At the end of the thirteenth century the Manor of Boston was given to the Priory of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate by King Edward I. It’s thought that the Priory may have used the Manor as a country retreat and as a place to grow food. Later they were granted a charter to hold a weekly market and an annual six day fair around St Lawrence’s Day in August.
The stalls would originally have been along the High Street – at that time little more than a wide track – but the market flourished due to easy access by river and locally grown produce for sale. By about 1587 it expanded in to an orchard on the north side of the High Street still called Market Place and expanded in to the Butts.
Locally grown produce was sold to merchants from London. Transport links by road and river were good and the carts and boats carrying fruit and vegetables returned filled with what was politely called ‘night soil’ which was used as fertiliser. Baskets for carrying the fruit and vegetables were made locally from the osiers cut from the willow trees grown on the aits or islands in the Thames. Continue reading “The Markets and Growers of Brentford”