This thesis examines critically the corporation of Stamford, from the granting of its Charter of Incorporation in 1461/2 to 1649, a period extended in specific instances to approximately 1750.\ud \ud The emphasis of Section I, 1461/2-1558, is upon a comparative study of Stanford corporation and other similar bodies elsewhere; that of Section II, 1549-1649 (1674 in certain matters) is upon the interrelationship between the corporation as a legal entity and those individuals and authorities who were involved with it, namely; the burgesses and town dwellers of Stamford on the one hand; the county, aristrocracy, crown and parliament on the other. Section III concludes a number of issues still outstanding in 1649. In each section, an analysis is made of the powers derived from the royal charters sealed during the period.\ud \ud The bye-laws enacted by the corporation are examined, together with its administrative and ceremonial procedures. Challenges to the [sanctity] of the freeman's oath are interpreted. An appraisal is made of the many problems which beset the corporation: the poverty of the town, the visitations of the plague, the influx of foreigners, the need for new industries, difficulties in making the river Welland navigable.\ud \ud The trade structure of the town is looked at in detail by making comparative analyses of the occupations of freemen for the two centuries 1475-1574, 1575-1674. Their surnames are analysed with a view to determining the relative proportions of those burgesses who belonged to well established dynasties and those who were migrants.\ud The length of service by burgesses in the first and second companies is calculated to ascertain the stability of the ruling oligarchy.\ud \ud Through the medium of wills and inventories, a look is taken at the private lives of some of the town's principal tradesmen.\ud \ud In short, this thesis seeks to illumine with the help of contemporary material, the working of the corporation and the lives of the tradesmen of the borough of Stamford over a period of two, and in particular instances, three centuries
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