Wantage in the 14th Century

The small market town of Wantage has a long and interesting history that dates back to the 1400s. At that time, it was part of the royal manor of Ulvritone, which was established by King Alfred the Great in 871. In 1204, Wantage became an independent borough with its own mayor and council, and it grew rapidly during this period thanks to its convenient location on an important trade route between Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

By the 1400s, Wantage had become a bustling agricultural centre for the local area. Many of the town’s buildings were constructed in this era; today, some of these still stand as reminders of Wantage’s medieval past. The Church of St Peter and St Paul is one such example; it was built in 1420 by John de Doncaster on a design based upon churches in Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Another notable building from this period is The Lesters – an old manor house that dates back to 1450 which once served as the residence for Lord General Lord Lonsdale, who fought with Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years’ War.

During the 1400s, Wantage also developed into a hub for education with many students attending local grammar schools or visiting Oxford University. It also gained notoriety for having one of England’s first printing presses; Robert Woodroffe set up shop here around 1480 and produced books such as William Caxton’s Aesop’s Fables – one of the earliest printed books in English.

Overall, Wantage had established itself as an important economic centre by the end of this century – a far cry from its humble beginnings as part of Alfred’s royal manor mere centuries before! Today, visitors can explore many fascinating sites related to Wantage’s rich history – including those dating back to its glory days in the 1400s.

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