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Is there any research that has attempted to estimate the ratio of commerce to residence, or of shopkeepers to residents in other trades, for preindustrial towns? Or are there old census sources where such data is recorded?

  • The most comprehensivesuch census, until possibly the 18th or even 19th century is the Doomsday book commissioned by William I to determine his new tax revenues. – Pieter Geerkens Mar 26 '14 at 6:39
  • I seriously doubt such would be useful as how would you classify say a blacksmith who after all also sells his wares. And that'd be a large portion of the population. – jwenting Mar 26 '14 at 7:38
  • I remember seeing some discussion of things like this in Braudel's "The Identity of France." Of course, the answer to your question is going to vary by time, region, and size of town. – two sheds Nov 13 '14 at 16:11
  • People usually lived, produced their wares, and sold them all on the same premeses. The exception would be some large guildhalls, say, the weavers, where they produced and sold but often lived elsewhere. Small town weavers usually had looms in their house. So this would seem to be a modern concept of difference you can't impose very far back in time, most places in Europe. – Zither13 Apr 15 '15 at 20:34

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