At several points in earlier chapters, we have had cause to signal the importance of towns and townsmen in late medieval France. Urban communities were the destination of many rural emigrants, and urban wealth was invested in land, sometimes for profit, often for social status. The walls which many towns began to construct after the battle of Crécy were the most obvious (but not the only) manifestation of growing distinctions between life in rural and urban France. We have also seen that urban defences contributed to the developing role of towns in the political life of the realm. Municipal authorities entered into contact more frequently with elements of the royal administration, sometimes employing specialists to help them (legal advisers, for instance, or bilingual clerks in the south). Townsmen were sent as representatives to the estates, locally, within the region, more rarely at the level of the kingdom. Others raised taxes as élus. The widespread acceptance of the term bonne ville was an acknowledgment of the importance of municipalities to the monarchy, even if revolts against taxes were a peculiarly urban phenomenon, and urban communities could become embroiled in factional struggles.
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- Municipal France, c. 1300–c. 1500
- Macmillan Education UK
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- Chapter 5