Database shows diverse past
The surprisingly diverse heritage of our medieval ancestors can now be explored on the web following the creation of a new database.
Launched in February, England’s Immigrants ( englandsimmigrants. com) provides the names of more than 64,000 foreign persons who travelled to live in the country, covering every single county between 1330 and 1550.
Compiled from an array of archival sources, an impressive 14,500 people are recorded in 1440 alone, despite England having a total population of just two million at the time.
The free resource also carries information regarding occupations, revealing trends within immigrant groups, such as Flemish weavers and French servants who were brought back to England after the Hundred Years War.
The database is the result of a project spearheaded by the University of York in partnership with the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield and The National Archives.
“The England’s Immigrants project transforms our understanding of the way that English people and foreign nationals, of all levels of society, lived and worked together in the era of the Plantagenets and early Tudors,” said the University of York’s Professor Mark Ormrod, who led the project.
“It provides a deep historical context for modern debates about the movement of peoples and the state’s responsibilities to regulate immigration.”