Markets and fairs in thirteenth-century England

Map showing density of places with markets in 1300

The early development of markets and fairs is an issue of central significance in economic history and historical geography. The network of legally established markets and fairs in medieval England, almost all of them authorised by royal grant, was dense, highly developed and apparently originated earlier than in much of Europe. The already complex marketing network of England was supplemented during the thirteenth century by a great increase in the number of grants of markets and fairs.


The project examines the reasons for this increase, taking account of political and institutional factors as well as the economic ones which have dominated discussion in the past. Why these rights were granted, whether the markets and fairs were successful and how they were managed as part of a portfolio of lordly resources are central topics. The project builds upon the Centre's  Gazetteer of markets and fairs in England and Wales to 1516



S. Letters, ‘Markets and fairs in medieval England: a new resource’, Thirteenth Century England IX (2003), 209-23; and  E.M. Jamroziak, The Networks of Markets and Networks of Patronage in the 13th century England, in M. Prestwich, R. Britnell, R. Frame (ed.) Thirteenth Century England, X (Boydell and Brewer, 2005), 41-9.

 Data from the project can be downloaded from the School of Advanced Study’s e-repository, SAS Space: or from the UK Data Service: Markets and Fairs in Thirteenth-Century England Data Collection, 900-1516, S. Letters, D. Keene, E. Jamroziak, Study number 4969



CMH Annual Reports 1999-2000, 2000-2, 2002-3, 2003-4, End of Award report (ESRC)

Project details

Researchers: Samantha Letters, B.A., Ph.D. (to 15 July 2002); Emilia Jamroziak, B.A., Ph.D. (from 1 September 2002)
Funded by: ESRC (Ref: R000239108) (1 November 2000-15 March 2004)
Amount Awarded: £138,739