Medieval Lowestoft

Medieval Lowestoft

The Origins and Growth of a Suffolk Coastal Community

David Butcher


Boydell Press



A history of the development of Lowestoft from its origins to the flourishing medieval town it became.
"A superb piece of local history". Professor Mark Bailey, University of East Anglia.

Lowestoft became an increasingly important Suffolk town during the later middle ages. This book traces its history from its Anglo-Saxon origins up until its fully recognisable urban nature in the first half of the sixteenth century. During that time, notable changes occurred in its social, economic and topographical structure, all of which are investigated here; the picture which emerges is one of small beginnings which eventually led (following the township's relocation to a new site) to a position of local pre-eminence.
Two important elements in Lowestoft's overall development were its surface geology and coastal location, and due account is taken of these influences. So is its comparative freedom from outside interference in its affairs by having a far-distant, absentee manorial lord. Added to these factors was proximity to the port of Great Yarmouth, whose late medieval difficulties (access to the harbour and effective control of local waters) were very much to Lowestoft's advantage in developing its own maritime activity. From being a mere outlier to the Lothingland hub-manor at the time of Domesday, the town gradually became not only a notable coastal station in local terms, but one which was directly connected with various ports on the continent of Western Europe. For a community of only moderate size, it had broad and wide-ranging associations. Particular attention is paid to the town's magnificent church, and to its fishing industry.

David Butcher is a retired Lowestoft schoolteacher and former lecturer in the Continuing Studies Department at the University of East Anglia. He has published widely on the local history of the Lowestoft area.


26 black and white, 7 line illustrations
388 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9781783271498, November 2016
eBook, 9781782048558, November 2016
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, HIS015000
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Table of Contents

The Settlement's Roots
Post-Domesday Developments
Relocation of the Township
Fishing and Associated Activities
Misdemeanour and Mishap in Kirkley Roads
St. Margaret's Parish Church
The Early-Mid Sixteenth Century Community
Appendix 1: Name analysis of the Lowestoft Hundred Roll Tenants (1274-5)
Appendix 2: Suffolk's Top 25 Townships (1524-5 Lay Subsidy)
Appendix 3: The Lowestoft Manorial Chief Tenements
Appendix 4: Sixteenth Century Merchant Fleet Details
Appendix 5: Fairs and Markets in Lothingland and Lowestoft
Appendix 6: Local Place-Name Derivation
Glossary of Medieval Terms



Thoroughly recommended. MEDIEVAL ARCHAEOLOGY

The work is sensitive to topography and landscape and so has relevance for archaeologists and geographers as well as those interested in urban history and medieval maritime commerce. presents a detailed picture of life and trade within a medieval coastal town. It will also appeal to the general reader on account of Butcher's ability to pick out areas of historic interest within the modern town. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

[T]his book will serve as a useful reference point, both for local readers interested in the history of their town, and for academic researchers who wish to probe further into the coastal settlements of Lothingland during the Middle Ages. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

Highlights how little is known, places what is known into a context and, most importantly, provides a strong basis for future research by both historians and archaeologists. CENTRE OF EAST ANGLIAN STUDIES NEWSLETTER

Excellent...It ticks all the boxes of good local history, and provides a solid monograph-length case study of a medieval small town. ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW

Should be read by everyone interested in the development of medieval towns, in the fishing industry and oversees trade, and in the history of Suffolk. FAMILY AND COMMUNITY HISTORICAL RESEARCH SOCIETY NEWSLETTER

A meticulous and engaging book. THE RICARDIAN

lt really should be read by all who are interested in the history of Suffolk and its coast. SUFFOLK LOCAL HISTORY COUNCIL NEWSLETTER

This is a story which stretches way beyond a small corner of Suffolk. EASTERN DAILY PRESS

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