Institutional Constraints and Deforestation: An Application to Mexico Study from:
However, any road on the south bank between Reading and Newbury had declined to insignificance by this period. Early maps show roads radiating southwards from Newbury. These would have been important routes for the transport of wool for export from the Channel ports such as Southampton.
On the evidence of the Tudor maps, the road over Greenham Common and Knightsbridge to Kingsclere was particularly important, and the current route through Whitchurch was not the dominant road southwards.
Hungerford lay on the road between the ecclesiastical centres of Oxford and Sarum. In the absence of other factors one might expect the roads connecting these towns to run on the south side of the river.
The fact that the Bristol Road grew up on the northern bank illustrates that the position of Reading strongly influenced the route post-medieval travellers took along the Kennet Valley.
In summary, it is proposed that until the late medieval period the preferred road from Windsor to Marlborough and the west, by-passed the town of Reading and ran for much of their length along an old Roman Road at least as far as Newbury Fig 2. Here the route split to go towards Gloucester through the Roman station at Spinis Speen or continued along the southern bank to Hungerford and Ramsbury to Marlborough.
The growing influence of the Abbey, pulling more visitors into the town of Reading eventually led to the development of a road westwards on the northern bank. Unfortunately this brought the highway onto soils that were wetter than the ridges on the southern bank Fig 2.
At this point in history we move from mere speculation to a period when surviving records can help plot changes to the road network. Administration of the Highways 3. Charity and ad hoc arrangements were insufficient to maintain local roads or main highways and active intervention was necessary to keep the roads adequately repaired.
Inby Act of Parliament, parishes were made responsible for the upkeep of roads and highways within their boundaries.
The Statute for Mending of Highways obliged every had to work four days a year on maintaining the parish roads and persons having arable land or a plough landowners to provide teams of horses or oxen to carry material.
A parish surveyor, who was elected each year, supervised this Statute Labour. If roads were inadequately maintained, a parish could be indicted by the Justices and fined.
The fine would be given to the surveyor to assist in rectifying the problem. The system became perpetual in when the amount of Statute Labour was increased to six days per man per year Jackman This system was sufficient to maintain the local roads in many rural parishes but for those parishes through which major highways passed it proved inadequate.
On these highways, the vehicles that damaged the roads were from other parishes, yet the locals had to make repairs with no benefit to themselves. The highway had virtually no paving and was regarded as a rights of way rather than a fixed structure. When a particular section of highway became impassable, travellers could use adjoining land to circumvent the problem.
As a result some major highways spread to become great quagmires with only narrow sections passable in winter. The problem was particularly acute on the main approach roads to London. In the medieval period they had been built by rich benefactors and were often then maintained by ecclesiastical institutions, who generally installed a hermit to collect alms for its upkeep.
After the Reformation these responsibilities were transferred to lay administrations. Some important bridges were maintained by a bridge trust, financed by a combination of tolls on traffic above and under the bridge.
The remainder was in the care of the County, in which case the Justices levied rates for their upkeep. Carts had been used to carry moderately heavy or bulky items since medieval times.Justification 3 Justification 4 Justification 2 Justification 1.
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