Records of Medieval Newmarket: Manor Court Rolls 1399-1413 and Manor Account Rolls 1403-1483
Edited and translated by James Davis and Joanne Sear
The Boydell Press
This book offers translations of various court and manorial records from Newmarket, a small town in southeastern England. These records mostly deal with the commercial activities going on in the town – who owes a debt, the rental of shops and stalls, and which merchants were selling their products for too high a price.
The manorial court and account rolls of medieval England are a rich resource for historians of social, economic and local history. Whilst the publication of such records is increasing steadily in number, most relate to rural manors with hardly any for small towns. It is hoped that this full edition and translation of the medieval records of Newmarket will be a valuable addition to the sources for Suffolk and England, especially for those historians who are interested in manorial, urban and market life. We are not aware of a comparable English market town in the early fifteenth century for which such a full record of four different local courts is extant: survivals of market and fair rolls for such places are particularly rare and the large numbers from Newmarket are in themselves exceptional, yet their significance is enhanced both by the collection of manor and leet rolls and by the account rolls.
Who should read this book?
As the authors note, this book is a very useful source for “historians of social, economic and local history.” It does give you a slice of life for a small town in the late Middle Ages, and can you tell much about the economic lives of individuals and their community.
James Davis is a reader in medieval history at Queen’s University Belfast, where he focuses his research on markets and trade in medieval English towns. Click here to view his university webpage.
Joanne Sear is the editor of the Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. She did her Ph.D. Dissertation on ‘Consumption and trade in East Anglian market towns and their hinterlands in the late Middle Ages’ at the University of Cambridge.