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YorkThe Making of a City 1068-1350$
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Sarah Rees Jones

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780198201946

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198201946.001.0001

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Householders, Civic Society, and Civic Government

Householders, Civic Society, and Civic Government

(p.186) 6 Householders, Civic Society, and Civic Government

Sarah Rees Jones

Oxford University Press

This chapter assesses the growth of civic society through a focus firstly on the property interests of those who rose to positions of prominence in civic government and secondly on the development of the city’s own institutions and their dependence on the growth of a corporately owned and managed estate. Although there was considerable change in the institutions of civic government between 1190 and 1350, there were also underlying continuities in the importance of the ownership of domestic property. Urban manors lost most of their jurisdictional authority but remained important as physical sites of power in the landscape. Civic bureaucracy developed under the aegis of both crown and church but the development of a civic estate that gave it financial autonomy from royal government depended on the civic government taking on responsibilities for cultural and welfare institutions in the city based initially on popular enthusiasm for the cults of saints. While rhetorically the ambition of civic government was to serve the common good before private interest, by 1300 civic politics were far from harmonious. Conflict over the control of civic government was closely tied up with the regulation of food markets in the city, and resulted in conflicts between victuallers and others, as was the case in so many other European towns around this period.

Keywords:   civic government, civic society, civic bureaucracy, civic finances, cults of saints, urban trade, urban conflict

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