Book Series The Medieval Countryside, vol. 11

Town and Country in Medieval North Western Europe

Dynamic Interactions

Alexis Wilkin, John Naylor, Derek Keene, A.J.A. Bijsterveld (eds)

  • Pages: 323 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:16 b/w, 9 tables b/w., 24 maps
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2015

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53387-2
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54256-0
  • E-book
  • Available

A decisive contribution to the study of the evolving relationships between Town and Countryside in the Middle Ages.


“The ambition of this book is impressive (…) every individual contribution offers high-quality research and has a scientific value in its own right (…) this book is a very valuable contribution to stimulate these types of discussions.” (Bries Tys, in Reviews, Landscape History, 37:1, 2016, p. 111-112)

“Each of the substantive articles is excellently researched and attractively presented. As a collection they work well, sharing themes and generally supporting one another’s conclusions. This is a fine contribution to the growing literature on town-country links in medieval northwestern Europe.” (David Nicholas, in Mediaevistik, 29, 2016, p. 371)

“(…) the book presents much to stimulate thought and a great deal of fascinating data. Most importantly, the various essays emphasize the importance of interdisciplinarity. This book should be read by historians and archaeologists alike, practitioners within the common field of the medieval environment. (Brian Ayers, in History: The Journal of Historical Association, 2017, p. 121)

"Die Beiträge, die für sich sämtlich ein hohes Niveau besitzen, sich dann aber doch eher in den klassischen Kategorien bewegen, ermöglichen in ihrer Gesamtschau einen vergleichenden überregionalen Überblick." (Niels Petersen, in: Historische Zeitschrift 304, 2017, p. 764-766)

"Alles in allem handelt es sich um ein äußerst gelungenes, sehr gut lesbares Buch, das vor allem für die historisch-archäologische komparatistische Zusammenarbeit viele weiterführende Denkanstöße liefert und zur Ausdehnung derartiger Projekte auf weitere geografische Räume Anlass geben sollte." (Gisela Naegle, on: [])


This volume explores the relationships and interactions between medieval urban populations and their rural counterparts across north western Europe from the seventh to sixteenth centuries. This theme has become increasingly fragmented in recent decades, resulting in scholars being largely unaware of developments outside their own areas. The present volume brings together historians and archaeologists in order to highlight the varied ways in which town–country interactions can be considered, from perspectives that include economy, politics, natural environment, material culture, and settlement hierarchy. As a whole, the papers offer innovative interdisciplinary perspectives on the topic that create a new platform from which to understand more fully the complex, bilateral relationships in which both urban and rural spheres were able to influence and challenge each other. Contributions are wide-ranging, from the activities of elite, aristocratic groups in and around individual towns, to large-scale surveys covering wide areas. With coverage from the North Sea to the western Baltic, the book will be relevant to a range of disciplines including archaeology, history, and geography, and is aimed towards both advanced students and established scholars.



Introduction: Dynamic Interactions: Developing a Unified Approach to Urban-Rural Interaction — ALEXIS WILKIN and JOHN NAYLOR

PART I: Social, Economic and Environmental Changes Developing and Renegotiating Urban-Rural Interactions

Urban-Rural Interactions in East Anglia: The Evidence from Zooarchaeology — PAM J. CRABTREE

Central Place and Periphery in Early and High Medieval North-Eastern German Territory — FELIX BIERMANN

Early Town Formation in the Northern Low Countries: Roman Heritage, Carolingian Impulses, and a New Take-Off in the Twelfth Century — ARNOUD-JAN BIJSTERVELD and FRANS THEUWS

London and the Thames Estuary in the Later Middle Ages: Economic and Environmental Change — JIM GALLOWAY

Networks of Towns - Networks of Periphery? The Relations between the Hanseatic Medieval Town and its Hinterland — ULRICH MÜLLER

Part II: Noblemen and Entrepreneurs Mediating and Affecting Urban-Rural Relations

‘Other Cities have Citizens, London’s are called Barons’: Connections between London and Essex during the Magna Carta Civil War (1215-17) — T. K. MOORE

Castles, Towns and Villages: An Archaeological and Historical Approach to Askanian Settlement Policy in Medieval Brandenburg — CHRISTOPH KRAUSKOPF

Noble Representation in an Urban society: The Case of Holland in the Fifteenth Century — ANTHEUN JANSE

Urban Land Ownership and Rural Estates: The Case of Three Scandinavian Medieval Towns — GEIR ATLE ERSLAND

Urban Elites and Traditional Lords in Brussels (Twelfth-Fourteenth Centuries): Opposition or Convergence? — PAULO CHARRUADAS

Conclusion: ‘Dynamic Interactions: Where do we go from here?’ — PETER STABEL