City Sanitation Regulations in the Coventry Mayor’s Proclamation of 1421



On 25 January 1421, John Leeder, the newly elected mayor of Coventry, England, issued a mayoral proclamation outlining how the city would be run. This proclamation included regulations for the food trades and focused on various ways to maintain the city and the urban environment.
This reveals that late medieval city dwellers were quite aware of their urban environmental conditions. The proclamation, later regulations issued by Coventry’s city council, and existing court records indicate that people who threw waste in the street or river were labeled as miscreants and fined for breaking pollution laws even in late medieval times.

Author Biography

Dolly Jørgensen, Umeå University, Sweden

Dolly Jørgensen earned her PhD in history in 2008 from the University of Virginia, USA. She is currently a researcher at Umeå University, Sweden. She has written on a broad array of environmental history topics, including forestry management in medieval England, late medieval urban sanitation in Europe, and the conversion of offshore oil structures into artificial reefs. She is a co-founder of the Environmental History Network for the Middle Ages (ENFORMA).