This is the second installment in the “Get Medieval” series, exploring the historical world of the Middle Ages in Europe, particularly in the 13th and 14th centuries in England, as a potential source for inspiration in D&D and other fantasy role-playing games.
The 13th and early 14th centuries in England saw the rapid development of new urban centers, and the dramatic expansion of the few pre-existing centers of trade. By the year 1300 around 10% to 15% of England’s population lived in an urban environment (some estimates go higher, but are problematic), and there were as many as 75 towns and cities that could boast a population over 2,000. Only a few of these centers for manufacture and trade were true cities, London may have held as many as 80,000 souls, Norwich probably boasted a population around 25,000, and a few other settlements like York had slightly in excess of 10,000 citizens. The vast majority of urban dwellers lived in the 20 or so major towns with populations of between 5,000 and 10,000, or the more than 50 centers with 2,000 to 5,000 inhabitants.
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