England’s Immigrants 1330 – 1550 Resident Aliens in the Late Middle Ages

The South-east

Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Middlesex, London

By far the largest immigrant population in medieval England was in London. Not only was it one of the main points of entry into the country, but it was the only place where the alien subsidy was consistently collected with any rigour, and has some of the best surviving records. However, away from the melting pot of the capital, the rest of the south-east also had a significant alien population. Kent returned well over a thousand people in 1440, as did Hampshire, and Surrey and Sussex had almost 1500, many of whom lived in the large and diverse borough of Southwark. People from France and the Low Countries were most commonly recorded, but there were also large numbers of Irish, a few intrepid Scots had made it this far south, and there were other individuals from almost every part of Europe, from Portugal to Prussia. Servants and labourers were the most common professions recorded, but there were also a number of clergymen, particularly Irish vicars and chaplains, and lots of skilled artisans in a wide variety of trades. Sandwich and particularly Southampton were also home to significant groups of Italians, the only major concentrations outside the capital.

Cite this page:

England’s Immigrants 1330 – 1550 (www.englandsimmigrants.com, version 1.0, 23 August 2017), http://www.englandsimmigrants.com/page/sources/alien-subsidies/the-south-east