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By the 20th century the stewardship of the Liberty of St Edmund and the Bury St Edmunds liberty were both in the hands of the Marquess of Bristol.King Henry VIII now began to convert the seized properties of the church into cash.
In Lavenham, Ipswich, Hadleigh and Bergholt, the independent weavers were restless.
It was getting a steady stream of immigration into its cloth trade, and Gottfried believed that its population had by this time regained its pre-plague levels.
In 1340 the population was about 7,150, falling to 3,000 by 1440. Local agriculture was highly productive, depending on Bury for its market, and as a marketing centre for onward distribution.
"For the rich men, the clothiers, be concluded and agreed among themselves to hold and pay one price for weaving, which price is too little to sustain households upon, working day and night, holy day and week day, and many weavers are reduced to the position of servants." The Liberty of St Edmund, covering the area of West suffolk, had been the barony of the Abbot of St Edmunds up to 1539.
The Liberty now came under the control of the Crown.