'There is a considerable Welsh presence in contemporary Bristol. Welsh accents are often to be heard in the city's streets, and that presence has doubtless grown since the building of the two Severn bridges. This is by no means a modern phenomenon, however, and in this article, Peter Fleming explores the experiences of the Welsh in Bristol during the reign of the Welsh king of England, Henry VII'.
Five hundred years ago, Bristol was the second or third largest town in England ( only London, York, and possibly Norwich outstripped it in wealth and population), but was finding it difficult to maintain this position in the face of increasingly difficult economic conditions. Bristol shared in the problems besetting many of its rivals: population growth was held back by recurrent epidemics, with the result that levels of trade and demand for manufactured goods remained low, while the shortage of tenants meant that houses fell empty and soon decayed; the increasing competition from rural clothiers hit the urban textile industry, and the town's elite showed growing reluctance to volunteer for burdensome and costly civic office. Peter Fleming offers an insight to life in Bristol in the last decade of the fifteenth century.