OF Repairing and Mending THE HIGHWAYS In Five Sections, TOUCHING,

  • I. Removing Obstructions in the High­ways, and Scouring the Ditches next adjoining.
  • II. Draining the Highways, and Repair­ing them.
  • III. Providing Material.
  • IV. Providing Labourers.
  • V. Providing Carriages.

Published for the Use and Instruction of Young SURVEYORS.

By WILLIAM MATHER, a Late Surveyor of the Highways in BEDFORD.

LONDON, Printed for Samuel Clark, in George-yard, in Lombard-street. 1696.


OF Repairing and Mending THE HIGHVVAYS.

Section I. Of Removing Obstructions in the Highways, and Scouring the Ditches next adjoining.

First, BEfore you begin to re­pair the Highways with any Stone, Gravel, or other Materials, take care to see that all Ditches and Drains adjoining thereunto, be opened, and scoured, and made deep, or low enough to car­ry [Page 4]all standing Water out of the same Highways, where the Water is an Annoyance. Also see that all Trees and Bushes growing in or next ad­joining to the Highways, and obstru­cting the easie passage of the People, be cut down, or kept low. And if the Owner of the Ground, or Soil, to which the Ditches, Trees, Hedges, or Bushes do belong, shall neglect to keep them so seour'd and cut as afore­said, then you must present him, within one Month after default, to the next Justice of the Peace, who is to certifie the same at the next Gene­ral Sessions, where the Defaulter is to be Fined at the Discretion of the Justices, 5 Eliz. Cap. 13. And 18 Eliz. Cap. 10. according to the 5 Eliz. Cap. 13. but according to the 18 Eliz. Cap. 10. the Defaulter shall Forfeit for e­very Default Ten Shillings.

Secondly, See that the Earth and Soil cast out of the Ditches or Drains into the Highways, be not suffered to lye there by the space of Six Months, to the Annoyance of the Highways; but be carried off with­in [Page 5]that time, by him that holds the Ground next adjoining, and that scoured the Ditch. 18 Eliz. Cap. 10. Which if he shall neglect to do, he Forfeits Twelve Pence for every Load so cast up, and you are to present his default at next Quarter Sessions.

Thirdly, See that all Ditches and Drains, in any Ground adjoining to the said Ground adjoining to the Highways, where any ditching or scouring ought to be, for conveying the Water out of the Highway, over the Ground next adjoining, be kept from time to time, as need requires, ditched and scoured: 18 Eliz. Cap. 10. § 6. and 9. And if he that holds that Ground shall neglect to keep the same so ditched and scoured, he Forfeits Twelve Pence for every Rod not so done and kept, and you are to present his default at next Quarter Sessions.

Fourthly, See if there be any Springs or Water-courses in the High­ways, making them deep and dan­gerous; and if there be, you have [Page 6]full Authority to turn the same into any Ditch of the several Ground of any Person next adjoining to the said Highways, 5 Eliz. Cap. 13. in such manner as you shall think most convenient.

Those are the means appointed by the Old Statutes (still in force) for draining the Highways in general, whether they be more or less than Twenty Foot broad: But for the draining and clearing such Highways as are not Twenty Foot broad, there are other additional Means appointed in the Late Statute made for the bet­ter Repairing of them, 3 and 4 W. and M. which be these that follow:

First, Every Person that lays in a­ny such Highway any Timber, Stone, Straw, 3 and 4 W. and M. or other Matter whatsoever, whereby the same shall be obstructed or annoyed, Forfeits for every such Offence Five Shillings, to be Levied by Warrant of Two Justices of your Division, or in default thereof, any Neighbouring Justices.

Secondly, Every Possessor of Lands next adjoining to the Highway where any such Matter lyes, must remove the same, 3 and 4 W. and M. (and may take it to his own Use) which if he neglects to do within Ten Days after you have given him no­tice, he Forfeits also Five Shillings, to be Levied as aforesaid, for every such neglect.

Thirdly, If any Tree, Bush, or Shrub, shall stand or grow in such Highway, and be not cut down and carried away by the Owner of the Soil, where the same doth stand or grow, 3 and 4 W. and M. within Ten Days after you have given him notice, he shall For­feit Five Shillings for every neglect, to be Levied as aforesaid.

Fourthly, (Furthermore) what Defaults or Annoyances you shall find in the Highways, or in Causeys, Bridges, Ditches, Hedges, Trees, Water-courses, Drains, or Gutters next adjoining to the same, within your Precincts, you are to give pub­lick notice thereof from time to time, [Page 8]in the Parish Church the next Sunday, immediately after Sermon ended: And if the same shall not be removed, and amended within Thirty Days after such notice given, then you are to do the same within Thirty Days after, and dispose of the Annoyances to and for the Repair of the High­ways; 2 and 4 W. and M. and you shall be Reimbursed your Charges in so doing, by the Par­ties who should have done the same, upon your Application to any one of the next Justices.

Note also, That you are required under the Penalty of Five Pounds, to present upon Oath to one of the next Justices, within Fourteen Days after your first Acceptance of your Office, and so from time to time, every Four Months, during the same, the state and condition of all the Roads, Com­mon Highways, Water-courses, Bridges, Causeys, and Pavements within your Parish, 3 and 4 W. and M. which are to be repaired at your Parish Charge.

And I must crave leave also to Note, That it seems very equal and reasonable, That when Ditches, and Drains next the Highway, which are to be scoured by the Tenant (who Labours hard, and fares meanly, to pay his Rent) are once a Year suffi­ciently scoured by him, and the Soil carried away; then the same should afterwards, for that Year, be kept in repair by you: For they are after­ward out of repair, only by the pas­sing of Carts, Horses, and other Cat­tel in the Common Highway, and not by the Tenant's default.

Section II. Of Draining the Highways, and Repairing them.

First, WHen you have remo­ved the Annoyances, and caused the Ditches and Drains next adjoining to the Highways, to be sufficiently opened and scoured by the Owners of the Soil, then do you cause all the standing Water in the Highway, to be drained or conveyed into those Ditches and Drains, by new Trenches or Gutters; which ought to be constantly done, especial­ly after every great fall of Rain; for if the Water stands long in any part of the Highways, they will be soon marred, and then require more Charge to be repaired, especially in Clayey Ground. And (in truth) the suffering of Water to stand in the Highways, especially in those that [Page 11]are much Carted, is the first and principal Cause of their decay and ruin.

Secondly, After the Water is drain­ed out of the Highways, and the Ground become dry, then, and not before, lay on your Materials for re­pairing; except in Winter-time there happens to be Gulls, or such deep Holes which renders the Ways im­passible, and so require present mend­ing.

Thirdly, Where the Rutts, or Padways are deep, first lay Faggots, or Bushes of white or black Thorn cross-way, suffering them to be crush­ed down by Loaden Carts drawn o­ver; and when you lay Stones on them, then omit not to cover the Stones with Gravel, or such like hard Rubbish; for this will get into the empty spaces between the Stones, and so fasten them together, that Cart­wheels and Horse-feet cannot easily displace them, which otherwise would be, and your Charge half lost.

That which doth much Gull and Marr the Common Highway, is the draught of Waggons and Carts with Burdens of exceeding weight, as 40, 50, 60, and sometimes 70 Hundred Weight; one of those Carriages doth more hurt to the Way than twenty of others, everyone severally Loaden but with Twenty Hundred. There was (indeed) a Remedy provided against this Inconvenience, by the Statute 14 Car. 14 Car. 2. Cap. 5. 2. Cap. 5: wherein the Carriage in a Cart or Waggon was limitted to 20 Hundred Weight, be­tween the First of October and the First of May; and to 30 Hundred be­tween the First of May and the First of October; but that Law is expired, and so you have no Remedy in this Case, until it shall please the Parlia­ment to provide one.

Fourthly, You are required, under such Penalty as the Justices shall im­pose, not exceeding Forty Shillings, to suffer no Travelling Waggon, 22 Car. 2. Cap. 12.Wayn, Cart, or Carriage, wherein any Burdens, Goods, or Wares are carried, [Page 13]to pass your Highways with above Five Horse-beasts at length; except only such Carts and Carriages as are employed in and about Husbandry, and Manuring of Lands, and in the Carrying of Hay, Straw, Corn unthresht, Coal, Chalk, Timber for Shipping, Materials for Building, Stones of all sorts, or such Ammunition or Artillery which shall be for His Majesties Service.

And for your Encouragement, if you prove the Offence by one Credi­ble Witness upon Oath, before any Justice of the Peace, he is to grant you a Warrant for Distraining of the Goods and Chattels of the Offender, for the Sum of Forty Shillings; one third thereof to the Poor of the Parish, another third towards repairing the Highway, and the other third to you or him that discovered the Offence.

Fifthly, Remember, that you are required to make every Cart-way leading to any Market-Town, Eight Foot wide at the least, 3 and 4 W. and M. and as near as may be, even and level; and every [Page 14]Causey for Horses Travelling, at the least Three Foot in breadth.

Section III. Of Providing Materials.

First, YOU may lawfully cause Stones lying upon any Lands or Ground within your Parish, 5 Eliz. 13. to be gathered and carried for the a­mendment of the Highways.

Secondly, You may take and carry away so much of the Rubbish, or small broken Stones, of any Quarries in your Parish, as you shall think ne­cessary for the mending of the High­ways, without Licence of the Own­er; Provided you find the Rubbish or Stones ready digged by the Own­er; for it is not lawful for you to cause them to be digged out of the Quarry.

Thirdly, In case such Rubbish cannot be found there, then it is law­ful for you to dig for Gravel, Sand, or Cinders, 5 Eliz. 13. in any Persons several Ground within your Parish, nigh ad­joining to the Way that is to be repair­ed, and wherein Gravel, and such stuff, is like to be found, and to carry away so much thereof as you shall think necessary; provided that you do not dig in the House, Garden, Orchard, or Meadow of any Person, nor dig more than one only Pit in any several and enclosed Ground; nor that the Pit be any way in breadth or length above Ten Yards over at the most; nor left unfilled up again with Earth, above one Month after it hath been made. Of all which you must be Circumspect, for you Forfeit for every default you shall make therein, Five Marks to the Owner of the Soil.

Fourthly, If you have not in your Parish Gravel, Stones, Quarries, 3 and 4 W. and M. nor other Materials fitting for the amend­ing of the Highways, by reason [Page 16]whereof you are forced to lay our your own Money for the Buying of such Materials; then upon your giv­ing notice of the Sum Expended by you, and making Oath thereof to the Justices at their Special Sessions, (which by the Late Act is to be hol­den once in every Four Months) they, or any two of them, are impowered to cause a Rate to be made, for the reimbursing you, upon the Inhabi­tants of your Parish, who are to be Distrained, if they refuse to pay.

Section IV. Of Providing Labourers.

First, EVery Housholder, and e­very Cottager [one that holds a House without Land] and e­very Labourer of your Parish, 2 and 3 P. and M. 5 Eliz. Cap. 13. And 18 Eliz. Cap. 10. being able to Labour, and being no Hired Servant, shall either work them­selves, or every one of them send a Labourer to work Six Days in every Year, in the amendment of the High­ways.

Secondly, 5 Eliz. Cap. 13. 18 Eliz. Cap. 10. Every Person (except such as Dwell in the City of London) chargeable in your Parish, but as a Cottager to the mending of the High­ways, if he be Assessed in any Subsidy or Tax to the King, so much as to Five Pounds in Goods, or Forty Shil­lings a Year in Lands, shall find two able Men Yearly, to Labour Six Days in the Highways.

Thirdly, Every such Person as a­bovesaid, 2 and 3 P. and M. Cap. 8. shall have and bring with them such Shovels, Spades, Mat­tocks, and other Tools as are necessa­ry for their Work; and shall do and keep their Work, as you, or one of you shall appoint them, Eight Hours every of the said Days; unless you, or one of you, shall otherwise Li­cense any of them.

Fourthly, 22 Car. 2. Cap. 12. The Six Days for work­ing in the Highways, and for provi­ding Materials, are to be appointed by you; having respect to the Wea­ther and Season of the Year, and giv­ing publick notice some convenient time before the Six Days. And in such places where the Highways can­not be sufficiently repaired before Midsummer, you may take time to do the same until a Fortnight after Mi­chaelmas; but within that time they must be repaired.

Fifthly, If any of the said Persons Chargeable, 22 Car. 2. Cap. 12. as aforesaid, to find La­bourers for mending the Highways, [Page 19]shall neglect to send them to make their respective Days Labour, then you are to make Complaint thereof to the next Justice of the Peace, who are required, upon Proof made to them of such neglect, by the Oath of one Credible Witness, to Levy by Distress and Sale of the Goods of e­very Offender, the Sum of One Shil­ling and Six Pence for every Days de­fault of every Labourer.

Also you may return all and every of the Defaulters within one Month after every default made, 22 Car. 2. Cap. 12. to some one Neighbouring Justice of the Peace, who is to present the same at the next Quarter Sessions, where the Offenders are to be Fined as the Laws and Statutes appoint.

But here (again) I must crave leave to say, that it seems very une­qual, that every poor Cottager, and Labourer, who hath not Bread for himself and Family to Eat, but what he Earns by his Labour from Day to Day, should be Charged to Labour [Page 20]himself, or to find a Labourer to work the Six Days, in repairing the com­mon Highways. And therefore I cannot blame the Practice of some Surveyors in this Case, especially of those that live in Corporate and Mar­ket Towns, where the Poor abound, in admitting the Children of Poor Cottagers and Labourers, in Lieu of their Parents, to Labour the Six Days in gathering Stones for repair of the Highways; and in Conniving at the Absence of other Poor Cottagers that have no Children to send, or in taking but a little Money of them for their defect. For the utmost of Justice, in this Case, would be Injustice and Op­pression.

Section V. Of Providing Carriages.

First. EVery Person Inhabiting in your Parish, 2 and 3 P. and M. Cap 8. 5 Eliz. 13 Occu­pied by him, and lying in your Parish, shall send a Cart or Wayn, with Horses or Oxen, and also two able Men with the same, Six Days in eve­ry Year for the amending of the High­ways.

By a Plow-land, in the Statute, is not meant the quality of Land, as Arable or Tillage, but the quantity of Lands, whether the same be Arable or Pasture. In former Times the Subjects have been Taxed for all their Lands to the King, only by a Plow­land, or Hyde of Land, (which are both the same). But what quantity of Land is intended by a Plow-land, all Men have not agreed; yet now it is [Page 22]commonly taken and allowed to be as great a Portion of Land as may be in one Year Tilled and Laboured with one Plough: And if after that Rate, ac­cording to the best of your Judgment, you shall Charge any Occupier of Lands, either Pasture or Arable, ly­ing within your Parish, and he be Distrained for neglecting his Duty to the Highways, 18 Eliz. Cap. 10. Sect. 9. according to that Charge, he hath no Remedy if he finds himself Agrieved, but by Ap­pealing to the Justices of the Peace at their next General Quarter Sessions, where they have Power to hear and determine it.

Note, that the Occupier of a Plow­land, is not Charged for the fame with respect to his or her keeping a Draught or Plow, but with respect to the quantity of Land he or she Oc­cupies in your Parish.

Secondly, Every other Person that keepeth a Draught or Plow in your Parish, 2 and 3 P. and M. Cap. 8. shall in like manner find and send one Wayn or Cart with Horses or [Page 23]Oxen. If any Person be Charged for Occupying a Plow-land, he cannot al­so be Charged for keeping a Draught or Plow; and if he keeps a Draught or Plow, and Occupies no Plow-land, yet he shall be Charged for keeping a Draught or Plow.

If the Person Charged for keeping a Draught or Plow, keepeth more Draughts or Plows than one, yet he shall be Charged to find but one Cart or Wayn with Horses or Oxen; for, neither the Statute of P. and M. nor any other Statute doth Charge him to find more than one; although he that Occupies more Plow-lands than one, shall find as many Carts or Wayns with Horses as he hath Plow­lands in his Occupation within your Parish.

Yet in the Kings-Bench when Hales was Chief Justice, 2 and [...] P. and M. Cap. 8. the whole Court was of Opinion, That so many Draughts as any Man kept, so many he ought to send to the Highways; for so the Ser­vice they do, will answer the Damage by [Page 24]them occasioned to the Highways. Which Opinion seems to be very Equitable, and to square with the Reason and Intent of the Law; and therefore if you Charge such Persons accordingly, you need not fear, (as I conceive) of the same, to be approved by the Ju­stices at their Quarter Sessions, in case the Defaulter shall Appeal thi­ther.

The Keeper of a Draught or Plow, you may Charge for the same, to send so many Horses with a Cart or Wayn as he usually draws the same with, whether that be two, or three, or more.

Thirdly, Every Person dwelling in your Parish, 18 Eliz. Cap. 10. that Occupies a Plow­land in Tillage or Pasture lying in se­veral Parishes, shall be Charged for all the same in your Parish where he dwells: And he or she that dwells in another Parish, and keepeth in his or her Hands one or more Plow-lands in your Parish, shall be Charged for eve­ry of them in your Parish.

Fourthly, If any of the said Carts and Wayns shall not be thought need­ful by you, to be employed upon any of the said Six Days, then every such Person that should have sent any such Carriages, 2 and 3 P. and M. should send in Lieu there­of two able Men to work for that Day.

Fifthly, Every Person and Carri­age aforesaid, shall have and bring with them such Shovels, and other Tools as be necessary for their work, 2 and 3 P. and M. and shall do and keep their work, as you, or one of you shall appoint them Eight Hours every of the said Six Days, unless you shall otherwise al­low it.

Sixthly, In such places where there is no use of Carts and Teams for mending the Highways, but the u­sage is to carry Materials on Horse­back, or by other kinds of Carriages; 22 Car. 2. Cap. 12. there the Inhabitants shall send such their Horses and other Carriages in Lieu of Carts, with two able Labour­ers, in like manner as with Carts.

Seventhly, If any Persons shall neg­lect to send their respective Carriages and Horses, 22 Car. 2. Cap. 12. as aforesaid, then the Pe­nalty of Ten Shillings for every Days default of a Cart with two Men; and of Three Shillings for every Days de­fault of a Man and Horse, shall be Levied in such manner as is expressed before of Day-labourers.

Also you are required to return the Defaulters within one Month after every default made, as you are be­fore directed, to return the default of Labourers.

Eighthly and Lastly, If after your using all those means herein before mentioned, the Justices of the Peace shall be satisfied, that the Highways, Causeys, Bridges, Streets, or Pave­ments within your Parish, cannot be thereby sufficiently repaired, then the said Justices, at their General Quar­ter Sessions, are to allow and order one or more Assessment to be made upon the Inhabitants of your Parish, for the raising of Moneys to repair, [Page 27]as need shall require, by Distress of the Goods of those that shall refuse to pay; provided that no such Assess­ment made in one Year, shall exceed the Rate of Six-pence in the Pound of the Yearly Value of Lands and Tene­ments; nor the Rate of Six-pence for Twenty Pounds in Personal Estate.

Thus far I have provided to inform you of the Power, and Means, given and appointed by the Statutes for re­pairing the Highways; and now I shall add my own Animadversion up­on the manner of Charging Persons to the repairing of them.

To speak (then) plain, the way and manner of Charging Persons by the Old Statutes still in force, seems to me as unequal and oppressive, as it is uncertain and obscure. And I do con­ceive, that to Charge all Persons by an Assessment only, made according to the Rate of the Poors Tax, will be more Equal, more Easie, and less Charge to the Parish, than to Charge Persons by a Plow-land, and by a [Page 28] Draught or Plow, and by being meer Cottagers. And this will appear evi­dent, if all Circumstances be compa­red and considered, of which I shall here offer only some.

First, By this means of Charging Persons by such an Assessment, the Surveyors will be enabled to com­mand Carriages in times needful and convenient, and with such Carters and Labourers as will for their Hire, carry full Loads, and labour hard; whereas on the other hand, those that are Charged to find and send in Car­riages with their own Men, will Load and Draw as they please them­selves for their own ease, come and go at their own time and leisure, and so not perform half so much work in a Day, as the other that are Hired.

Also the Surveyors will be enabled to Hire such Day labourers as are a­ble, and will be Industrious for their Hire; one of which (as I have ob­served) will do more work at the Highways in one Day, than is done [Page 29]by six or seven of others that come to work upon their own account as Cot­tagers, or that are sent in by them. These are they that call themselves The King's Highway-Men, when they beg of all Travellers that come near them; but they are commonly called, The King's Loyterers, who work when they list, come and go at their Plea­sure, and spend most of their time in standing still and prating, and look­ing after their Fellows, whom they send out from their Work, most shamefully, to stop Passengers for a Largess.

Also all Inhabitants will be Assessed proportionably to what they Occupy in Lands, or Possess in Goods, which is agreeable to Equity: And the Far­mer or Husbandman, who doth most hurt to the Highways, by his often Carting, for his proper Benefit, will pay the most in the Assessment, which is also reasonable.

Whereas on the other hand, by the present manner of Charging Persons, [Page 30]the poor Housholder or Cottager, whose Family is maintained with Bread only by his daily Labour, is Charged with as much Duty to the Highways, as other Rich Inhabi­tants (especially in Corporate and Market-Towns) who are worth, some of them, 500 l. 1000 l. and some, more; which is very unequal and oppressive.

And although those that keep Draughts or Carriages for Hire, and Occupy little or no Land, may, by this way of Assessment, escape with paying little, and yet wear out the Highways much; that may in reason be dispenced with, considering that those Hired Carts are kept generally for the Accommodating of all the In­habitants, as they shall have occasion, paying for the use of them.

Lastly, By this way of Charging all Persons by such an Assessment, the Surveyors may once a Year Em­ploy poor People, and their Chil­dren, to gather those Stones off of [Page 31]Lands, that are to be gathered for re­poiring the Highways, and allow them for gathering the same, after the Rate of 8 d. 10 d. or 12 d. a Cart-load, or such a price as the Stones are truly worth to buy, when gather­ed; by which means the poor La­bourers and their Children will be en­couraged to work hard, who other­wise for want of Employment, would perhaps want Bread.

But we must wait, and be conten­ted with things as they are, till this Matter shall be taken into Considera­tion by a Parliament, and altered; and in the mean time you must Charge all Persons, as the present Laws in being have directed.

The Close.

REmember before you go out of your Office, or be discharged from it, that at some such special Sessions, which the Justices of the [Page 32]Peace are to hold once in every For Months, you do give an Account o [...] all Money that has come to your Hands for amending the Highways, and how you have disposed of it; 3 and 4 W. and M. and to deliver any that shall remain in your Hands, to the next Surveyors: For if you make default therein, you Forfeit the double Value of what the Justices shall judge to be in your Hands.

And that if your shall neglect your Duty in any thing required of you by the said Act of the 3d and 4th of Wil­liam and Mary, 3 and 4 W. and M. you shall Forfeit for every such Offence the Sum of Forty Shillings, to be Levied and Disposed of as aforesaid.


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