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Markets and Fairs in Britain and Ireland before 1216(1216年前英国的市场与集市研究)

(2009-08-16 08:36:00)


分类: 中古西欧


The growth of trade, both over longer and shorter distances, is a central theme of studies in the social history of early medieval Europe, in which both archaeological and documentary evidence have come together. So far, however, little opportunity has been taken of the fact that Britain and Ireland present some fine opportunities for comparative study because of their diversity of experience.(1) The two most reliable criteria for such comparison, given the sparse documentation available for most of the territory under consideration, are both archaeological, namely the distribution of urban settlements and the extent to which money was in circulation. But the interpretation of this evidence is, of course, greatly helped by documenary evidence, particularly that of Domesday Book and a large number of extant charters.

At the time when Domesday Book was compiled in 1086, the regional differences were striking. Southern England (meaning here, and subsequently, England south of the Humber) was one of the most heavily monetised regions of western Europe.(2) There were 46 English mints in operation on the eve of the Norman Conquest during King Harold's short reign, all of which were south of the Humber except for the one at York.(3) The regularity of some monetary circulation, even for small households, is confirmed by what we know of English institutions. From 1021 onwards English kings levied geld, a national tax paid in coin through most of the kingdom and assessed on free peasant households as well as on those of their lords. In addition, money was frequently owed from ordinary peasant householders in rent and other dues payable to landlords. The numbers of such tenants owing cash rents, often called censarii, were greater than the Domesday text would imply.(4) By implication money was circulating into ordinary village households throughout the part of the kingdom assessed in 1086.

This southern part of was also a region of boroughs and markets, and it is reaonable to guess at some functional relationship here. Domesday Book records 112 boroughs and a further 39 places with markets.(5) Many of these were very small communities in which rural characteristics outweighed urban ones, but some of them, at least, had markets that operated much like markets known to thirteenth-century lawyers. They had a definite location, a definite time in the week, and a definite attachment to some territorial lordship. For example, the bishop of Thetford () complained that before the Norman Conquest he had had a market that was held each Saturday. But since then a powerful local Norman lord, William Malet, had built a castle at Eye () and had set up another Saturday market there. The bishop had tried to cut his losses by moving his market to a Friday, but it had suffered from the competition of William Malet's market and was now worth little.(6) Such markets are of particular interest because of their implications for the frequency and regularity of exchanges. We know from later legislation, and from other records, that weekly markets, were chiefly important for supplying small households with their common necessities.(7)

The information in Domesday Book is coherent in representing the world of southern as one where both money and trading institutions were numerous. But this complex of monetary and trading institutions was in fact characteristic of only a small part of and . Many parts of and were also without money. Neither nor had native currencies, and even English coins were not extensively used.(8) Silver was used for some transactions of major importance. Though the use of silver increased in south-eastern Wales in the tenth and eleventh centuries, it was not a regular feature of local transactions, and was predominantly measured by weight rather than by accounting values.(9) The development of trade had encouraged a localised minting of silver in the Irish Sea region. There was a mint in from about 997, and another on the from the 1030s. However, local life had not been commercialised as much as in southern . Monetary circulation was restricted to the eastern and other parts of the area. Even in archaeologists report that coin finds are uncommon, and very few Irish coins reached or .(10) Parts of , notably in the north and west which had been drawn into the Viking trading world, retained silver in the form of arm-rings, known as ring money. But such a currency was more a store of value than a means of exchange. It seems that ring money was used as a currency, and it is probably for this reason that Scottish silver arm rings occur in hoards from the Isle of Man. Nevertheless the large amount of silver contained in a single arm-ring clearly made this form of currency quite unsuitable for everyday household requirements.(11) The Scottish economy managed with very little money until the 1140s.(12)

Without markets or money, taxation and the levying of money rent were alike impossible, and the dues owed to superior lordship had to be payed in service or in goods. The king of Scotland received the income from his estates chiefly in the form of conveth and cain, which were traditional rents in kind.(13) The tributes due to the Gaelic lords of Ireland were similar, and remained so all through the Middle Ages.(14) In the shires of Scotland and northern England, which were the characteristic units of lordship, the peasants owed light labour services and more substantial renders of grain, malt, poultry and cattle.(15) Seigniorial institutions in Wales were essentially similar. The countryside was divided into rural districts each of which owed food tributes to its lord, called gwestfau. The native princes toured round the countryside collecting dues owed to them in food, and exacting the right to be billeted by their subjects.(16)

The same contrast between southern and the rest of the and is to be observed when we turn to examine commercial institutions. Both historians and archaeologists of regions beyond the reach of the Domesday Survey are unanimous that town life barely existed in the eleventh century.(17) In northern England we can mention York, the only significant centre of urban life. A market may have existed at Durham in 1040, but the only reference to its existence as early as this comes from Symeon of Durham writing in the early twelfth century.(18) Elsewhere, though archaeologists may risk speaking of proto-urban points of trade there is nothing that rates being described as urban, even by the very generous standards of medievalists.(19) In Wales there may have been some urban development at Monmouth.(20) In town life was confined to the old Viking ports and some minor monastic centres. The Vikings had established the ports of Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork and Limerick on the Irish coast, and these were later developed as urban settlements on the pattern of the early tenth-century towns of Wessex and Mercia in England.(21) In all these non-monetised regions only a few peddlars were wholly dependent upon trade for their livelihood.(22) Such occupational specialisation as can be identified was almost entirely in agriculture.(23)

Over a century later, in 1200, many areas of and were still without institutions of regular trade. In Wales urban developments were restricted to the border with England and to the southern coastal plain.(24) In Scotland the area of commercial growth was the lower-lying territory of the south and the east coast.(25) The few Irish boroughs were, not surprisingly, restricted to the area of Anglo-Norman control between Cork and Limerick in the south, Drogheda and Kells in the north. There was no urban development in the west or in what is now . The more urbanised area probably mark the limits of the monetisation of local economies in the twelfth century. However between 1066 and 1200 there had been a considerable spacial expansion in the area of Britain and Ireland in which money and formal market centres were to be found, most strikingly in northern England, though Wales, Scotland and Ireland were all afftected too.


The enjoyed commercial expansion through much of the twelfth century, as the growing volume of currency suggests. The coinage in circulation is estimated at £25,000 on average in the eleventh century, at £ 1180 and at £300,000 or more in 1218.(26) This development was accompanied by a marked expansion of the monetised zone of Britain and . King William II was able to take £ year from the bishopric of when it was in his hands in the years 1096-9. By 1128-9, when the bishopric was again in the king's hands, the income was about £ year.(27) Similar development was evident in varying degrees in , and . In the south-east of that money rents first started to replace rents in labour and kind after 1140. By the end of the twelfth century money was used for a wide range of rural transactions, including the renting of mills, fisheries and saltings and the leasing of ecclesiastical tithes, though this was chiefly south of the River Tay.(28) By 1178 King William the Lion was claiming the right to levy geld on land throughout Scotland, and the expansion of royal cash income justified the institution of an annual exchequer audit soon after this.(29) David I of Scotland started to mint coins about 1136, following his annexation of Cumberland at the height of the first great northern boom in silver-mining.(30) In much of Wales cattle and the products of pasture farming were characteristicaly used instead of coin.(31) In some regions the monetisation of rents is in evidence, probably in exchange for cattle, hides and wool.(32) Rents formerly paid in flour and cheese on the estates of the bishopric of St David's in south-eastern Wales had been converted to cash by the early thirteenth century.(33) There was little coinage struck in Wales before 1200, though English coins were at Cardiff, St David's and Rhuddlan in Wales during the reign of William II.(34) We are inadequately informed about the use of money in Ireland at the end of the twelfth century, but there was an Irish exchequer in 1200, and King John was able to draw money revenues from the boroughs, from his demesne lands and from feudal dues.(35) Anglo-Norman mints were established at Dublin about 1185 and at Waterford and Limerick after 1195, though none of these mints struck anything larger than a halfpenny.(36)

Increasing monetised trade was closely associated with the multiplication of trading institutions, boroughs and markets, of a sort hitherto associated with southern . Professor Beresford, in particular, has compiled the evidence for urban development in England and Wales, and conjectures that between 1066 and 1200 there were 91 new towns in England and Wales.(37) In Scotland there were about 32 boroughs by 1216.(38) In Ireland we know of 14 new boroughs before 1200 of which 12 occur with urban features in later records.(39) In the four most northern counties of England about 50 new markets and boroughs transformed the commercial economy between 1066 and 1216.(40) It is characteristic of twelfth-century expansion that 'boroughs' are very much more in evidence than 'markets'; the relative preponderance in the records does not shift before the earliest charter rolls in 1199. We cannot be sure that in every case a new borough was envisaged as a centre of trade or that it had a market. In a colonial context burgus could simply mean a settlement of colonists holding land on favourable terms. Some early Irish boroughs, like Killaloe and Swords, never acquired urban features, and we cannot be sure that their foundation was intended to have any implications for the organisation of trade.(41) However, the layout of many of the new centres implies the existence of a central market place. And there are numerous instances in these areas of new development where the existence of a market place can be verified from the eleventh or twelfth centuries. In the case of Newport (Monmouthshire) and Newport (Pembrokeshire) the very name implies a new trading centre.(42) The new borough of Cardiff had a market, and we have some unusually detailed information about the tolls taken in cash there in the twelfth century.(43) It was at Cardiff in 1172 that King Henry II was subjected to a tirade from a rustic prophet against buying and selling on Sundays.(44) We hear of the borough and market of Oswestry together in the final decade of the twelfth century, when William FitzAlan gave special protection to burgesses who had taken up messuages for the improvement of the market there.(45) In northern England every single borough known from this period is known to have had a markets place by the fourtenth century, and in this period boroughs seem universally to have been market towns.(46) In the case of Scotland's twelfth-century boroughs, which were not primarily designed to attract settlers, a market was essential to their very existence.(47)

Whether these new markets were invariably held weekly, or more or less frequently, is more than we can say in most cases, but there are a number of examples that were and it is likely that this was a normal part of the recurrent pattern of expanding local trade. Markets were usually associated with resident communities, whose residents would need to buy regular supplies of food and raw materials. In northern we know of Norton market licensed in 1109 to be held on a Sunday.(48) In Scotland, at least, borough markets were held weekly from early in their history. There was an appointed market day at the king's market of Roxburgh about the year 1171, and we know of a Thursday market at Glasgow, a Saturday market at Arbroath, and a Sunday market at Brechin.(49) There seems to be no clear evidence from Wales or Ireland as early as this, but it may be of significance that borough courts of law in Ireland seem to have met weekly in many of the early Irish boroughs.(50) The market at Cardigan was confirmed as a weekly Saturday event in 1227 by Henry III, and that probably means that its weekly character was well established.(51)


To judge from its institutional forms, the commercialisation of society in this period, Marc Bloch's 'second feudal age', was inseparable from developments in the exercise of power. Kings of England had long shown an interest in the formation of boroughs, and to some extent in their commercial regulation. The greater boroughs were mostly royal. Some new boroughs were deliberately developed by the crown for financial or strategic reasons. On the eastern Scottish march the borough of Newcastle upon Tyne was built up from about 1080 following the construction of the castle from which it took its name.(52) It rapidly became one of the biggest trading towns in northern . On the western march, was captured from its independent ruler by William II in 1092 and developed as a frontier stronghold against the Scots. Burgesses were recorded there in 1130.(53) In the enterprise of the Scottish crown was an important component of the scene. As in , the main urban centres developed as royal boroughs.(54) Indeed, most of the boroughs recorded before 1200 were in the royal demesne.(55) Many of the lesser boroughs were the product of baronial enterprise, such as those of Warkworth, Kendal and Richmond.(56)

The association of trading communities with royal or seigniorial head manors, often beside castles, was a common feature of Norman colonisation in northern , and . Indeed, so common is the combination of Anglo-Norman castle and borough that it should surely be considered a cultural formula. This does not mean by any means that every baronial castle had an attached borough or that every borough had an attached castle, because there were many circumstances which dictated the one without the other. But, especially in regions of colonisation the combination was so common that the sight of the one prompts a search for the other. Of the 29 boroughs in the four northern counties probably founded by 1200, 17 were by castles, of which two were royal castles,(57) two were castles of the bishop of Durham,(58) and thirteen others were the castles of secular lords.(59) A similar pattern may be observed in south-western England in the same period.(60) In areas of more violent colonisation the link between boroughs and castles was stronger; of the 29 new Welsh towns of the late eleventh and twelfth centuries listed by Professor Beresford, 24 were associated with new castles.(61) The feudal nature of trading institutions in much of the newly developing parts of British Isles meant that new markets and boroughs were often related more to the feudal geography of baronial honors than to any existing interests of traders. In southern Ireland Theobald Walter, the founder of the family (d. 1205), chose to divide his enormous lordship into four administrative regions each with a manor at its centre, and he planned an urban settlement at each of these centres. One of these was the land-locked manor of Nenagh, which had clearly not been selected for any particular excellence of communications.(62)

There were several reasons for the recurrent association of new trading communities with castles, particularly in a colonial context. Markets required protection, regulation and supervision if they were to attract trade and render tolls to a lord. It was as well to have them at the castle gate, where estate officers could exercise the necessary vigilance over them and ensure that any market tolls due to the lord were collected. In regions where money was relatively scarce, estate officers liked to be able to intercept tenants at the point where they made their sales in order to ensure that the payment of rent had first call on any cash they managed to collect together. In addition, castles were collecting places for produce from their lord's estate, and if there was a surplus it might be desirable to sell some of it. A market community close at hand was advantageous in this respect too.

The colonial nature of market communities was another reason for the need for royal or seigniorial protection. Outside , lords often depended upon immigrants to colonise their new foundations. The foundation of the Welsh boroughs was a principal aspect of the westwards migration that Prof Davies describes as 'the second tidal wave of Anglo-Saxon or English colonization' from the late eleventh century.(63) It was perhaps this association of borough life with immigrants that prompted Gerald of Wales to report in the 1190s that 'the Welsh do not live in towns, villages or castles ... they pay no attention to commerce, shipping or industry'.(64) In Ireland the populations of the new boroughs were almost entirely immigrants from England and Wales.(65) A similar colonial significance is to be found even in Scotland. William of Newburgh said that 'the towns and boroughs of the Scottish realm are known to be inhabited by English', and he was right in implying that the new boroughs of the twelfth century were exceptionally dependent upon foreign immigrants to Scotland.(66) New boroughs throughout Britain and Ireland also attracted a number of Flemish immigrants.(67)

The common pattern of castles, borough and immigrants that we have been observing is attributable to an aggressive Anglo-Norman culture which was extending into new territory partly by violent means. The new nobility had particular reasons for wanting its revenues in the form of cash, since unless it was to be resident in the areas of new colonisation there was little chance of turning its new gained wealth to any account. It must surely be supposed that one of the first questions that a Norman landlord asked himself on acquiring land in a non-monetised region was how to monetise it. This conclusion raises some questions interesting for the interpretation of medieval commercial growth. The expansion of urban life looks very much like the application of a formula by a new ruling class. So it comes naturally to ask whether in some sense, or to some extent, the application of this formula under Norman rule caused the expansion of trade. Usually the growth of trade is treated as something governed by general economic causes, and not requiring to be referred to particular types of decision or to particular cultural traditions. The foundation of markets and fairs by landlords is treated as a response to the growth of trade rather than as a cause. In the developments we have been discussing, however, ths idea is called into question. Is it likely that local commerce was developing in so many different parts of and just in time for the expansion of Anglo-Norman lordship to reap the benefits? Was it just good luck that a more urbanised economy was developing in northern as the region was absorbed effectively under Norman rule?

There was, of course, nothing distinctively about the development of local trade. was at least as commercially developed as at the time of the Norman Conquest, and the monetary system under the Anglo-Saxon kings was as sophisticated as any in . But if the expansion of trade depended upon very ditinctive institutions, then there may be more to be said in favour of a distinctively impact. The twelfth-century colonial world we have been describing was in two, respects very . Firstly, the expansive drive that took castles to , and the North was much more striking a characteristic of Norman culture than of English. Since it it just this capacity of Anglo-Norman culture to expand that concerns us, there is no good reason to abandon the idea that this culture was a significant element in the picture. Secondly, the castles we have been discussing were themesleves a characteristic of Norman rather than Anglo-Saxon society. The few castles that already existed in England in 1066 had been founded by Norman or French lords favoured by King Edward the Confessor.(68) These two arguments are by themselves enough to suggest that trade followed the banner.


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