It has long been recognized that the Church played a major role in the development of towns and cities from the earliest times, a fact attested to by the prominence and number of ecclesiastical buildings that still dominate many urban areas. Yet despite this physical evidence, and the work of archaeologists and historians, many important aspects of the early stages of urbanization in England are still poorly understood. Not least, there are many unanswered questions concerning the processes by which the larger towns emerged as planned settlements during the pre-Conquest centuries. Whilst the commitment of the Wessex kings is recognized, questions remain concerning the participation of the Church in this process. Likewise, our understanding of the Church's influence in the later development of towns is not yet fully developed. Many intriguing questions remain concerning such issues as the founding of parish churches and their boundaries and the extent to which the Church, as a major landowner, helped shape the evolving identity of towns and their suburbs. It is questions such as these that this volume sets out to answer. Employing a wealth of historical and archaeological evidence, two key towns - Gloucester and Worcester - are closely examined in order to build up a picture of their respective developments throughout the medieval period. Through this multi-disciplinary and comparative approach, a picture begins to emerge of the Church's role in helping to shape not only the spiritual, but also the social, economic and cultural development of the urban environment.