The later pre-Conquest boroughs and their defences
Radford, C.A. Ralegh
Medieval Archaeology, Vol.14 (1970)
For nearly two centuries before the Norman Conquest the burh, or defensible centre of population, is often mentioned in contemporary documents. The typical burhof the eleventh century was plainly an artificial creation in which men of different lords lived together . . . taking advantage of such opportunities of trade as the conditions of their time afforded. They formed a body from which a local garrison could immediately be drawn in time of need, and their predecessors had played a very important part in the defence of the land during the Danish invasions of the ninth and tenth centuries. There is in fact good reason to believe that the origin of the burh as a permanent feature of a national scheme of defence belongs to the reign of King Alfred.’ This passage from the late Sir Frank Stenton’s Anglo-Saxon England» provides the historical setting for the present paper, which attempts to bring together some of the results of recent research into the archaeological problems connected with the Anglo-Saxon burhs, or, to use the more modern form, boroughs.