This unique look at the town of Westminster is a study of the nature of the urban community in the late Middle Ages. As a small town, characterized by a complex economy and society but lacking legal incorporation, Westminster typified the large yet neglected class of medieval urban centers. Rosser here examines the forces that existed to contain tensions and ensure continuity in the community. The regular expressions of shared interests and common identity--in local government, parochial life, and the activities of guilds--are shown to be essential to the survival of the town. A valuable contribution to the study of the social and economic history of the late Middle Ages, this work will be of interest to students of late medieval economic and social history as well as to urban historians.
'This is a very solid book, with numerous appendices ... but it is certainly not a dull one. Dr Rosser has a lively style, and all human ... life is there'
Times Literary Supplement
`an important contribution to medieval studies ... his book has a general importance over and above its specific importance as a most thorough study of England's developing capital'dward Miller, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, Journal of Ecclesiastical Studies
'a valuable urban study ... an impressive achievement ... It is far more than the book of the thesis ... beautifully written study.'
J.F. Merritt, The Ricardian Vol VIII No 110 Sept '90
'for his scholarly reconstruction of a neglected but major 'small' town, he is to be congratulated'
J.I. Kermode, University of Liverpool, Urban History Yearbook '90
`the author makes effective use of period illustrations, modern figures and tables, and literary quotations from the era to fix his arguments in historical times. In many respects this is a handsome work. The reader comes away with a concrete sense of the urban environment of medieval Westminster.'
Journal of Economic History
'it is one of the most enjoyable features of Dr Rosser's exceptionally well-written monograph that he is at pains to wrest very general lines of interpretation from the experience of this small ... and highly untypical town'
Peter Robinson, History, No 246, Feb 1991
'this book is an important contribution to a fundamental interest of local history'
Robert Peberdy, Local Historian/February 1991
'Rosser enlivens his study with anecdotes and with accounts of drinking houses, prostitution, and poverty. Occasionally flip but generally fair, this book is a measured, markedly good contribution to a field that needs more specific case studies such as this and fewer generalities.'
Jo Ann Hoeppner Moran, Georgetown University, American Historical Review, February 1992
'welcome study ... Ropsser's study achieves its height with admirable sketches of the diverse population and heterogeneous sopciety. His detailed study makes manifest the social and economic mix within geographic proximities. The breadth of Rosser's admirable research energetically reveals the diverse society of medieval Westminster.'
David R. Carr, University of South Florida, Speculum - A Journal of Medieval Studies, Jan 1992
'It is unlikely that we shall have a more elegantly written contribution to the debate ... strong, clear and provocative views of a "younger generation".'
Robert Tittler, Concordia University, Montreal, Journal of British Studies
'the author's thought-provoking study, which combines readability with scholarly precision, deserves a place at the centre of the current debates about town life in late medieval England, and suggests many new avenues for future research and discussion'
S.H. Rigby, University of Manchester, EHR Jan '93
List of illustrations; List of figures; List of tables; Abbreviations; Introduction; The making of the Royal capital, to 1300; The King's capital, 1300-1540; Landlords, tenants, and houses; Fairs and markets; Occupations; Population and society; Urban government; The religion of the lay community; Guilds; Charitable institutions; Conclusion; Appendices i-viii; Select bibliography; Index