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Writing Local History$
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John Beckett

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780719029509

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719029509.001.0001

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The parish and the town

The parish and the town

Chapter:
(p.53) IV The parish and the town
Source:
Writing Local History
Author(s):

John Beckett

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719029509.003.0004

This chapter describes the parish and the town. If the county was the preferred unit of study, the parish increasingly came to be viewed as the practical limit of most scholars and, following loosely from this, it was only a short step towards discussion of the town as a separate place. Studies of towns inevitably began with London, particularly the great survey published by Stow at the end of the sixteenth century. No other towns were in the same league in terms of size and status, but it is no surprise to find histories being compiled of cathedral towns and some of the larger provincial towns. The business of writing such histories really took off with the expansion of the new industrial towns, as a group of historian-commentators produced detailed histories of Manchester and Birmingham, Nottingham and Leicester, and smaller centres such as Hinckley. These studies were important not just as histories, but for the contemporary comment and description they included.

Keywords:   London, industrial towns, historian-commentators, cathedral towns, provincial towns

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