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Growth and Decline in Colchester, 1300-1525
ISBN 0521305721 / 9780521305723 / 0-521-30572-1
Publisher Cambridge University Press
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This is a study of one of England's principal cloth towns during the late Middle Ages. It draws extensively upon unpublished records in Colchester and elsewhere, and is the first history of a medieval English town to analyse in conjunction the relationships between overseas trade, urban development and changes in rural society. First it describes Colchester in the earlier fourteenth century, its trade, its agricultural setting and its form of government. The book then shows how cloth-making grew in Colchester after the Black Death and how the population increased until about 1414. The implications of this for the government of the borough and for the town's role in the local economy are discussed. The last section shows that Colchester's growth was not sustained through the fifteenth century, and examines some of the causal links between economic contraction, institutional change in the borough and agrarian depression in the surrounding countryside. [via]