Assessment: Town/Village Development in the UK

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[. . .] Michael's (12) was located between St. John's Lane and St. Peter's Lane, slightly north of the town's midpoint; St. Peter's (13) was located in the middle of the town, just off Dead Lane; St. Martin's (14), St. Margaret's (15) and Grey Friar's (16) were all located slightly south of the town's midsection, between or around Kirk Gate and St. Francis Lane; St. Mary's (17) was located toward the southwestern area of the town; St. Nicholas' (18) was located in the northwestern area of the town, adjacent to Jewry Wall; St. Clement's (19) was located in the northwestern area of the town, near the Soar River; St. Sepulchre's (20) was located far south, near Cow Gate; Newarke College Church (26) located in the town's southwestern borough of Newarke.

The most famous of all these Churches is St. Nicholas Church:

(St. Nicholas Church, 2011)

St. Nicholas Church was built circa 880 AD by the Anglo Saxons, at least partially from the stones of Roman ruins (Artsin Leicester/shire, n.d.). The Church is adjacent to the Jewry, near the center of Ratae Coritanorium. Prior to the Church's construction, a basilica, temple, open space or exercise ground may have been on the Church's site, but noone is certain. The Church has the Anglo Saxon feature of two small windows in the nave's north wall, with arches made from reused Roman tile following the arches' curves. In addition, the Church's foundation runs west to east, 50" below the current floor and level with the Jewry Wall's arch bases (St. Nicholas Church, 2011).

9. Friars

Medieval Leicester contained two priories: the Austin Friars' Priory (29), located on the western side of the town, near Little Bow Bridge; the Grey Friars' Priory (42), located east of High Street, between St. Francis Lane and Friar Lane. Friars tended to the sick in hospitals and taught in the Free Grammar School (Lambert, A history of Leicester, 2011).

10. Hospitals

Medieval Leicester contained three hospitals: Newarke (24), located in the southwestern borough of Newarke; Wigston's (40), located on St. Francis Lane, to the east of High Street; St. John's (62), located near St. John's Lane at High Street. Medieval hospitals were run by the churches and were manned by the monks (Lambert, A history of Leicester, 2011). Newarke Hospital was founded in 1331 by Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Leicester on 4 acres next to Leicester Castle:

(Leicester City Council, n.d.)

11. School

The Free Grammar School (59) was located in the middle of Medieval Leicester, at the corner of High Street and Dead Lane:

(Geolocation, n.d.)

During the Medieval Age, free grammar schools were established to teach Latin, under the control of the Church. Latin was essential for men to enter religious life or learned professions because Latin was the key to classical learning and medieval scholarship (Salter & Lobel, 1954).

12. Castle Hall, Castle House and Castle Mound

Castle Hall (21), Castle House (22) and Castle Mound (23) are all associated with Leicester Castle:

(Artsin Leicester/shire, n.d.)

Located in Old Town, the original castle was built from timber circa 1070 AD by the British after the Norman Conquest. The mound and ruins of the original castle can still be seen. The second Leicester Castle was built circa 1150, also in Old Town, and reputedly had one of the best Great Halls of the Norman Period. Frontage was added in 1790, obscuring the castle's Medieval structure. The castle compound includes a number of buildings added after the Medieval Ages (Artsin Leicester/shire, n.d.).

13. Mills

Medieval Leicester had four mills, all owned by the Earl: Newarke Mill (32), located in the southwestern borough of Newarke; Castle Mill (33); located near Leicester Castle; North Mill (34), located between two branches of the Soar River near the North Gate; Mary Mill (64), located far south, near Cow Lane (Lambert, A history of Leicester, 2011).

14. Inns

There were four inns serving Medieval Leicester: Blue Boar Inn (36), located in mid-Leicester, at the corner of the Guild Wall and High Street; Green Dragon Inn (48), located near the south wall on Horse Fair Lane; Angel Inn (49), located on the southeastern wall near the Town Ditch; Maiden Head Inn (50), located along Kirk Gate.

15. Other Notable Public Buildings and Structures

a. Jewry Wall

(Artsin Leicester/shire, n.d.)

Jewry wall is the second largest surviving remnant of Roman occupation and is believed to be part of the Roman baths (Leicester City Council, 2012). Currently consisting of a wall section, two arches set in alcoves and a niche separating them, the wall was built of Roman brick circa 125 AD by the construction technique of Opus Mixtum to avoid cracks. Opus Mixtum was a type of architecture used during the time of Hadrian and consisted of using alternating horizontal bands of opus reticulatum and opus latericium (Seindal, 2003). The wall itself is 23 metres long x 8 metres high x 2.5 metres thick and is currently adjacent to St. Nicholas Church at the Jewry Wall Museum, along with some Roman artifacts (Artsin Leicester/shire, n.d.).

b. Leicester Abbey

Leicester Abbey was founded by the 2nd Earl of Leicester, Robert Beaumont, circa 1143, and is constructed primarily of stone. Established as a community for the Order of St. Augustine, the Abbey became one of the most important Augustinian abbeys in England. However, Henry VIII dissolved all Roman Catholic abbeys in 1536 and the structure was gradually demolished by use of its stone for other construction. The abbey is now listed as a "Grade I" building according to the Ruins Form, as its structural foundations are visible and spread out across the current park's lawn (Artsin Leicester/shire, n.d.).

16. Survival of the Townscape

Modern Leicester is making considerable efforts to conserve Leicester's Medieval townscape. As can be seen from the Conservation Area outlined in Leicester City Council's "Map 3," the focus area is within the walls of the Roman settlement and medieval town, and there is "clear evidence of Roman settlement within the conservation area boundary including evidence of substantial Roman buildings" (Leicester City Council, 1999). Also, City Council observed that:

a. Highcross Street, which is the High Street of the Medieval map, still runs north-south through Leicester and has preserved buildings from the Medieval Ages;

b. All Saints' Church has survived and is "the key feature in the townscape of the conservation area;"

c. Highcross Street's gradient and buildings enclose the street and define All Saints' Church's setting and that All Saints' Open allows an important view of the Church;

d. All Saints' Open allows a view of the west front and tower of the Church

e. The churchyard can be glimpsed from Highcross Street and the headstones in the churchyard are an important feature of the townscape (Leicester City Council, 1999).

17. Conclusion

Leicester is the quintessential example of Medieval development through multi-cultural contributions, primarily by the Romans, Anglo Saxons and British. While some aspects of Leicester's Medieval development remain mysterious, both the University of Leicester and the Leicester City Council have uncovered and continue to examine as many aspects of Medieval life as possible, including but not limited to architecture, literature and social constructs of Medieval Leicester. It is hoped that through these efforts, we may learn about and conserve as much of our heritage as possible.

Works Cited

Artsin Leicester/shire. (n.d.). Historic buildings and monuments, from Roman times to 1800. Retrieved from Artsin Leicestershire Web site:

Chaucer, G. (2007). Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Retrieved from Electronic Lierature Foundation Web site:

Geolocation. (n.d.). The Free Grammar School in Leicester, England. Retrieved from Web site:

Google, Inc. (2006, July 2). Leicester, UK. Google Earth (Version 5.1.3533.1731) [Software]. Mountain View, CA, USA: Google, Inc. Retrieved from Google Earth Web site.

Heritage Key. (2011). Virtual Roman Leicester: A digital recreation of Ratae Corieltauvorum 210 AD. Retrieved from Heritage Key Web site: AD

Lambert, T. (2011). A history of Leicester. Retrieved from Local Web site:

Lambert, T. (2011). A timeline of Leicester. Retrieved from Local Histories Web site:

Leicester City Council. (1999). Supplementary planning guidance | All Saints' conservation area. Leicester: Leicester City Council.

Leicester City Council. (2007, November). Market place conservation area: character appraisal. Retrieved from Web site:

Leicester City Council. (2012). Leicester museums & galleries: Jewry wall museum. Retrieved from Web site:

Leicester City Council. (n.d.). A plan of medieval Leicester. Retrieved from Web site:

Leicester City Council. (n.d.). Roman and Medieval gates. Retrieved from Web site:

Leicester City Council. (n.d.). The Newarke. Retrieved from Web site:

Merriam-Webster . (2012). Portcullis - definition and more. Retrieved from Merrium-Webster Web site:

Salter, H.E., & Lobel, M.D. (1954). The grammar schools of the medieval university. In T.U. Oxford, A History of the County of Oxford, vol. 3 (pp. 40-43). Oxford: The University of Oxford Press.

Seindal, R. (2003, August 6). Opus mixtum, architecture. Retrieved from Web site:

St. Nicholas Church. (2011). St. Nicholas Church, Leicester. Retrieved… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Town/Village Development in the UK.  (2012, January 12).  Retrieved May 21, 2019, from

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"Town/Village Development in the UK."  12 January 2012.  Web.  21 May 2019. <>.

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"Town/Village Development in the UK."  January 12, 2012.  Accessed May 21, 2019.