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Flemish weavers who settled in the area in the 14th century helped develop the industry.In the early-18th century, Edmund Calamy described Preston as "a pretty town with an abundance of gentry in it, commonly called Proud Preston".Various other spellings occur in early documents: "Prestonam" (1094), "Prestone" (1160), "Prestona" (1160), "Presteton" (1180), and "Prestun" (1226).The modern spelling occurs in 1094, 1176, 1196, 12.Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the spinning frame, was born in the town.
The right to hold a Guild Merchant was conferred by King Henry II upon the Burgesses of Preston in a charter of 1179; the associated Preston Guild is a civic celebration held every 20 years and 2012 was the latest Guild year. Before 1328, celebrations were held at irregular intervals, but at the guild of that year it was decreed that subsequent guilds should be held every 20 years.After this, there were breaks in the pattern for various reasons, but an unbroken series were held from 1542 to 1922.A full 400 year sequence was frustrated by the cancellation of the 1942 Guild due to World War II, but the cycle resumed in 1952.The district obtained city status in 2002, becoming England's 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. Preston and its surrounding area have provided evidence of ancient Roman activity, largely in the form of a Roman road which led to a camp at Walton-le-Dale.The Angles established Preston; its name is derived from the Old English meaning "priest's settlement" and in the Domesday Book is recorded as "Prestune".