Returning from battles during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453), English soldiers brought various objects from the continent. The commercial freight of French and Flemish merchants on route to England included wines, missals, prayer books and other popular merchandise of the era. These consignments also included playing cards, which were seen as a new fashionable item from continental Europe, still little known in the British Isles. Many French traders stayed in the city of Rouen in northern France, which was an important export center for products from France and other European countries.
Accordingly, the regional Rouen deck became the standard used in England. Craftsmen soon appeared, especially in London, interested in producing cards in the country, following the new model. The opening of the market led some French manufacturers to establish themselves in London, including Blanchard, an important French manufacturer at the time. From the fourteenth to the eighteenth century, use of the characteristic English standard deck was restricted to England. In the eighteenth century, the deck followed pilgrims to English colonies in the New World.