This project seeks to provide illustrations of the emergence and dissemination of centres for accommodation in England. It is based on the hypothesis that institutions for accommodation of travellers were very few in number in the pre-1000 period and that the focus then and after was first on monastic institutions. The growth of these provided a growth in known and safe lodging for travellers. These would be augmented by such things as aristocratic generosity and later parochial charity and generosity. The subsequent development of hospitals catering to travellers–hostels was an important development especially of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Only at that point, does the development of significant dedicated, commercial ventures for travellers occur: the birth of the inn, the innkeeper, and the now recognisable hotel. While there are great challenges and speculations involved in the project, we hope to give some reasonable sense of the growth of the secure stable lodgings that were essential for a dynamic and networked society of travel and communication to exist.
This project is led by Gary Shaw and has been supported especially in 2018-19 by Victoria Bianchi and Kelly Kong.