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The place-name and documentary evidence records that Newport is in origin a Saxon royal manor, with a market.  There are also documentary references to a castle, although its location is unclear.    The market was moved in 1141 from Newport to Saffron Walden, with a consequent decline in the town’s fortunes.  The market was however restored by the late thirteenth century, when the town was also mentioned as having borough status.  A fair was also granted to the hospital in 1226/7. The  medieval economy of the town appears to have been based on the market and the wool-trade and there are two references in wills dating from the end of the medieval period to the growing of saffron (Nurse et al, 1995).  Useful comparisons can be made between the incomes deriving from the various market and fairs in the area, for example in 1299 the income from Newport was nearly twice that of  Saffron Walden and Thaxted (Nurse et al, 1995).   Newport suffered in the later medieval and early post-medieval period due to the growth of Saffron Walden.  However, the upgrading of the main road to turnpike status in the eighteenth century revived Newport’s economy, as did the introduction of the railway in the mid-nineteenth century.