This is a comparative study of the role of English and French towns in feudal society in the middle ages. In bringing together much material which dissolves old categories and simplifications in the study of medieval towns, Professor Hilton provides an important new perspective on medieval society and on the nature of feudalism. He argues that medieval towns were not, as is often thought, the harbingers of capitalism, and emphasises the way in which urban social structures fitted into, rather than challenged, feudalism.
'This book pulls off a double: specialists will enjoy and be inspired by it, while novices will appreciate its clarity and terseness ... It deserves the widest possible audience.' Julia Barrow, History Workshop Journal 'A useful summary with some profound insights.' David Nicholas, The Economic History Review 'This synthesis, presented with talent by R. H. Hilton, must take a very honourable place among the few comparative studies of medieval urban history.' Cahiers de Civilisation Medievale