posted 09-13-2004 04:24 AM
Many towns and castles had very strong links and dependencies. Townsfolk would provide services and manpower to the castle - which in return would provide protection.
In many instances, the Baron would also often be the person controlling the town's castle. It was in his interest for trade to take place in the environs of his castle - amongst other things it enable him to control what was going on, and even more importantly, collect rents and taxes, both for himself, the church and the crown as applicable. It also made the business of victualling the castle rather easier.
Most early markets and fairs in the UK were established by the grant of a royal charter.
Typically they were, "granted by the Crown as a reward to barons and landowners for services rendered to the Sovereign. The grant of a Royal Charter to a landowner was of great value as the landowner was allowed to charge rents and tolls to those sellers attending the markets and, most importantly, it gave protection to the holder of the charter from disturbance by other market operators. This protection still exists as, under common law, the holder of a market charter is entitled to take action against any rival market operator who opens a market or attempts to open a market within 6 and 2/3 miles of its charter market."
Quote from: http://www.warrington.gov.uk/entertainment/heritage/market.htm
For a wonderful site on mediaeval town history, which includes several towns such as York and Colchester (towns which had markets within their defensive walls) take a look at:
For a bibliography about mediaeval fairs and market places: http://www.the-orb.net/wales/mtib/mtb08.htm
Here is a list and description of all market towns in England and Wales to 1516: http://www.history.ac.uk/cmh/gaz/gazweb2.html
Markets before 1216: http://www.dur.ac.uk/r.h.britnell/articles/Earlymarkets.htm
Hope this gets you started.
[This message has been edited by Levan (edited 09-13-2004).]