As a royal capital, Westminster was unique: a small town, characterized by a complex economy and society, but lacking legal incorporation. Gervase Rosser examines the nature of the urban community. Given social diversity and competing interests, what forces existed to contain tensions andensure continuity? The regular expressions of shared interests and common identity - in local government, parochial life, and the activities of guilds - are perceived to be essential to the survival of the town. Gervase Rosser's argument has implications not only for the history of the small town,but for the history of urbanization throughout the medieval and early modern period.