Medieval Southwark

Front Cover
Hambledon Press, 1996 - History - 351 pages
Southwark, situated directly opposite the City of London at the southern end of London Bridge, was London's first suburb. In most modern accounts of medieval London, Southwark figures merely as a minor but colourful adjunct of the City: the home of Chaucer's Tabard Inn, of the notorious Bankside brothels, of the Marshalsea and King's Bench prisons, and later of the theatres, including Shakespeare's Globe. To the Londoners of its own day, however, medieval Southwark was not a quaint bohemian district but an unruly enclave of undesirable industries and residents, a commercial rival, an administrative anachronism, and a perpetual jurisdictional affront. Martha Carlin examines the urban development of Southwark from its Roman origins to the mid sixteenth century. She traces in detail Southwark's transformation from a semi-rural straggle of dwellings into a densely-inhabited community displaying such characteristically urban features as a diversified economy, a stratified and heterogeneous society, an excess of rubbish, and a traffic problem. Concentrating on the period from 1200 to 1550, for which documentary evidence is most abundant, Medieval Southwark reconstructs Southwark's evolution over the centuries, analysing the borough's topographical development, its manorial administration and religious institutions, its demographic patterns and economic structure, its stormy relationship with London, and its long process of urbanisation. This book is an important contribution to the study of medieval urban history.

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Roman and Saxon Southwark I
Topographical Development
Religious Institutions

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