Cities and towns are places of movement and mingling, coming and going, settling down and moving on, and they always have been. The fluid dynamics of urban life have long fascinated artists and preoccupied people in power.
This is an important and valuable book. Many works of economic history include the word ‘Wales’ in a sub title or index but relatively few have engaged with the relatively sparse sources and unfamiliar context (to most English historians) of the royal shires—the north and west—and Marcher lordships—the south and east—that characterise Wales after the conquests of Edward I.
It is hard to review this book without lapsing into the language of academic letters of recommendation: it is brilliant, illuminating. The genre is the Anglo-American 'book of the thesis’. This genre contrasts with that of first books from young German and French scholars in that the author has taken years to revise his 2015 Harvard thesis thoroughly.