Lowestoft, 1550-1750

Lowestoft, 1550-1750

Development and Change in a Suffolk Coastal Town

David Butcher


Hardback out of stock

Boydell Press



A detailed history of the town of Lowestoft, its society, economy, and topography.
`A superbly researched study.... An excellent addition not only to the history of Suffolk but of early modern society and economy more generally.' Professor RICHARD SMITH, University of Cambridge.

Lowestoft has grown from a small urban community to become Suffolk's second largest town; and this book provides a vivid picture of the town and its inhabitants during the early modern period. Making full use of surviving documentation, in particular the parish registers, it begins with an overview of Lowestoft's medieval history, then proceeds to investigate topographical development, demographic features, occupational structure, social geography, house-building and interior décor, wealth and inheritance, maritime pursuits, agriculture, local government, education and literacy, religious affiliation, and urban identity. Wherever possible, the town is set into a national and European context, and its maritime nature fully brought out.

DAVID BUTCHER is a retired Lowestoft schoolteacher and lecturer in Local History topics for the Continuing Studies Dept. at the University of East Anglia.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781846156588), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


July 2008
24 black and white, 6 line illustrations
368 pages
24.8x17.1 cm
ISBN: 9781843833901
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

Origins and Influences
Topographical Features of the Town
Historical Demography
Occupation and the Local Economy
Housing, Population and Social Geography
House Design and Interior Arrangements
Wealth, Credit and Inheritance
Fishing and Maritime Trade
Agriculture and Allied Industries
Parochial and Manorial Administration
Literacy, Education and Religious Belief
Urban Status and Identity


The book certainly lives up to the aims of the series. On a wider plane, social and economic historians will find plenty to interest them, especially those who specialise in smaller towns. [...] The Boydell Press should also be congratulated on producing a handsome volume, and readers will be struck by Lowestoft's good fortune in having such fine images of its early history. The book will be used not only by local historians, but also by academics attracted by this absorbing case-study, and by the thoroughness of its tireless historian. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
A richly detailed and ambitious study. [...] As a result of its wider perspective, and the impressive research on which it rests, this study presents a convincing and coherent view of a local maritime community. Provides a detailed survey of the changing fortunes and structures of community life, which examines in a careful and nuanced way the relationship between sea and land and the contribution it made to the fashioning of an urban identity. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MARITIME HISTORY
A well-documented account of how a Suffolk seaside settlement in 1550 emerged as a thriving port and small town by 1750. [...] The Boydell Press has done an excellent job. [...] This is an essential book for all urban historians and indeed for all early modernists. It is also a good tool for family historians. CEAS NEWSLETTER
An obvious labor of love by a longtime resident and schoolmaster, is likely to remain the standard account of this town's social and economic, if not political, history in the era at hand. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES
The documentation is impeccable and comprehensive [.] a model of its kind. THE LOCAL HISTORIAN
A thorough and deeply researched study. SUFFOLK LOCAL HISTORY COUNCIL NEWSLETTER

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