Early Medieval
The medieval town was divided into wards for the purpose of civil administration with the ward aldermen responsible for the town watch and the prevention of nuisances. The terms ward and parish were often used interchangeably for these divisions. The wards also provided the administrative basis for the maintenance of the town's defences.
The Oak Book of the late 13th century records an arrangement of five wards:
1) Intramural All Saints, St. Lawrence and extramural East Street, the south boundary being the division between the two buildings of the Dolphin Inn and a point opposite to this.
2) The south end of High Street, with ‘Newtown Street’ (probably Orchard Lane).
3) French Street
4) Bugle Street, St. Michael's Square, Simnel Street and all south of the Castle.
5) The northern extramural district outside the Bargate.
Wards: Late Medieval
The wards recorded in the 1454 terrier have been redesigned for defence purposes. There are four wards, all intramural, and while the walls are now divided into roughly equal sectors, the corresponding allocations of properties no longer represent compact districts but rather sequences of houses and streets. The four intramural wards are similar to those described in the Oak Book.
Wards: Tudor
Early 16th century documents still have the town divided into four wards or parishes, but a defence system is outlined in the first Muster Roll of 1544 whereby the walled town and its suburbs are divided into eight wards for the purposes of defence, although the four parish division is maintained for civil matters. This later arrangement underwent minor modifications in the later 16th century.


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