Drogheda and its World in the Middle Ages

Meath Archaeological and Historical Society would like to announce a lecture  Drogheda and its World in the Middle Ages. This is the next Meath Archaeological and Historical Society lecture to be held on Wednesday 4th December in the Millmount Museum, Drogheda.

The lecture will commence at 7.30pm. Take note that this is earlier than our normal time for lectures.

The establishment of new towns was one of the most important developments in European history in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. As the population grew, and with it trade and commerce, kings and lords saw the potential of urban centres to add to their wealth and power.

The English conquest of Ireland after 1170 was accompanied by the foundation of hundreds of new towns, but none of these proved as prosperous or successful as Drogheda. From the start it was linked in to an economic system that embraced not only both sides of the Irish Sea, but also the lands of the kings of England in south west France. Initially the town was populated by migrants from the west of England, and by the middle of the thirteenth century was sufficiently busy to sustain both a Dominican and a Franciscan friary. From the 1290s onwards its importance to the kings of England grew as it served as a point of supply for their campaigns to conquer Scotland. Drogheda shipping carried not only soldiers from Ireland, but also the grain grown in the town's rich hinterland. Drogheda grew rich on such trade, and its merchants ventured further afield in search of new opportunities for trade. Its ruling families sought to emulate the lavish lifestyles of urban oligarchs elsewhere in western Europe, not least by patronising the many churches and religious houses with which the town was filled.

As English power in Ireland shrank, Drogheda's importance became more obvious to those who sought to rule the country, and the voice of the townsmen in national affairs became louder.

The speaker is Dr Brendan Smith (Head of the Graduate School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Bristol). The talk is held in association with the Old Drogheda Society and all are welcome.

  • Old Drogheda Society - History, Archaeology & Heritage - Millmount, Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland. Tel. 041-9833097 & 041-9833097

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