Date of Award

Winter 12-22-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Kyle, Chris R.


Bordering, Jurisdiction, London, Urban growth

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | European History | History


The kingdom's principal city for law, governance, trade, and consumption, early modern London experienced a period of rapid growth and sprawl from the mid-sixteenth century. This nurtured more dense and frequent mobility and produced a dynamic, kinetic city. For civic authorities, however, boundaries took on greater urgence. Drawing on theories and principles of border studies, this dissertation treats the city's boundaries as processes forged and transformed by engagement, by the interplay between popular activity, political programs, and perceptions of space and authority. Policy and Polity, Space, Boundaries, and Governance in Early Modern London, 1580-1640 examines bordering at London Bridge, the Tower of London, the City Wall and gates, and the built-up frontier near the bars that marked the Corporation's jurisdiction.There, traffic gained and lost status and legitimacy, and governors performed and displayed power in ways that negotiated everyday mobility and political authority. The result is a richer appreciation for the agency of borders as constructions with mental and physical impacts. Notwithstanding a generation of scholarship that explained the maintenance of political and social order, this study uncovers the extents and forms of the aldermen's commitment to eschew royal intervention in the bars, mobilize royal authority to buttress their own legitimacy, and direct policy administration in the suburbs. At the city's boundaries, authorities coped with limitations to their capacities to surveil and control traffic. While the Crown and Corporation pursued policies of containment and closely controlled development, the increasing involvement of authorities from across jurisdictions complicated consensus and introduced and encouraged conflict over the future shape of urban and its impact on governance. Overall, this dissertation finds the Corporation increasingly assertive in its expressions of autonomy from the Crown and at odds with its expectations and its assumptions regarding the City's place in a royal capital.


Open Access

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