The region had extensive land holdings under the management of various monastic orders, particularly the Cistercians. The previous NWRRF noted that technology and production in the area would have been greatly influenced by this, with the monastic orders experimenting with and bringing in new technologies (Newman and Newman 2007, 110). Many early industrial sites have been shown to be connected to monastic control through documentary evidence and understanding of the various industrial processes under the control of the monasteries is growing (See Monastic Estates).
Our knowledge of salt working has increased thanks to recent publications and large-scale coastal surveys. The understanding of the development of iron working is growing, especially in the Greater Manchester area where a number of sites were recently investigated. The NW had a variety of late medieval extraction industries particular to the local geology. Evidence for these industries is reasonably well documented though chronologies need to be refined. Evidence for medieval textile and corn mills is still rare although there has been some limited excavation. There is still difficulty establishing exact dates for small scale industries, especially with sites identified through rural surveys. The most significant step forward has been with regards to pottery, with new production sites recently discovered and a growing number of assemblages that now need further analysis and synthesis.