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Title: Cambridge and its economic region, 1450-1560
Author: Lee, John Stephen
ISNI:       0000 0000 4989 2880
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis examines the relationship between a town and its region in the late medieval period. The population, wealth, trade, and markets of Cambridge and its region are studied, as are the nature and extent of changes which occurred between 1450 and 1560, a period traditionally viewed as one of economic and social transition. Taxation records of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries are used to analyse the population and wealth of Cambridge and its region. Rates of growth varied noticeably between different towns, sub-regions and parishes within the county. The trade of the town and its hinterland is shown through the purchases made by the Cambridge colleges and other institutions. The university expanded considerably during the fifteenth century and a number of new colleges were founded. Patterns of credit highlight the extent of London marketing networks, and demand from the capital appears to have stimulated the development of the malt barley and saffron trades in the region during the later fifteenth century. The markets and fairs of Cambridge and its region are explored, including the location of surviving markets and the regulation of marketing activity. Stourbridge fair, a major trading event held on the outskirts of Cambridge, grew significantly in this period, and the buyers and sellers who used this fair are examined. The purchases of King’s Hall and King’s College show the supply of food and fuel to the town, revealing the area of supply, the status and wealth of suppliers, and the prices of wheat over the period. Finally, the land and labour markets in the town are explored briefly, focusing on the property owned by Cambridge Corporation, and the impact of college building projects. This work concludes by highlighting particular factors which influenced the development of Cambridge and its region, including the university’s expansion, Stourbridge fair, and London trading links, while pointing to the limited extent of economic development generally over the 1450-1560 period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral