Lincoln c. 850-1100 : a study in economic and urban growth

Lincoln c. 850-1100 : a study in economic and urban growth

By David Cliff

PhD Dissertation, University of Huddersfield, 1984

Abstract: The dissertation investigates the increasing number and complexity of towns between c. 850 and c. 1100, through the detailed study of Lincoln in this period. Utilising archaeological and documentary evidence to trace the multifaceted nature of early medieval towns, it confirms that economic change was the principal cause of urban growth. Pottery and coin evidence shed some light upon the progress and nature of economic development.

The role of a significant elite centre or an elite-founded wic are both disputed in considering the origins of urban Lincoln. The questioning of the importance of these reinforces the view that the Vikings had a considerable impact on the development of Lincoln. The nature of their role was to create a small concentration of population, which then served as a focus for the economic growth already underway in the rural economy; which the Great Army must have initially disrupted.

The key role of Viking rulers or West Saxon kings in the later economic and urban development at Lincoln is disputed. Instead the thesis considers that subsequent topographical and economic change is mostly attributable to urban elites in Lincoln rather than to distant political figures. Many of these developments were utilised by Viking and West Saxon rulers but they were not influential in creating them. Once established Lincoln’s development seems to have been most pronounced in the tenth century, with urban status rapidly attained.

Lincoln had an impact on the surrounding area through trade, and tenurial links can also be identified in the late eleventh century. Lincoln did not however dominate the surrounding area, although it may have brought about greater landholding complexity and influenced the composition of the surrounding rural populace.

Click here to read this thesis from the University of Huddersfield

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