a1 University of Leicester
The thesis of ‘urban decline’ in the late Middle Ages has been largely based on changes within incorporated boroughs. Loughborough was a small town in Leicestershire, closely involved in intra-regional exchange between three different farming regions. By the late fourteenth century, if not before, its central precinct had a definite urban form, including a specialized marketing form. Indicators (such as demographic estimates, litigation, and property-holding) suggest that the town did not suffer any substantial decline in the late Middle Ages. Structural changes in the countrysides, with a greater emphasis on specialization of production, may have maintained the town as a centre of exchange and consumption.