Gilds and Companies of Craftsmen were a great feature of late medieval and early modern urban life. At Exeter, the Company of Weavers, Fullers (Tuckers) and Shearmen numbered nearly five hundred freemen during the reign of Queen Anne. Much reduced in size and changed, the Company still survives today and its Hall, built in 1471, is among the city's architectural treasures. The Company's records, together with those of the city of Exeter, have made it possible to tell the story of the progress of this body of men, and to place them in their social, economic and political context.
Joyce Youings was Emeritus Professor of History in the University of Exeter and was well known as a specialist in Tudor history and as an editor of Tudor documents.