Gervase Rosser
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Urban growth
in Towns in medieval England
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This chapter contains an introduction and a selection of translated and annotated texts on urban growth. The use by English monarchs of their towns as frames for the spectacular display of royal power would have a long history. The different case of Bury St Edmunds exemplifies the potential of a monastic establishment to act as a catalyst of urban growth. A reflection of urban growth in the Anglo-Norman period are the bids by local groups of merchants for increased autonomy and scope to manage their affairs, free from the daily meddling of royal officials. A spectacular instance of urban promotion was the bishop of Salisbury's project to relocate both his cathedral and its surrounding city from the dramatic hilltop setting of 'Old Salisbury' to the foot of the escarpment. While archaeology has revealed traces of earlier settlement on the site of 'New Salisbury', the grid-planned and fortified town in the thirteenth century is a dramatic instance of ecclesiastical involvement in the urban expansion of the period.

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Towns in medieval England

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