Development in Britain

By the middle of the 13th century many towns had been established in England. Most of them had received "charters of freedom" from the various kings, beginning in the 12th century. These royal charters granted freedom from feudal rule and they gave economic privileges, like exemption from tolls and the right to hold market and fairs. In the way the towns, or boroughs, had their own courts, could raise their own taxes and organise their own trade; middle class economy began to develop.

The economic and social system was controlled by the trade and craft guilds. These associations of men in the same branch first appeared in the 12th century and reached their greatest power in the 14th and 15rh centuries. During the Middle Ages, England's resources came primarily from its land: growing corn, producing fairy goods, and tending sheep which produced the finest wool in Europe. The greatest landowner was the king , followed by a small number of lay magnets, bishops and the monasteries. Possessions of land was the basis of the political and social influencer is the aristocracy as well s the gentry's fortunes.

By the middle is the 14th century this farming prosperity was nearly over, and landowners concentrated on rearing sheep, which requires less labour than farming. Soon the English learnt how to make cloth from Flemish weavers and the cloth trade prospered. As a result in the later 15th century large sections of farmland especially in the north and west became sheep pastures, this beginning the phenomenon of the "enclosure of land", which would become so important in future centuries with the Industrial Revolution.

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