Historical Population of London

A friend of mine asked me if I could help her find out roughly what the population of london was around 1325 (neither the population not the date need to be too precise). It’s for a project she’s working on providing details for a fantasy setting.

I’ve googled (which I’m admittedly not very good at), searched the archives of both Straight Dope columns and General Questions, and come up with absolutely nothing. Admittedly not all that surprising considering the specific nature of the question, but I didn’t want to ask an easily answered question.

Also does anyone know of a good online reference for historical data like this?

Thanks very much,

This relatively recent source says about 80,000.


(In school I learned it was about 30,000, but judging from the article, that estimate has been rejected.)

The London Encyclopaedia (sorry, not online but an excellent resource well worth tracking down) has a longish entry for population. It begins with the caveat that all figures are approximate before the first census of 1801, in part because it has always been difficult to define exactly London administrative boundaries. That said it estimates the medieval peak in 1340 to be at least 40,000 and probably nearer 50,000. This is roughly the same as it reached in Roman times.

Just looked in another book - Peter Akroyd’s London, the biography which cntradicts what I just said above.

Ok. That’s perfect. Thanks very much to both of you.


Well, the date needs to be reasonably precise, since you stand a good chance of killing off half your characters in the aforementioned 1348!