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Trust, guilds and kinship in London, 1330-1680

Adam, Ammaarah, Ades, Raphael, Banks, William, Benning, Canbeck, Grant, Gwyneth, Forster-Brass, Harry, McGiveron, Owen, Miller, Joseph, Phelan, Daniel, Randazzo, Sebastian, Reilly, Matthew, Scott, Michael W., Serban, Sebastian, Stockton, Carys and Wallis, Patrick ORCID: 0000-0003-1434-515X (2024) Trust, guilds and kinship in London, 1330-1680. Historical Journal. ISSN 0018-246X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0018246X24000335


How was trust created and reinforced between the inhabitants of medieval and early modern cities? And how did the social foundations of trusting relationships change over time? Current research highlights the role of kinship, neighbourhood and associations, particularly guilds, in creating ‘relationships of trust’ and social capital in the face of high levels of migration, mortality and economic volatility, but tells us little about their relative importance or how they developed. We uncover a profound shift in the contribution of family and guilds to trust networks among the middling and elite of one of Europe’s major cities, London, over three centuries, from the 1330s to the 1680s. We examine almost 15,000 networks of sureties created to secure orphans’ inheritances to measure the presence of trusting relationships connected by guild membership, family and place. We uncover a profound increase in the role of kinship – a re-embedding of trust within the family - and a decline of the importance of shared guild membership in connecting Londoner’s who secured orphans’ inheritances together. These developments indicate a profound transformation in the social fabric of urban society.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N0 - General > N00 - General
Date Deposited: 02 May 2024 13:12
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 16:51

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