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Market Towns

1122 of 1170 nominations


Market Towns

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Market Towns

Market towns have been heaven for shoppers since mediaeval times. Bigger than villages but smaller than cities, market towns were the hubs of rural England where the local communities would meet together to gossip, hire labour and, of course, shop! You can sometimes tell a market town by its name: Market Harborough, for example, or Chipping Norton (“chipping” is the Anglo-Saxon word for “to buy”). Historic buildings often make these towns very attractive places to live and visit; you can still see the wide main streets and squares which held the stalls for the farmers and tradesmen bringing their goods into town. In some the market crosses also survive; these were the centre point of the town, designed to give God’s blessing to the trading. With the resurgence of interest in local produce and speciality shopping, market towns are once again becoming the most desirable places to shop. Now, though, you are as likely to find flea markets, speciality delicatessens or ceramic fairs filling the stalls on market day.

In November 2005, Hexham in Northumberland (pictured) was named England's favourite market town.

Photo: Hexham Tourist Information Centre / Tynedale Council


Your comments

They are being destroyed through lack of recognition and over-development

Martin Bastone

Let's put a stop to the property developer ruining the unique character of our market towns by building their" little boxes all the same" in every one !!
Mrs R A London



I think the National Gallery is part of the heritage of England