The Restoration Town

  • Peter Borsay
Part of the Problems in Focus Series book series (PFS)


Recent decades have witnessed a research boom into the history of the early modern English town. A subject which in many respects was uncharted territory in the early 1970s, before the publication in 1972 of the path-breaking Crisis and Order in English Towns 1500–1700,1 now has the character of a map the broad contours of which have been sketched in, although in which there are still obvious lacunae, and there is much scope for detailed infilling. The volume of research, and an early focus on synthesis — on viewing towns generically rather than individually2 — has ensured that the town has emerged as a distinct (if not independent) variable in the period’s history as a whole. This chapter will survey the findings of this new work as it relates to the Restoration town (1660-c. 1688).


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  1. Urban historians tend to work across broad rather than narrow chronologies, so there are no specific studies of the Restoration town. The best starting points are P. Clark and P. Slack’s influential and admirably concise English Towns in Transition 1500–1700 (London, 1976); and J. Barry (ed.), The Tudor and Stuart Town: A Reader in English Urban History 1530–1688 (Harlow, 1990), which contains a valuable introduction, and reprints several key essays with a critical commentary. Other surveys of the early modern town can be found inGoogle Scholar
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© P. Borsay 1997

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  • Peter Borsay

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