Kineton, in Warwickshire, is considered to be a typical example of a medieval urban failure. It was a small planted borough of the thirteenth century, with burgage plots, a market, a shop and a small artisan community. The nascent borough prospered in the fourteenth century, but by the end of the fifteenth century the situation had changed: the number of tenants had fallen dramatically, land was no longer held by burgage tenure, and those who remained no longer practised any crafts but now worked on the land. After little more than 200 years, the small town with its urban economy appears to have faded and been remoulded into a rural settlement with an agricultural economy. Kineton’s later medieval experience is commonly described as ‘failure’. This article will suggest that to describe the metamorphoses of an organism as complex as a medieval town...

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