This book is the first collection of translated sources on towns in medieval England between 1100 and 1500. Drawing on a variety of written evidence for the significan and dynamic period, it provides an overview of English medieval urban history. Readers are invited to consider the challenges and opportunities presented by a wide range of sources. The merchant, for example, is seen from different angles - as an economic agent, as a religious patron and in Chaucer's fictional depiction. The prominence of London and the other major cities is reflected in the selection, but due attention is also given to a number of small market towns. Occasions of conflict are represented, as are examples of groups and societies which both contributed to and helped to contain the tensions within urban society. Changing indicators of wealth and poverty are considered, together with evidence for more complex questions concerning the quality of life in the medieval town. The book moves between the experience of urban life and contemporary perceptions of it - from domestic furnishings to legends of civic origins and plays in which townspeople enacted their own history.
Venice. 1 C.M. Barron, London in the Later Middle Ages. Government and People 1200–1500 , Oxford, 2004, pp. 186–8. 2 G. Rosser, ‘Myth, image and social process in the English medieval town’, Urban History , XXIII, 1996
a new degree of historical rigour in the interpretation of objects, supported by an equal grasp of textual sources. 5 The individual archaeological find cannot speak unaided: what is needed is a contextualised interpretation. Such an integrated approach has informed the best work of recent decades on English medieval towns. Pioneering and exemplary in this respect has been the comprehensive survey of Winchester. 6 The
of popular culture see G. Rosser, ‘Myth, image and social process in the English medieval town’, Urban History , XXIII, 1996, pp. 5–25. 12 C. D. Liddy, ‘Urban enclosure riots: risings of the commons in English towns, 1480–1525’, Past & Present , CCXXVI, 2015, pp