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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.

Dominic Bryan
S. J. Connolly
, and
John Nagle

The public life of towns has always been more intense than that of the countryside. The density of population, and a more complex social structure, encourage a higher level of political mobilisation. There is also scope for a more elaborate body of civic ritual, expressing central values and allegiances, strengthening the bonds of community and confirming patterns of authority and deference. From the late eighteenth century, however, population growth and industrialisation gave new depth both to civic ritual and to urban political life

in Civic identity and public space
Abstract only
P. J. P. Goldberg

. [a] [1395] Also they say that all the female poulterers of Nottingham sell garlic, flour, salt, tallow candles, butter, cheeses, and suchlike things too dearly against the statute, and that each of them makes candles without putting a wick in them to the deception of the people, and is a common forestaller of such victuals aforesaid coming to be sold in the town of Nottingham, standing at street

in Women in England c. 1275–1525
J. F. Merritt

The social world of early modern Westminster Chapter 3 Town, cloister and Crown HE upheavals of the 1530s and successive Tudor reformations brought disruption to most aspects of local society in Westminster. Lines of authority within the area, and indeed its whole collective identity, were thrown into disarray. The dissolution of Westminster’s abbey gave rise to special problems, given the earlier prominence of the abbot in the medieval government of the town. Would the new dean and chapter retain the authority that the Abbey had previously exercised here? Or

in The social world of early modern Westminster
Abstract only
Katy Layton-Jones

B2B The town on show From the earliest galleries in pleasure gardens to cabinets of curiosity, towns both hosted and provided subject matter for displays and shows that attracted the attention of residents and visitors alike.1 They provided content for panoramas, exhibits for fairs and expositions, and officiated as hosts in their own cultural and educational endeavours. While the earliest examples were to be found in London, by the late eighteenth century, the appetite for such spectacles led to their introduction across Britain. An assortment of attractions

in Beyond the metropolis
Katy Layton-Jones

B4B Advertising the town Distant prospects, panoramas, and guidebook illustrations continued to be produced throughout the nineteenth century. However, by the 1840s, perhaps the most ubiquitous and accessible form of urban imagery was that produced to advertise and promote the interests of individual manufactories, warehouses, and merchants. Bills of trade, trade cards, newspaper advertisements, and even free gifts were produced and circulated in ever greater numbers. Accordingly, a full appreciation of how the ‘new’ values of large-scale manufacturing and

in Beyond the metropolis
Criminality and cruelty
Paul Newland

8 Old cities, new towns: criminality and cruelty We find ourselves living in disturbing times. The foundations of our society are not firm. We’re like a rudderless ship. No direction. No-one has any conviction anymore. You see, we don’t believe … anything. We are in a period of moral starvation. The Vicar, The Shout (Jerzy Skolimowski, 1978) Frenzy (Alfred Hitchcock, 1972) begins with an impressive aerial shot of early 1970s London. Mounted on a helicopter, the camera travels westwards up the River Thames and underneath Tower Bridge, as if through a mysterious

in British films of the 1970s
John Beckett

IV The parish and the town If the county was the preferred unit of study, the parish increasingly came to be viewed as the practical limit of most scholars and, following loosely from this, it was only a short step towards discussion of the town as a separate place. Studies of towns inevitably began with London, particularly the great survey published by Stow at the end of the sixteenth century. No other towns were in the same league in terms of size and status, but it is no surprise to find histories being compiled of cathedral towns and some of the larger

in Writing local history
Marc James Léger

that can function as regulative ideas, even for subjects themselves. Žižek’s main point of contention with Butler and Laclau, or with the proponents of micropolitical identity struggles, is that they accept capitalism as ‘the only game in town’ and as the basis, the price to pay, for the pursuit of identity agendas. 8 The repression of class politics in the new left mantra of ‘race, class, gender and sexuality’ limits class struggle to the assessment of how it is that capitalism creates sexist and racist oppression. Micropolitics avoids

in Vanguardia
John M. MacKenzie

3 Cities, towns, civic buildings and hill stations FORMAL EMPIRE The speed of urbanisation and of the appearance of buildings on a western model, both in terms of usage and of style, proceeded rapidly and comprehensively in colonial territories. As imperial invaders began to feel more secure, the various activities that had been concentrated in forts and factories began to fan out into the towns and cities which grew up around the original strategic positions. As well as representing the spread of power and security, this dispersal tracked the development of

in The British Empire through buildings