The Retail Trade in Lutterworth
Lutterworth's market charter was granted in 1214. A fresh charter was obtained in 1414 for both the market and an annual fair, held on the eve and day of the Ascension. A survey of 1509 shows that specialist market areas had appeared: the Neats Market for the sale of young cattle, 'le Fleshamills' for butchers and a Woodmarket, one of the widest streets in the west of the town. By 1607 the Neats Market had been joined by a Beast Market, a 'Shepemarket', a 'Cornemarkett', an Iron Market and a Drapery.
Permament shops had also emerged by the 17th century, some selling just one product, for example, hats, but also large general stores (perhaps only one at any one time), selling cloth, groceries and a small number of household items, including writing paper and arsenic.
By 1790 the market was said to be of 'no great note', and the livestock element suffered a fatal blow when the railway failed to come to the town until 1899.
A small weekly market is still held in 2015 in the market square by the 1836 Town Hall. Shops line the High Street, but the main shopping area is along Church Street. Like many small market towns, most of the shops are independently owned.