The Medieval City

Medieval Cities and their relations with Religion and Trade. In this reflective piece, there will be a breakdown of how the growth of cities was influence by Trading and religion. We will see how much of the church influence the architecture of this time and how the size of buildings and cities showed the power and wealth of the city itself. We will also discuss how the Trading also destroyed some towns. We will discuss how in this era, more focus was on the church as in the construction of cathedrals.


Looking back at the Medieval Times, It was around the time when the Roman Empire fell and so I think it was a time where persons were trying to pick up the pieces of their civilization and try to create a sort of structure. And this is probably what led to the Trades and Religion dominating this era. More focus was on the church, the large churches and cathedrals were built from used Roman Stone and bricks that were taken from Roman Buildings which brought about the term Romanesque when referring to these cathedrals. So I can say the Church played a big part in the architecture aspect of that time. And As time progress, there became new design concepts which was Gothic Style which used Rib Vaults, Flying Buttresses, Stained windows, Pointed Arches which I believe is just an adaption of the Romanesque Style and it was just an effort to beautify the Cathedrals and make them look grand; as in those times it would be a sign of wealth and power. The trading and influence of the church in the Medieval times is similar to trading today. The trading of the Medieval, really had a big part in the growth on cities such as London, which had the Hanseatic Trading group, such as Trading in today really determines how powerful a country is; based on goods it is importing and exporting. As I said before in the Middle Ages, big building was seen as having power, authority and wealth. This was the same method used by other professionals in the middle ages such as guilds. It can also been seen in towns like Venice, London and Genoa, the trading determined how they built, as there would be walls or fort like walls guarding towns and cities with only selected entrances into the city to allow the trading of goods. And along with every town and city, a cathedral was built, which I think was done to exercise a sort of control on the community.

The Baltic Brothers

The steelyard (stablbof) which was a walled settlement in Thames was a remanence of Germany within England which was where the English Headquarters for a Germany Trading Alliance by the name of The Hanseatic League led by Lubeck and Hamburg. This was one of the most powerful trading groups within London which was ran by Germans. This trading alliance had goods that was shipped from North Sea and the Baltic, to London, to Bergen, Riga and Parts of Russia as well. But along with the trading of goods was also the trading of ideas and new talks of religion which brought about the importing of forbidden bibles into London which were illegal at the time. As England and the Netherlands expanded their trades with the Americas and began using different routes, their began a decline in cities associated with Hanseatic trading group as they could not compete with Atlantic routes. Most of the deterioration of the Hanseatic Trading Group was due to lack of structure. And from this piece of reading, I can say that the formation of these cities were from the Trading and the association due to the advantage of trading between them.

Ludlow was a border town. Ludlow intended use was to be a fort. Ludlow lies between Wales and Birmingham. The town walls had gates running around the town, which was the only ways of entering and exiting the town. Ludlow remains a town stuck in time, meaning the town remains the same as it was in the past in relation to the road patterns and open spaces and even some of the buildings. In the middle of Ludlow is a market place where persons sold, buy and trade goods.

Another town with similar area plan as Ludlow is London in the 1400’s. It was also walled, with gates running around the area, which was the only entrances into and out of London at the time. London was never designed as a city, it has grown over time. We can say London is a city of layers as it has grown over the decades. It has grown to become a city. London can be divided into two, Westminster and the City of London. Westminster, became a place of power, worship and business. The other side of River Thames became a place where there was theatre, pleasure gardens and basically a lawless area. In some way Ludlow and London in the 1400’s are similar in terms of the wall that surrounded their town but they are different, as in London grew to become a city as with Ludlow, it did not.

From the pointed arch associated with most medieval buildings, the reason for this is that this was the most convenient form for the vaulting ribs in cathedrals associated with buttress construction as well. This was a necessity with windows and pier arches; or it would not fit well in the wall spaces under the wall ribs of the vaults. As time moved on, so did the sizes of windows. Windows such as the decorated with a pointed arch with multiple ribs and carvings of mature foliage and was also stained with colours to give a heightening and enrichment of colour as light came through them.

Gent- Belfroi, this was a clock guild, used by professionals for the sale of clocks. This building was a big building but had no reason to be. The building was mainly built to a large scale because the size of the building in the 1400’s represented wealth and status.

The Parvis- Notre Dame and The Lincoln Cathedral shows how these buildings were built in regards of space availability. These are religious areas where space were considered for vast numbers of persons that would be visiting.



Neil MacGregor,(2014), “Germany: memories of a nation”, Allen Lane, London

Alfred Dwight Foster Hamlin, (1896), “History of Architecture”, DOGMA, Bremen, Desutshland

Koenigsberger, H. G, (1987), “Medieval Europe 400-1500”, Longman,London

error: Content is protected !!