreign origin. [1]

Justus (Joost) Schouten at the head of a Dutch Embassy obtained a right to trade for the VOC (Dutch United East India Company) in 1634 CE in
paying a sum equivalent to 5000 Florins. Schouten obtained from the Phra Khlang an export monopoly of all East Indian goods to the Dutch and the
permission to select a site in Ayutthaya on which to build a factory.

In 1662 the king imposed a royal monopoly on all trade and started to send his own trading ships to Japan.

The Phra Khlang was the minister responsible for the external relations and maritime trading affairs. He was in charge of the royal warehouses, the
commercial monopolies, and the relations with foreigners. The Phra Khlang referred to as the "Barcalon" by the western foreigners, was in fact the
king's personal merchant.

The collection of local products was done through the system of 'suai', royal tributes gained from the dominions. These tributary goods as well as the
incoming goods of high value and arms were stored in the royal warehouses, ready to be exported. [3]

In the 'Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the palace' the following storehouses or treasuries were situated outside the Grand
Palace. [4]

     • The Inner storehouse was beside the Crystal Pond of the Grand Palace. (1)
     • The Government storehouse was beside the road of
Wat Na Pa Fai. (2)
     • The Goods storehouse was beside the Banana Leaf Quarter.
     • The warehouse storing gear for war horses was beside the wall of
Wat Thammikarat.
     • The Inner and Outer Customs storehouses were beside the Jao Phrom Market Road. (3)
     • An Armament storehouse was situated along the
Nakhon Ban Canal.
     • Two other Armament storehouses were by
Wat Si Chiang.
     • A warehouse building to store bullets and saltpeter (for gunpowder) was in front of
Wat Jan and behind Wat Sangkha Pat.
     • A warehouse building to store elephant harness and gear is beside
Wat Yanusenthon. (4)
     • There might have been also a warehouse to store articles for festivities, but the text in reference [4] is not clear.

Phraya Boran Rachathanin (PBR) on his
map drafted in 1926 mentions two storehouses, a granary, and an unspecified building (Tuek Din). He
drafted the Goods storehouse (Khlang Sinkha) to the southwest of
Wat Borom Phuttharam, in an area that is generally accepted as being the
Banana Leaf Quarter. He has a tin depository (Khlang Dibuk) near Wat Jao Phrap on the west bank of Khlong Chakrai Yai. A barn or granary
was situated opposite
Wat Monthian and on the south bank of Khlong Chang Maha Chai. The unspecified building (Tuek Din) could be the
Ammunition warehouse to store bullets and saltpeter (for gunpowder). In fact, of all the warehouses summed up in the 'Geographical description of
Ayutthaya', there is only the Goods storehouse beside the Banana Leaf Quarter that really could be identified by PBR. I presume that today, there
are even no more traces left of the latter.

ca.1850 map of Ayutthaya indicates a 'Tuek Nakhon Ban' on the Nakhon Ban Canal. It could be the Armament storehouse as given in the
'Geographical description of Ayutthaya', but it could also be the old prison.
(Detail of a 19th century map - map is orientated
(Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map -
Anno 1926)
(Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map -
Anno 1926)
(Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map -
Anno 1926)
(Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map -
Anno 1926)
(Khlang Dibuk or the Tin Depository near Wat Jao Phrap as indicated on a FAD 2007 map)

(1) Chris Baker has here "beside the [throne hall at]{the outer palace wall at the quarter of}Crystal Pond." adding translated parts of similar old
documents. [5]
(2) Chris Baker has here "beside the road in front of Wat Pa Fai". Commonly the monastery is known as Wat Pa Fai (Monastery of the Cotton
Quarter). Wat Na Pa Fai can be translated as the Monastery in front of the Cotton Quarter. [5]
(3) Not the location of today's Jao Phrom Market. Trade in the area of today's Jao Phrom Market started with the establishment of the market in the
form of permanent buildings around 1980.
(4) Likely today's Wat Yan Sen.


[1] Hourdequin Peter - Muslim Influences in Seventeenth Century Ayutthaya - A Review Essay
[2] Villiers, John (1986) - François Caron and Joost Schouten - A True Description of the Mighty Kingdoms of Japan and Siam -  facsimile of the
1671 London edition - The Siam Society, Bangkok.]
[3] Charnvit Kasetsiri - Ayudhya And Chinese Connection - JSS]
[4] Phanna phumisathan Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya: Ekasan jak Ho Luang - Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the palace -
Dr Vinai Pongsripian - Bangkok, Usakane, n. d. (2007) - p55.
[5] Baker, Chris - The Grand Palace in the Description of Ayutthaya: Translation and Commentary - Journal of the Siam Society, Vol. 101, 2013.