chapter  1
17 Pages


Most of the social and economic history which appears in town histories is inclined to be scrappy and disconnected and to lack any major themes. Something has already been said about the materials for composing a picture of the occupational structure of a town and of the methods involved in this kind of enquiry. Within this broad framework the urban historian is in a position to study the facts of economic growth and change in his own community. In large towns it is usually possible to build up a reasonably accurate picture of the way the townspeople earned their living by studying the register of freemen which sometimes gives the occupations of the men admitted to the freedom. Northampton and Leicester were smaller towns at this time but even they had sixty or more distinct occupations.