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Was the Romano‐British civitas‐capital of Ratae Corieltavorum (formerly Coritanorum). In the reign of Hadrian a forum/basilica complex was constructed, and slightly later a set of public baths in the insula (block) to the east of the forum. Relatively little is known of the development of private buildings in the town, but in the insula north of the forum was a major 2nd‐cent. private house with exceptional wall‐paintings. Next a Mercian town, Leicester became one of the Danish five boroughs until captured by the English in 918. Under the Normans it was a seigneurial town, its lords the earls of Leicester based in the castle. Lordship then passed to the earls and dukes of Lancaster, and in 1399 to the crown: the end of the castle as a ducal residence was a blow to Leicester's prosperity. The town revived through hosiery from the 17th cent. and later through footwear; by 1901 it was the fifteenth largest English town, a city from 1919 and a diocesan see from 1926.

Subjects: Literature.

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