Spaces and Places (of shopping in the early modern era)

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


In 1573 Isabella Whitney, a woman of genteel birth from Cheshire who like so many of her female contemporaries had left north-west England to become a servant in London, produced a poem in which she mourned being forced to leave the metropolis. Written in the form of a will and elegiac in tone, Whitney provided a list of what she had ‘left to London’, including details of the extensive range of retailers which were to be found within the walls of the medieval city. These included butchers “that every day shall kill”; “brewers store and bakers at your will”; mercers “with silk so rich as any would desire”; and goldsmiths “with jewels such as are for ladies meet”. The mercers and goldsmiths, Whitney told her readers, were based in Cheapside, and she expounded on where other goods might be purchased too, noting that woollens might be bought in Watling Street and Candlewick Street; linens in Friday Street; hose in Burchin Lane; “boots, shoes or pantables” in St Martin’s; and beds in Cornhill, while tailors were to be found in Bow. “In many places, shops are full” observed Isabella, reassuring her readers with the promise that ‘I left you nothing scant”. (Whitney [1573] 2000: 13-15).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Cultural History of Shopping in the Early Modern Era
EditorsTim Reinke-Williams
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameA Cultural History of Shopping
PublisherBloomsbury Academic


  • Shopping
  • early modern history
  • social history
  • economic history
  • cultural history


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