Why did people want more towns in the Middle Ages?

People specialised more and more in different crafts and trades. They needed to get together in towns to buy and sell their goods. Some Lords of the Manor turned their villages into towns: they got permission to hold markets and charged the traders rent for the plots of land around the market place. Towns were the obvious place for law court sessions to be held, and for the king’s main officer, the sheriff, to meet people.

Did they start any new towns in the Quantocks?

Nether Stowey got its market in 1222. They also tried to turn Crowcombe into a town, with a market, but it wasn’t very successful. Bicknoller was laid out as a new village (not a town) in the 13th century. It replaced two smaller separate settlements called Newton and Woolston.

  • In towns, like Nether Stowey, people all wanted their land to front onto the market.  This is why the houses are squashed together.
  • This is Crowcombe’s medieval market cross, which show it was once a town.