Derek Keene


In the context of an assessment of the role of metalworking and the trade in metals in pre-modem society, and of their contribution to the fortunes of towns, the paper outlines the social, economic and spatial characteristics of the meta! trades in medieval (c. 1000-1500) London, especially with a view to assisting the interpretation of the rich material evidence from the city. Emphasis is placed on the significance of markets, rather than simply the availability of raw materials, in determining the pattem of metalworking trades (both retailing and manufacturing) within London, and in providing the opportunity for the city to establish itself as a centre of national, and at times international, standing. The relative wealth and status of different categories of meta! workers and dealers are explained. Regulations offer insights into the technologies used. Discussion of quality control, the reputation of London products, and of the need to distinguish them from items made elsewhere leads to an explanation of the use of marks. The interdependence of different manual skills, retailing, and mercantile activity, together with the problems of environmental pollution, explain the organisational structure of the meta! trades and their distribution within the city. The flow of raw metals from elsewhere in Britain and from overseas to London is described. The reasons for London 's high reputation in certain metalworking trades, and for the city's loss of business at the end of the period, are discussed.


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How to Cite
Metalworking in Medieval London: an Historical Survey. (2022). Historical Metallurgy, 30(2), 95-102.