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Residential mobility in seventeenth-century Southwark

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2009


It is nearly two decades since Tony Wrigley first discussed the possible effects that the experience of London life may have had on changing the society of seventeenth-century England. Despite some excellent work on certain aspects of London's social history, however, his qualification still stands: ‘too little is known of the sociological differences between life in London and life in provincial England to afford a clear perception of the impact of London's growth upon the country as a whole’. Among the obstacles to this latter goal are that metropolitan and provincial society are often seen as qualitatively different and, perhaps in consequence, comparisons between the two have not been seriously attempted. What is needed is a model which might serve to embrace the experiences of both urban and rural inhabitants within a common framework.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1986

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1 Wrigley, E. A., ‘A simple model of London's importance in changing English society and economy 1650–1750’, Past and Present, XXXVII (1967), 50.Google Scholar For some of the best and most recent work on London see Power, M., ‘Shadwell: the development of a London suburban community in the seventeenth century’, London J., IV (1978), 2946CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Burke, P., ‘Popular culture in seventeenth-century London’, London J., III (1977), 143–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Pearl, Valerie, ‘Social policy in early modern London’, in History and Imagination: essays in honour of H. R. Trevor-Roper, ed. Pearl, Valerie, Lloyd-Jones, H. and Worden, B. (1981), 115–31Google Scholar; Rappaport, S.,’ ‘Social structure and mobility in sixteenth-century London: Part 1’, London J., IX, 2 (1983), 107–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ashton, R., ‘Popular entertainment and social control in later Elizabethan and Early Stuart London’, London J., IX, 1 (1983), 319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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9 Burke, P., ‘Some reflections on the pre-industrial city’, Urban History Yearbook (1975), 19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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11 Cited in Finlay, R., Population and Metropolis (1981), 77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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14 See Boulton, J., ‘The social and economic structure of early seventeenth-century Southwark’ (Ph.D. thesis, University of Cambridge, 1983), 58–9.Google Scholar

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16 Ibid., 15, 21–43, 180–4.

17 For the pre-industrial suburb as a staging post, see Clark, P., ‘The migrant in Kentish towns 1580–1640’, in Crisis and Order in English Towns 1500–1700, ed. Clark, P. and Slack, P. (1972), 141–2Google Scholar; Roy, I. and Porter, S., ‘The social and economic structure of an early modern suburb: the tything at Worcester’, Bull. Inst. Historical Research, LIII, 128 (1980), 203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar For the ‘revolving door’ notion of temporary migration see Souden, D., ‘Pre-industrial English local migration fields’ (Ph.D.thesis, University of Cambridge, 1981), 146Google Scholar; Hibberd, Deborah J., ‘Urban inequalities. Social geography and demography in seventeenth-century York’ (Ph.D.thesis, University of Liverpool, 1981), 442.Google Scholar

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21 The aliens are listed separately in R.E.G., and Kirk, E. F. (eds), Returns of Aliens in the City and Suburbs of London from Henry VIII to James I, Huguenot Society Pubs, x (1907), 3, 218–29.Google Scholar For the 1618 Boroughside token book see GLRO P92/SAV/207.

22 The known positions of large buildings, such as inns and breweries, also helped to establish the relative positions of households. For this ‘standard procedure’, see Carter, H., ‘The map in urban history’, Urban History Yearbook (1979), 1920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar For methodological problems encountered in studies of nineteenth-century cities, see Lawton, R., ‘Mobility in nineteenth-century British cities’, Geographical J., CXLV (1979), 213–14.Google Scholar

23 In 1622 35.3 per cent of all householders in the sample contributed to the poor rate compared to a figure of 30.9 per cent for the whole district: Boulton, , ‘Seventeenth-century Southwark’, 113, 223.Google Scholar

24 For this point see Smith, S. R., ‘The London apprentices as seventeenth-century adolescents’, Past and Present, LXI (1973), 149–61.Google Scholar See also Finlay, op. cit., 77; Glass, D. V., ‘Notes on the demography of London at the end of the seventeenth century’, in Population and Social Change, ed. Glass, D. V. and Revells, R. (1972), 281–2.Google Scholar

25 A 1618 survey of the Boroughside poor listed only householders and their families. Poor relief accounts record payments only to householders, see GLRO P92/SAV/1465, 1400. For the role of the householder in London see Pearl, , ‘Social policy’, 123Google Scholar; Pearl, Valerie, ‘Change and stability in seventeenth-century London’, London J., v (1979), 1518Google Scholar; Dingle, A. M., ‘The role of the householder in early Stuart London c. 1603–1630’ (M. Phil, thesis, University of London, 1974)Google Scholar, passim.

26 For the patriarchal authority of the household head see, for example, Smith, S. R., ‘The ideal and the reality: apprentice-master relationships in seventeenth-century London’, History of Education Quarterly, XXI (winter 1981), 449–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Greaves, R. L., Society and Religion in Elizabethan England (Minneapolis, 1981), 291326.Google Scholar

27 See the 1631 population survey included in the token book of the same year, GLRO P92/SAV/219. For studies of household size in pre-industrial towns and cities see Goose, N., ‘Household size and structure in early Stuart Cambridge’, Social History, v, 3 (1980), 363–4Google Scholar; P., and Clark, Jennifer, ‘The social economy of the Canterbury suburbs: the evidence of the census of 1563’, in Studies in Modern Kentish History, ed. Detsicas, A. and Yates, N. (1983), 6970Google Scholar; Wall, R., ‘Regional and temporal variations in English household structure from 1650’, Regional Aspects of British Population Growth, ed. Hobcraft, J. and Rees, P. (1979), 103Google Scholar; Phythian-Adams, C., Desolation of a City (1979), 246.Google Scholar

28 Following the precedent set by studies of nineteenth-century mobility it was felt that persistence should be measured over a ten-year period. See Pooley, C., ‘Residential mobility in the Victorian city’, Trans. Inst. British Geographers, n.s., IV, 2 (1979), 259–61Google Scholar; Lawton, op. cit., 221.

29 In addition to manuscript material already cited the following Boroughside token books were used: GLRO P92/SAV/198(1608), 199(1609), 200(1610), 201(1612), 203(1614), 205(1616), 207(1618), 208(1619), 211(1622), 213(1624), 215(1626), 217(1628), 221(1632), 223(1633), 224(1634), 227(1635), 229(1637), 233(1640), 234(1643).

30 Pooley, op. cit., 265. If widows remaining in the same dwelling are also counted as persistent, then after ten years 28 per cent of the 1608 sample of householders would still have been occupying the same dwelling.

31 Boulton, , ‘Seventeenth-century Southwark’, 229.Google Scholar

32 For the claim that changes in surname hid considerable dynastic stability in a small district of pre-industrial Oxford, see Prior, Mary, ‘Fisher Row. The Oxford community of fishermen, bargemen and canal boatmen 1500–1800’ (Ph.D.thesis, University of Oxford, 1977), 6, 11, 101, 259.Google Scholar

33 This 1617 tax resembled a subsidy assessment: GLRO P92/SAV/1310.

34 For the burial register of St Saviour's, Southwark, see GLRO P92/SAV/3002, 3003.

35 The persistence of householders by wealth between 1618 and 1608 was as follows: after ten years 41 out of 228 (18 per cent) of those not taxed in 1617 were still resident in the same dwelling compared to 34 out of 85 (40 per cent) of those who contributed. Nineteenth-century studies trace households forwards in time, Pooley, op. cit., 260.

36 Ibid., 265–8; Lawton, op. cit., 220; Ward, D., ‘Environs and neighbours in the “Two Nations”, residential differentiation in mid-nineteenth-century Leeds’, J. Historical Geography, VI, 2 (1980), 155–8.Google Scholar

37 Pooley, op. cit., 267; Lawton, op. cit., 220; Boulton, , ‘Seventeenth-century Southwark’, 251–70.Google Scholar

38 Lupton, D., London and the Country Carbonadoed (1632), 112–13.Google Scholar For housing tenure in the Boroughside see Boulton, , ‘Seventeenth-century Southwark’, 199217.Google Scholar

39 Lawton, op. cit., 220; Pooley, op. cit., 272; Dennes and Daniels, op. cit., 10.

40 GLRO P92/SAV/406. For the circumstances surrounding its composition see Caldin, W. and Raine, H., ‘The plague of 1625 and the story of John Boston, Parish clark of St Saviour's, Southwark’, Trans. London and Middlesex Archaeological Soc., XXIII (1971), 90–9.Google Scholar

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42 The 1622 index was used to build up individual biographies of all householders resident in 1622, see Boulton, , ‘Seventeenth-century Southwark’, 48.Google Scholar The 1624 index was intended to form the basis of a study of the impact of the 1625 plague epidemic.

43 Ward, op cit., 157; Pooley, op. cit., 274; Lawton, op. cit., 220; Anderson, M., Family Structure in Nineteenth-Century Lancashire (1971), 41–2Google Scholar; Dennes and Daniels, op. cit., 9–13.

44 See Laslett, P., ‘Clayworth and Cogenhoe’, in Family Life and Illicit Love in Earlier Generations, ed. Laslett, P. (1977), 50101Google Scholar; Prest, W. R., ‘Stability and change in Old and New England, Clayworth and Dedham’, J. Interdisciplinary History, VI, 3 (1976), 359–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Wrightson and Levine, op. cit., 80–1.

45 Laslett, op. cit., 99; Finlay, op. cit., 46.

46 Schofield, R. S., ‘Age-specific mobility in an eighteenth-century rural English parish’, Annales de Démographie Historique (1970), 263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

47 Prest, op. cit., 361; Schofield, op. cit., 264; Souden, op. cit., 26, 137.

48 Memoranda in 1636 token book, GLRO P92/SAV/228.

49 GLRO P92/SAV/1423, 211. See Raine, H., ‘Christopher Fawcett against the inmates’, Surrey Archaeological Collections, VI (1969), 7985.Google Scholar

50 Boulton, , ‘Seventeenth-century Southwark’, 249.Google Scholar

51 Finlay, op. cit., 45–7.

52 Reddaway, T. F., ‘Elizabethan London—Goldsmith's Row in Cheapside, 1558–1645’, Guildhall Miscellany, II, 5 (1963), 181–4, 192206.Google Scholar

53 For street life in pre-industrial cities see Phythian-Adams, op. cit., 166–8; Dyer, A., The City of Worcester in the Sixteenth Century (1973), 177.Google Scholar

54 In nineteenth-century Washington only one-third of household heads resident in a sample of alleys were still resident in those places five years later, see Bourchet, J., ‘Urban neighbourhood and community: informal group life, 1850–1970’, J. Interdisciplinary History, XI, 4 (1981), 621.Google Scholar

55 Boulton, , ‘Seventeenth-century Southwark’, 245.Google Scholar

56 GLRO Archdeaconry of Surrey, Will Register 151 Yeast, 23 Harding.

57 Pooley, op. cit., 274.

58 For a modest beginning see Boulton, , ‘Seventeenth-century Southwark’, 271361.Google Scholar Residential mobility of the sort described here has also been identified by Derek Keene from his detailed reconstruction of property in Cheapside; see Keene, D., ‘A new study of London before the Great Fire’, Urban History Yearbook (1984), 17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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