My current research (A Crowded Urban Space: Conflict and identity in Norwich 1400-1800) looks at the ways in which the usage and framing of urban space during times of strain changed between 1400 and 1800. To do this, I will compare the spatial aspects of four different events in Norwich. Norwich was chosen due to its topographical constancy: this being the factor against which change is measured.
The first case study is the Gladman procession, a symbolically charged rebellion which acted as the crescendo to a century of tensions between the city and its ecclesiastical neighbours, as well as a ‘vote of no confidence’ by some of the civic elite and the commons in the city’s current ruling faction.
The second case in the thesis is the infamous Kett’s Rebellion, during which a protest against enclosure in nearby Wymondham escalated into an armed insurrection, encamped outside Norwich on Mousehold Heath. The City’s relationship with the outside rebels eventually deteriorated from one of wary amiability into open conflict in the streets and marketplace, but even during the entente, several poorer citizens left the city to join the rebels.
The Third rebellion happened in 1648, during the English Civil War. The governing Aldermen of the city had imposed a number of unpopular measures, including new taxes and the banning of certain traditional celebrations, however when rumours began to circulate that the mayor was to be arrested by coven of a group of aldermen, the citizens assembled in the marketplace, and the meeting soon descended into armed rebellion.
The final case study will be a provision riot in 1766.
Although this research will focus on the changing spatial nature of the protest, it will hopefully also have implications for the changing spatiality of Norwich by examining the City’s spaces in the context of conflict. The project was conceived by James Davis and Carl Griffin. I am supervised by James and Keith Lilley , with Carl acting as a remote supervisor.
My previous research examined the norms of violence on the Anglo-Scottish border in c.16 and early c.17, especially the strict regulations placed on those seeking to remedy wrongs using violent self help.