By Alan Cooper
From the time of Alfred the nice till past the tip of the center a long time, bridges have been very important to the rulers and other people of britain, yet they have been pricey and hard to take care of. Who then used to be answerable for their maintenance? the reply to this question adjustments over the centuries, and how during which it alterations finds a lot approximately legislation and tool in medieval England. the advance of legislation about the upkeep of bridges didn't keep on with an easy line: criminal rules built via the Anglo-Saxons, which had made the 1st age of bridge construction attainable, have been rejected by means of the Normans, and royal legal professionals of the 13th and fourteenth centuries needed to locate new options to the matter. The destiny of well-known bridges, in particular London Bridge, exhibits the best way the non secular, old and entrepreneurial mind's eye was once pressed into carrier to discover ideas; the destiny of humbler bridges indicates the urgency with which this challenge used to be debated around the kingdom. by means of targeting this element of sensible governance and tracing it during the process the center a while, a lot is proven in regards to the boundaries of royal energy and the creativity of the medieval criminal brain. ALAN COOPER is Assistant Professor of historical past at Colgate collage.
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Extra info for Bridges, Law and Power in Medieval England, 700-1400
24–6, 152. Langdon, Horses, Oxen and Technological Innovation, p. 155; Gerhold, ‘Packhorses and Wheeled Vehicles’, pp. 18–19. Gerhold, ‘Packhorses and Wheeled Vehicles’, pp. 9–11. Gerhold, ‘Packhorses and Wheeled Vehicles’, p. 17. 23 Bridges, Law and Power This pattern of early innovation to take advantage of the better road conditions in the South-East, but of slower innovation in the face of more difficult road conditions in the North and West makes England the perfect mirror image of France.
58 As William Cronon describes in his account of the effect of European settlement on the New England environment, even the smallest changes can have a cumulative effect. For a whole variety of mutually reinforcing reasons, ‘spring runoff in deforested regions began and peaked at an earlier date; moreover, smaller rainstorms at other times of year produced greater amounts of runoff. ’59 The long-term result could be the 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 not the end of it. His conclusion that ‘the Anglo-Saxons in 600 years probably increased the area of farmland, managed the woodland more intensively, and made many minor alterations.
Moreover, archaeology has challenged, in this as in most aspects, the notion of wholesale collapse after the decline of Rome. Certainly watermills have been found in Ireland from as early as 630, and a ‘massive machine’ at Old Windsor on the Thames has been dated to the late seventh century. A charter of 762 (B191 (S25) which admittedly survives in no copy earlier than the thirteenth century) records the transfer of half-use of a mill (not explicitly a watermill) in Kent. Against the background of this early evidence, Holt convincingly dismisses the notion that Domesday’s paucity of references to mills in Devon and Cornwall shows the gradual spread of mills from east to west; R.