The Economic History Review

Location, location, location? Analysing property rents in medieval Gloucester

Volume 69 Issue 2
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Pages: 575-599Authors: Catherine Casson, Mark Casson
Published online: July 14, 2015DOI: 10.1111/ehr.12117

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Although medieval rentals have been extensively studied, few scholars have used them to analyse variations in the rents paid on individual properties within a town. It has been claimed that medieval rents did not reflect economic values or market forces, but were set according to social and political rather than economic criteria, and remained ossified at customary levels. This article uses hedonic regression methods to test whether property rents in medieval Gloucester were influenced by classic economic factors such as the location and use of a property. It investigates both ordinary commercial rents and burgage rents (landgable), and explores the relationship between the two. It also examines spatial autocorrelation. It finds significant relationships between ordinary rents and property characteristics that are similar to those found in modern studies. The findings are consistent with the view that, in late medieval Gloucester at least, ordinary rents were strongly influenced by classical economic factors working through the urban property market. The findings also suggest that burgage rents reflected economic factors, even though they remained fixed over time.