Beverley stood high among the provincial towns of medieval England, with the great minster church and the college of St. John. Linked with the port of Hull and the Humber by a canalized beck and the navigable river Hull, it had a thriving trade in cloth and wool. Around the town lay large common pastures which are still a prominent feature of the landscape, and beyond the borough half a dozen townships were within the liberties of Beverley. The decline of trade in the 15th century and the suppression of the college in 1548 reduced the town's prosperity, and its role in the 16th and 17th centuries was little more than that of a market town. The 16th century, however, brought freedom from the lordship of the archbishop and eventually full self-government with the granting of a charter of incorporation in 1573. From the late 17th century Beverley became the administrative and social centre of the East Riding. A wealth of Georgian buildings still bears witness to its renewed prosperity. Industry expanded and diversified in the 19th century, and ironworks, mills, tanneries, and shipyards provided employment. Beverley was designated as the county town of the East Riding in 1892, and it became the administrative centre of the county of Humberside created in 1974 and of the district later known as the East Yorkshire Borough of Beverley, albeit with the loss to the town of its ancient borough status. Industrial decline in the later 20th century was partly balanced by development as a residential area and as a centre for tourism. Meanwhile the appearance of Beverley was being transformed: an outer bypass and inner relief roads changed old patterns, and the building of new houses went on in and around the town.