The aim of the Medieval English Towns site is to provide historical information about cities and towns in England during the Middle Ages, with particular but not exclusive emphasis on medieval boroughs of East Anglia and on social, political and constitutional history. A growing selection of primary documents (translated into English) relevant to English urban history is included.
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.
Problems of definition |
Continuity or creation? |
Wiks, burhs, and ports
Planned/planted towns | Growth of self-government | Urban economy | Urban society
Sources of knowledge | Further reading
THE MEN BEHIND THE MASQUE:
Office-holding in East Anglian boroughs, 1272-1460
An in-depth study of the character of government in six medieval towns
|Browse the glossary by clicking on that link, or choose a term from the click-down list and hit the "Find" button|
|Created: August 29, 1998. Last update: May 1, 2013||© Stephen Alsford, 1998-2013|