Medieval English Towns

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The Medieval English Towns site explores the urban sector of England as it was during the Middle Ages – aspects of the history of cities, boroughs, market towns, and their communities – with particular, but by no means exclusive, reference to East Anglia and to social, economic, and political history. A growing selection of primary documents (translated into English) relevant to medieval English urban history is included.

For a fuller understanding of the subject-scope of this site, see the thesaurus of keywords. An indication of some of the subjects not addressed on this site can be found here.

The image above is an edited version of a line drawing by Mary Houston, based on an illustration in the Luttrell Psalter, commissioned ca.1325 by a Lincolnshire knight. Although the medieval artist's intent was to portray Constantinople, sight unseen, the end-product resembles instead a generalized representation of an English town of the period: churches, houses, taverns and market square, all surrounded by defensive walls; he may have conjured up mental pictures of Stamford or Lincoln when executing the illumination. But most medieval depictions of towns and cities should be understood primarily as iconographic rather than documentary, a distinction perhaps less significant to medieval than to modern viewers.

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Created: August 29, 1998. Last update: November 20, 2016 © Stephen Alsford, 1998-2016