Medieval Roads in Benfleet

No significant changes for over a thousand years

The Chapman and Andre map from 1777 showing main road network much the same as today and no change on Saxon times
Phil Coley

After the Saxon period there were no significant changes in the roads until the late 18th century. This was mainly due to no significant changes in the size of the population which varied between 300 and 700 people over the years.

Within Europe roads were barely maintained if at all after the Romans had left. Fords and bridges may have been maintained locally with sometimes a toll charged. In 1285 Edward I of England passed a law which required landowners to maintain the “Kings Highway” when it was on their land. Then in 1555 Queen Mary passed a law requiring Parish Councils to maintain the roads in their parish. Generally roads could not be taken over or moved without the King’s permission, which at least preserved the routes of the roads. So Benfleet was no better or worse then anywhere else in Europe at the time.


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