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The Town House in Medieval and Early Modern Bristol

Front cover for The Town House in Medieval and Early Modern Bristol

Hardback by Roger H Leech


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This study, covering the period c.1000 to c.1800 AD, is of the medieval and early modern houses of Bristol, England's second city in the later middle ages and again in the 18th century. Based partly on the survey of surviving early buildings, the study also makes extensive use of documentary evidence and records of houses now demolished to analyse how town houses reveal the social structure and aspirations of Bristol's citizens in this period.

The development of the town and city in the medieval and the early modern period is examined, then aspects of life on the urban tenement plot. The principal house types of the medieval period are fully explored, showing the aspirations and separate identity of the urban elite in the largest of such houses. Changes to existing houses and the emergence of socially distinct neighbourhoods all serve to underline differences in life style and status. Similar houses in North America and the West Indies underline Bristol's pre-eminent position as a commercial city on the Atlantic rim in the 17th and 18th centuries.

This book demonstrates the possibilities for using documentary and physical evidence to reconstruct the fabric of a city and the social character of its different parts. Particularly important is the development of a new way of looking at medieval and early modern urban housing, focusing specifically on the relationships between different building types and changes in building forms, both of which reveal the complex character of an evolving commercial city.


  1. Introduction
  2. The Saxon and medieval town
  3. Developers -The early modern city
  4. The urban tenement plot in the medieval city
  5. The Hallhouse
  6. The Shophouse
  7. The complexities of commerce
  8. The residential house
  9. The garden house
  10. Spaces and changes
  11. The company of the town
  12. Bristol and the Atlantic world
  13. Town Houses - Merchant Capitalism and the Streets of Bristol

Additional Information

  • Printed Price: £100.00
  • Series: Archaeology
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Format: Hardback
  • Physical Size: 276 x 219 mm
  • Pages: 452
  • Illustration: 550, Colour and b&w
  • Product Code: 51533
  • ISBN: 9781848020535


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Bristol Town House

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • Nos.35-6 High Street, front elevation, 1931
  • Nos.1-5 King Street, symmetrically designed houses of the 1600s, photographed of the later 19th century
  • Doorway in Leonard Lane, dating from the 15th century, now blocked, but formerly providing rear assess to no.10 Small Street
  • Nos.97-8 Redcliff Street, Canynge’s house open hall of late 14th or early 15th century
  • John Langton’s house at no.12 Welsh Back, first floor, chimneypiece in the forestreet chamber. Photograph c1906
  • Nos.6-7 Christmas Steps, two houses of the 15th or 16th century refronted in brick in the late 18th or early 19th century. Photograph 2010
  • Nos.10-12 Guinea Street, photograph of 1998
  • Redcliff Parade view from the north, photograph of 2003
  • The Red Lodge, the great parlour on the first floor, photograph of 2003
  • Hanham Court, the house belonging to Sir Henry Creswick in 1668, photograph of 1942
  • Royal Fort House, the stone stairs, photograph of 2003
  • Goldney House,Clifton, the water pump tower, photograph of 2011

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