The geographical origins and mobility of the inhabitants of Southampton, 1400-1600
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Migration, which is becoming the most important branch of demography is the central theme of this thesis. The introduction covers the sources and methods employed and surveys the political and economic milieu in which Southampton developed between 1400 and 1600. The demographic fluctuations in the town at the period are charted and set in the context of other towns. Southampton did not grow in the early modern period by natural increase but through immigration. Study of mid-19th-century censuses has been undertaken in England but pre-industrial migration remains largely uncharted although scholars have studied individual sources such as consistory court deposition books or freemen's rolls. The originality of this thesis lies in its multi-source approach to the study of migration. The investigation of a single town enables the careers of the immigrants to be traced to see how they progressed. The two central sections of the thesis examines the origins and mobility of various groups in Southampton during the 15th and 16th centuries - royal officials, mayors, HPs, burgesses, non-burgesses and the poor. Three lists, for 1454, 1524 and 1585, have been analysed by nominal record linkage. These lists provide 'snapshots' of society and provide a basis for discussion of topics not mentioned elsewhere such as the origins and connections of property owners in 1454. The 1524 discussion examines Southampton society by wealth group and the 1585 muster provides an opportunity for discussion of apprenticeship and occupational patronage, the passing of skills from masters to servants, who were often immigrants. The fourth section deals with overseas immigrants to the town. An Italian became mayor in the 15th century and foreigners penetrated town society at all levels, bringing new skills to the town such as glazing and the manufacture of the 'new draperies'. Channel Islanders also migrated to Southampton, being identified in all walks of life from mayors to paupers. The study concludes that immigration and emigration were of great importance to the life of the town between 1400 and 1600, and that with patronage, or money, outsiders were welcomed into town society: indeed town dynasties were rare. An estimated 50% of the population of renaissance Southampton were immigrants who not only swelled its numbers but also provided new capital and ideas. This novel attempt to tackle the formerly intractable problem of migration within an urban community provides a methodological framework for future studies.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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