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Portrays North West England as a frontier landscape which, between c. 1050 and 1550, went through successive changes which have left a deep impression on the region today. The book starts by painting a picture of the North West at the time of Domesday: a sparsely settled land of little hamlets, fells, woods and marshes. It then tells the story of the region's dynamic economic growth between 1100 and 1350: the development of open fields, the new exploitation of wastes and woodland, and an expanding population. Manchester, Liverpool and above all Chester grew as potent urban centres, and Tudor enclosure also had a major impact on the countryside.