1605 – A Jacobean country village


Kirkby Stephen was granted its second market charter in 1605 by James I, at a time when the king was consolidating his administration in the border counties.


No trading was allowed outside a market, and without one there could be little expansion, so a charter was crucial for the community. Even more so for Kirkby,  because its development was never the result of investment or initiative by the landed gentry, but by ordinary householders. It may be that this has shaped the town’s character.


To learn more about the lives of the ‘ordinary Kirkby people’ during the 17th century, read Kirkby Stephen in 1605 – The Year of the Second Market Charter, by Margaret Gowling M Phil

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