Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, together with their Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and to the electorate; the office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016; the office is not established by any statute or constitutional document but exists only by long-established convention, which stipulates that the monarch must appoint as Prime Minister the person most to command the confidence of the House of Commons. The position of Prime Minister was not created; the office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament.
Although the Sovereign was not stripped of the ancient prerogative powers and remained the head of government, politically it became necessary for him or her to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament. By the 1830s the Westminster system of government had emerged; the political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication, photography. By the start of the 20th century the modern premiership had emerged. Prior to 1902, the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords, provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons; however as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house. As leader of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the Parliament Act 1911 which marginalised the influence of the House of Lords in the law-making process.
The Prime Minister is ex officio First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Certain privileges, such as residency of 10 Downing Street, are accorded to Prime Ministers by virtue of their position as First Lord of the Treasury; the status of the position as Prime Minister means that the incumbent is ranked as one of the most powerful and influential people in the world. The Prime Minister is the head of the United Kingdom government; as such, the modern Prime Minister leads the Cabinet. In addition, the Prime Minister leads a major political party and commands a majority in the House of Commons; the incumbent wields both significant legislative and executive powers. Under the British system, there is a unity of powers rather than separation. In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister guides the law-making process with the goal of enacting the legislative agenda of their political party. In an executive capacity, the Prime Minister appoints all other Cabinet members and ministers, co-ordinates the policies and activities of all government departments, the staff of the Civil Service.
The Prime Minister acts as the public "face" and "voice" of Her Majesty's Government, both at home and abroad. Upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the Sovereign exercises many statutory and prerogative powers, including high judicial, political and Church of England ecclesiastical appointments; the British system of government is based on an uncodified constitution, meaning that it is not set out in any single document. The British constitution consists of many documents and most for the evolution of the Office of the Prime Minister, it is based on customs known as constitutional conventions that became accepted practice. In 1928, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith described this characteristic of the British constitution in his memoirs:In this country we live... under an unwritten Constitution. It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges, they rest on usage, convention of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect.
The relationships between the Prime Minister and the Sovereign and Cabinet are defined by these unwritten conventions of the constitution. Many of the Prime Minister's executive and legislative powers are royal prerogatives which are still formally vested in the Sovereign, who remains the head of state. Despite its growing
Memorial Gates, London
The Memorial Gates are a war memorial located at the Hyde Park Corner end of Constitution Hill in London. Known as the Commonwealth Memorial Gates, they commemorate the armed forces of the British Empire from five regions of the Indian subcontinent, as well as Africa and the Caribbean, who served for Britain in the First and Second World Wars; the memorial was inaugurated in 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II. The main inscription reads: In memory of the five million volunteers from the Indian sub-continent and the Caribbean who fought with Britain in the two World Wars. A shorter inscription quotes the words of the Nigerian author and poet Ben Okri: On the Green Park side of the Gates there are two stone slabs, either side of the pavilion, commemorating by name several of the campaigns in which forces from the British Empire fought. World War I West Africa Egypt East Africa France Belgium Gallipoli Russia World War II India Burma Malaya Singapore Persia Hong Kong Dutch East Indies The memorial pavilion on the Green Park side of Constitution Hill has a list of those from the named regions who were awarded the George Cross or Victoria Cross in the two World Wars.
The 74 names are listed on the ceiling of the small domed pavilion. There are 23 VC recipients from World War I listed, 12 GC recipients from World War II, 39 VC recipients from World War II; the plans for the memorial were made by the Memorial Gates Trust. As inscribed on the memorial, the inaugural patron of the Trust was Prince Charles, the inaugural trustees were Lord Inge, Lord Sandberg, Viscount Slim, Neil Thorne, Lord Weatherill, Baroness Flather, Khalid Aziz, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, Harpinder Singh Narula, Gulam Noon, Anwar Pervez; the architects were Planning Consultants. Funding came provided by the Millennium Commission. Construction of the Memorial Gates began on 1 August 2001, with an inscription commemorating this event on the first stone to be laid; the company contracted to build the memorial was Geoffrey Osborne Ltd and the stonemasons were CWO Ltd. The Memorial Gates were inaugurated on 6 November 2002 by Queen Elizabeth II with an inscription stating that this took place in the Golden Jubilee year of her reign.
Memorial Gates Website Memorial Gates Trust World War I campaigns World War II campaigns List of Trustees and Vice-Patrons Report on the inauguration ceremony Additional information on the Memorial Gates Memorial Gates entry Images showing the George Cross and Victoria Cross recipients: 1, 2
Garden at Buckingham Palace
The Garden at Buckingham Palace is a large private park attached to the London residence of the monarch. It is situated at the rear of Buckingham Palace, occupying a 42 acres site in the City of Westminster, has two-and-a-half miles of gravel paths, its area is bounded by Constitution Hill to the north, Hyde Park Corner to the west, Grosvenor Place to the south-west, the Royal Mews, Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace itself to the south and east. The gardens are Grade II* listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens; the planting is varied and exotic, with a mulberry tree dating back to the time of James I of England. The garden covers much of the area of the former Goring Great Garden, named after Lord Goring, occupant of one of the earliest grand houses on the site, it was laid out by Henry Wise and subsequently redesigned by William Townsend Aiton for George IV. Notable features include a large 19th-century lake, once graced by a flock of flamingoes, the Waterloo Vase. In the garden there is a summerhouse, a helicopter pad, a tennis court.
Unlike the nearby Royal Parks of London, Buckingham Palace Garden is not open to the public. However, when the palace is open during August and September, visitors have access to part of the garden, which forms the exit, via a gift shop in a marguee, at the end of the tour; the garden is. In June 2002 she invited the public into the garden for entertainment for the first time during her reign; as part of her Golden Jubilee Weekend thousands of Britons were invited to apply for tickets to Party at the Palace where the guitarist Brian May of the band Queen performed his God Save the Queen guitar solo on top of Buckingham Palace. This concert was preceded the previous evening by a Prom at the Palace. During the Queen's 80th birthday celebrations in 2006 the garden was the scene of Children's Party at the Palace; the landscape design was by Capability Brown but the garden was redesigned at the time of the palace rebuilding by William Townsend Aiton of Kew Gardens and John Nash. The great manmade lake was completed in 1828 and is supplied with water by the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park.
According to Palace tourist guides, the garden is maintained by eight full-time gardeners, with two or three part-timers. The trees include plane, Indian chestnut, silver maple, a swamp cypress. In the south-west corner, there is a single surviving mulberry tree from the plantation installed by King James I of England when he unsuccessfully attempted to breed silkworms in the Mulberry Garden on the Buckingham Palace site. Like the palace, the garden is rich in works of art. One of the most notable is the Waterloo Vase, the great urn commissioned by Napoleon to commemorate his expected victories, which in 1815 was presented unfinished to the Prince Regent. After the King had had the base completed by sculptor Richard Westmacott, intending it to be the focal point of the new Waterloo chamber at Windsor Castle, it was adjudged to be too heavy for any floor; the National Gallery, to whom it was presented returned it in 1906 to the sovereign, Edward VII. King Edward solved the problem by placing the vase outside in the garden where it now remains.
In the garden is a small summerhouse attributed to William Kent, a helicopter landing pad, a tennis court where Björn Borg, John McEnroe and Steffi Graf have played. The garden is surveyed for its moths by staff from the Natural History Museum, visited by the Queen's swans; the garden is the setting for the many Royal garden parties held by the Queen each summer. However, while numerous and from all stations in life, are those who hold a public position, or are in some way of national interest. In 2008, three parties were for nominated members of the public; the guests take. As a military band plays the National Anthem, the Queen emerges from the Bow Room and processes through the ranks of assembled guests towards her own private tea tent, greeting those selected for the honour. Buckingham Palace garden was one of three royal sites excavated over 25–28 August 2006 by the Time Team of archaeologists led by Tony Robinson; the results were televised, with some live streaming. Timed to help celebrate the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, this marked Time Team's 150th dig.
For the first time, the Queen gave permission for trenches to be dug in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh. The Big Royal Dig is an example of the Queen opening up her homes for greater access to the public, as she did during her Golden Jubilee Weekend in 2002 and throughout 2006 for her 80th birthday; the archaeologists had an unprecedented opportunity to probe the geophysics and history of three royal residences over a four-day period, with teams working concurrently in the three locations. Buckingham House, a precursor of the palace, was built in 1703 by the Duke of Buckingham; the archaeologists managed to uncover the original ornamental canal constructed by Henry Wise which ran westwards from the West Front of Buckingham House. The ornamental canal was the highlight of the garden, running straight down it, bordered by rows of trees; the parterre clos
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and twice as Home Secretary. He is regarded as the father of modern British policing, owing to his founding of the Metropolitian Police Service. Peel was one of the founders of the modern Conservative Party; the son of a wealthy textile-manufacturer and politician, Peel was the first prime minister from an industrial business background. He earned a double first in mathematics from Christ Church, Oxford, he entered the House of Commons in 1809. Peel entered the Cabinet as Home Secretary, where he reformed and liberalised the criminal law and created the modern police force, leading to a new type of officer known in tribute to him as "bobbies" and "peelers". After a brief period out of office he returned as Home Secretary under his political mentor the Duke of Wellington serving as Leader of the House of Commons. A supporter of continued legal discrimination against Catholics, Peel reversed himself and supported the repeal of the Test Act and the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1829, claiming that "though emancipation was a great danger, civil strife was a greater danger".
After being in the Opposition 1830-34, he became Prime Minister in November 1834. Peel issued the Tamworth Manifesto, laying down the principles upon which the modern British Conservative Party is based, his first ministry was a minority government, dependent on Whig support and with Peel serving as his own Chancellor of the Exchequer. After only four months, his government collapsed and he served as Leader of the Opposition during Melbourne's second government. Peel became Prime Minister again after the 1841 general election, his second government ruled for five years. He cut tariffs to stimulate trade, he set up a modern banking system. His government's major legislation included the Mines and Collieries Act 1842, the Income Tax Act 1842, the Factories Act 1844 and the Railway Regulation Act 1844. Peel's government was weakened by anti-Catholic sentiment following the controversial increase in the Maynooth Grant of 1845. After the outbreak of the Great Irish Famine, his decision to join with Whigs and Radicals to repeal the Corn Laws led to his resignation as Prime Minister in 1846.
Peel remained an influential MP and leader of the Peelite faction until his death in 1850. Peel started from a traditional Tory position in opposition to a measure reversed his stance and became the leader in supporting liberal legislation; this happened with the Test Act, Catholic Emancipation, the Reform Act, income tax and, most notably, the repeal of the Corn Laws. Historian A. J. P. Taylor says: "Peel was in the first rank of 19th century statesmen, he carried Catholic Emancipation. Peel was born at Chamber Hall, Lancashire, to the industrialist and parliamentarian Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet, his wife Ellen Yates, his father was one of the richest textile manufacturers of the early Industrial Revolution. Peel was educated at Bury Grammar School, at Hipperholme Grammar School at Harrow School and Christ Church, where he became the first person to take a double first in Classics and Mathematics, he was a law student at Lincoln's Inn in 1809 before entering Parliament. Peel saw part-time military service as a captain in the Manchester Regiment of Militia in 1808, as lieutenant in the Staffordshire Yeomanry Cavalry in 1820.
Peel entered politics in 1809 at the age of 21, as MP for the Irish rotten borough of Cashel, Tipperary. With a scant 24 electors on the rolls, he was elected unopposed, his sponsor for the election was the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, with whom Peel's political career would be entwined for the next 25 years. Peel made his maiden speech at the start of the 1810 session, when he was chosen by Prime Minister Spencer Perceval to second the reply to the king's speech, his speech was a sensation, famously described by the Speaker, Charles Abbot, as "the best first speech since that of William Pitt."As chief secretary in Dublin in 1813, he proposed the setting up of a specialist police force called "peelers". In 1814, the Royal Irish Constabulary was founded under Peel. For the next decade, he occupied a series of minor positions in the Tory governments: Undersecretary for War, Chief Secretary for Ireland, chairman of the Bullion Committee, he changed constituency twice, first picking up another constituency, Chippenham becoming MP for Oxford University in 1817.
He became an MP for Tamworth from 1830 until his death. His home of Drayton Manor has since been demolished. Peel was considered one of the rising stars of the Tory party, first entering the cabinet in 1822 as Home Secretary; as Home Secretary, he introduced a number of important reforms of British criminal law. He reduced the number of crimes punishable by death, simplified it by repealing a large number of criminal statutes and consolidating their provisions into what are known as Peel's Acts, he reformed the gaol system. He resigned as home secretary after the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool became incapacitated and was replaced by George Canning, he helped in the repeal of the Test and Corporation Ac
Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality, it has been a focal point for the British people at times of national mourning. Known as Buckingham House, the building at the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site, in private ownership for at least 150 years, it was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, who constructed three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837; the last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East Front, which contains the well-known balcony on which the royal family traditionally congregates to greet crowds.
The palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb during World War II. The original early 19th-century interior designs, many of which survive, include widespread use of brightly coloured scagliola and blue and pink lapis, on the advice of Sir Charles Long. King Edward VII oversaw a partial redecoration in a Belle Époque gold colour scheme. Many smaller reception rooms are furnished in the Chinese regency style with furniture and fittings brought from the Royal Pavilion at Brighton and from Carlton House; the palace has 775 rooms, the garden is the largest private garden in London. The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September and on some days in winter and spring. In the Middle Ages, the site of the future palace formed part of the Manor of Ebury; the marshy ground was watered by the river Tyburn, which still flows below the courtyard and south wing of the palace. Where the river was fordable, the village of Eye Cross grew.
Ownership of the site changed hands many times. William gave the site to Geoffrey de Mandeville, who bequeathed it to the monks of Westminster Abbey. In 1531, Henry VIII acquired the Hospital of St James, which became St James's Palace, from Eton College, in 1536 he took the Manor of Ebury from Westminster Abbey; these transfers brought the site of Buckingham Palace back into royal hands for the first time since William the Conqueror had given it away 500 years earlier. Various owners leased it from royal landlords and the freehold was the subject of frenzied speculation during the 17th century. By the old village of Eye Cross had long since fallen into decay, the area was wasteland. Needing money, James I sold off part of the Crown freehold but retained part of the site on which he established a 4-acre mulberry garden for the production of silk. Clement Walker in Anarchia Anglicana refers to "new-erected sodoms and spintries at the Mulberry Garden at S. James's". In the late 17th century, the freehold was inherited from the property tycoon Sir Hugh Audley by the great heiress Mary Davies.
The first house erected within the site was that of a Sir William Blake, around 1624. The next owner was Lord Goring, who from 1633 extended Blake's house and developed much of today's garden known as Goring Great Garden, he did not, obtain the freehold interest in the mulberry garden. Unbeknown to Goring, in 1640 the document "failed to pass the Great Seal before King Charles I fled London, which it needed to do for legal execution", it was this critical omission that helped the British royal family regain the freehold under King George III. The improvident Goring defaulted on his rents. Arlington House rose on the site—the location of the southern wing of today's palace—the next year. In 1698, John Sheffield the first Duke of Buckingham and Normanby, acquired the lease; the house which forms the architectural core of the palace was built for the first Duke of Buckingham and Normanby in 1703 to the design of William Winde. The style chosen was of a large, three-floored central block with two smaller flanking service wings.
Buckingham House was sold by Buckingham's natural son, Sir Charles Sheffield, in 1761 to George III for £21,000. Sheffield's leasehold on the mulberry garden site, the freehold of, still owned by the royal family, was due to expire in 1774. Under the new Crown ownership, the building was intended as a private retreat for King George III's wife, Queen Charlotte, was accordingly known as The Queen's House. Remodelling of the structure began in 1762. In 1775, an Act of Parliament settled the property on Queen Charlotte, in exchange for her rights to Somerset House, 14 of her 15 children were born there; some furnishings were transferred from Carlton House, others had been bought in France after the French Revolution of 1789. While St James's Palace remained the official and ceremonial royal residence, the name "Buckingham-palace" was used from at least 1791. After his accession to the throne in 1820, King George IV continued the renovation with the idea in mind of a small, comfort
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion
Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, the most populous city in the English Midlands. It is the most populous metropolitan district in the United Kingdom, with an estimated 1,137,123 inhabitants, is considered the social, cultural and commercial centre of the Midlands, it is the main local government of the West Midlands conurbation, the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population of 2,897,303 in 2017. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 4.3 million. It is referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city". A market town in the medieval period, Birmingham grew in the 18th-century Midlands Enlightenment and subsequent Industrial Revolution, which saw advances in science and economic development, producing a series of innovations that laid many of the foundations of modern industrial society. By 1791 it was being hailed as "the first manufacturing town in the world".
Birmingham's distinctive economic profile, with thousands of small workshops practising a wide variety of specialised and skilled trades, encouraged exceptional levels of creativity and innovation and provided an economic base for prosperity, to last into the final quarter of the 20th century. The Watt steam engine was invented in Birmingham; the resulting high level of social mobility fostered a culture of political radicalism which, under leaders from Thomas Attwood to Joseph Chamberlain, was to give it a political influence unparalleled in Britain outside London, a pivotal role in the development of British democracy. From the summer of 1940 to the spring of 1943, Birmingham was bombed by the German Luftwaffe in what is known as the Birmingham Blitz; the damage done to the city's infrastructure, in addition to a deliberate policy of demolition and new building by planners, led to extensive urban regeneration in subsequent decades. Birmingham's economy is now dominated by the service sector.
The city is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a beta- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Its metropolitan economy is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a GDP of $121.1bn, its six universities make it the largest centre of higher education in the country outside London. Birmingham's major cultural institutions – the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts – enjoy international reputations, the city has vibrant and influential grassroots art, music and culinary scenes. Birmingham is the fourth-most. People from Birmingham are called Brummies, a term derived from the city's nickname of "Brum", which originates from the city's old name, which in turn is thought to have derived from "Bromwich-ham"; the Brummie accent and dialect are distinctive. Birmingham's early history is that of a marginal area; the main centres of population and wealth in the pre-industrial English Midlands lay in the fertile and accessible river valleys of the Trent, the Severn and the Avon.
The area of modern Birmingham lay in between, on the upland Birmingham Plateau and within the densely wooded and sparsely populated Forest of Arden. There is evidence of early human activity in the Birmingham area dating back to around 8000 BC, with stone age artefacts suggesting seasonal settlements, overnight hunting parties and woodland activities such as tree felling; the many burnt mounds that can still be seen around the city indicate that modern humans first intensively settled and cultivated the area during the bronze age, when a substantial but short-lived influx of population occurred between 1700 BC and 1000 BC caused by conflict or immigration in the surrounding area. During the 1st-century Roman conquest of Britain, the forested country of the Birmingham Plateau formed a barrier to the advancing Roman legions, who built the large Metchley Fort in the area of modern-day Edgbaston in AD 48, made it the focus of a network of Roman roads. Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era.
The city's name comes from the Old English Beormingahām, meaning the home or settlement of the Beormingas – indicating that Birmingham was established in the 6th or early 7th century as the primary settlement of an Anglian tribal grouping and regio of that name. Despite this early importance, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor of Birmingham was one of the poorest and least populated in Warwickshire, valued at only 20 shillings, with the area of the modern city divided between the counties of Warwickshire and Worcestershire; the development of Birmingham into a significant urban and commercial centre began in 1166, when the Lord of the Manor Peter de Bermingham obtained a charter to hold a market at his castle, followed this with the creation of a planned market town and seigneurial borough within his demesne or manorial estate, around the site that became the Bull Ring. This established Birmingham as the primary commercial centre for the Birmingham Plateau at a time when the area's economy was expanding with population growth nationally leading to the clearance and settlement of marginal land.
Within a century of the charter Birmingham had grown into a prosperous urban centre of merchants and craftsmen. By 1327 it was the third-largest town in Warwickshire, a position it would retain for the next 200 years; the principal governing institutions of medieval Birmingham – including the Guild of the Ho