Travelling in the Middle CenturiesMiddle Century Roads

The Roman Empire started to decline towards the end of the forth century, by the year 410 Roman armies had virtually disappeared from Britain.

This left Britain open to invasion, for the next 600 years tripe of Angles and Saxons invaded Britain from Scandinavia. These brought a new culture to Britain, settling in new villages and towns. There travel used roads and tracks, some Roman in origin, some pre Roman ways and some added, the construction of these roads was not up to the standards of the Roman Roads

 

Water was the preferred method of transport, being faster and less exhausting, and cheaper than roads. Where river transport was unavailable long trains of pack-horses had to be employed, together with drivers and, in many areas an armed escort. Roads were often little better than muddy tracks. Their importance is obvious from the many charters that mention the landholder's obligation to build and maintain roads and bridges; but road-building had declined since the days of the Romans. Regular traffic did find it necessary to travel long distances. Very little is left of Anglo Saxon Britain, there buildings where lest substantial than Roman Building's, what has survived from this period is the place names. The same applied to there road's. However many of the roads continued in use during later centuries and where eventually incorporated into the modern road system.

 

During Norman times and until 1555 upkeep of the roads where the responsibility of either the church or the manor. In general they where poorly maintained. From that date on each parish was to appoint a 'Surveyor of Highways,' who was responsible for any repairs he deemed necessary. Villagers appointed by him being obliged to give there time to any necessary work. This led to little if any improvement as many inhabitance of villages on the main road north felt there labours would benefit outside travelers rather than the local community and where often unwilling to carry out the necessary repairs.

 

A coach that would run on improved roadsNew Methods of Road Construction

With this sort of opposition to road repairs, by the eighteenth century the government turned to other means of road maintenance. this time to private industry with the creation of the Turnpike trusts, this is the subject of our next page.

 

It is difficult to accurately show what happened to the route of the A6 during this period, as very little evidence is there as to how early roads where used, particularly through the Anglo Saxon period, however as we come to the end of this period maps have survived to this day, giving accurate information on the roads of the period. However we will attempt to give an accurate as possible account of what happened to the roads that became the A6 on the individual pages of this section.