The Birth of a Borough

December 2010
4 colour, 137 black and white illustrations
194 pages
28x21.7 cm
ISBN: 9780851156231
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press

The Birth of a Borough

An Archaeological Study of Anglo-Saxon Stafford

Martin Carver

out of stock

Reports of archaeological investigations into Stafford dramatically reveal the pattern of development of our county towns.
The majority of our county towns, and the shires themselves, owe their origins to the campaigns of Alfred and his children Edward the Elder and Aethelflaeda, Lady of the Mercians, in the late 9th and early 10th centuries. Stafford is one such town, and the large-scale archaeological examinations undertaken there over the last fifty years have provided an extraordinary, unique opportunity to piece together the history of such a "typical" town. A centre for the delivery of grain tribute during the Dark Ages, it was commandeered in the tenth century by Aethelflaeda in order to construct a burh there. This new foundation was a fort, provided with a vicus in which the centralised production of Roman-style pottery ("Stafford Ware") was undertaken and supplied to the chain of west midlands burhs.
The case of Stafford has prompted a new review of the origins of county towns as a whole, and the composition of a new model for the birth of the Anglo-Saxon borough on which the local administration of England has ever since been based.

Martin Carver is Professor Emeritus of Archaeology at the University of York.

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Table of Contents

Digging up Stafford: Evaluation and Design
Seven windows on Early Stafford. The principal investigations
Æthelflæd's town
Aftermath: Norman and Medieval Stafford
Anglo-Saxon Stafford in context
Appendix: Digest of Evidence


This is an important book in a number of ways. Carver has achieved his aim of using archaeology to write history. MEDIEVAL SETTLEMENT RESEARCH, no. 28, 2013

[T]he study provides a valuable summary of an important campaign of excavation. THE LOCAL HISTORIAN

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