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were obliged to make for the nearest point of the road leading from
Portsmouth to London. This was a work of so much difficulty as to
occupy the whole day, and the Duke of Somerset had a house
at Guildford, which was used as a place of rest by his family
travelling to London. A letter from a servant of the Duke's, dated
from London, and addressed to another at Petworth, states that the
Duke intended to set out for Petworth on a certain day, and directs
that " the keepers and persons who knew the holes and the sloughs
must come to meet his Grace vrith lanthorns and long poles to help
him on his way."* In December, 1703, Charles, King of Spain, slept at
Petworth on his way from Portsmouth to Windsor, and Prince George
of Denmark went to meet him there. The following account of this
little journey, in which a King and a Prince were the distinguished
travellers, was related by one of the attendants : — " "We set out at six
o'clock in the morning to go for Petworth, and did not get out of the
coaches (save only when we were overturned or stuck fast in the mire)
till we arrived at our joimaey's end. 'Twas hard service for the Prince
to sit fourteen hours in the coach that day without eating anything,
and passing through the worst ways that I ever saw in my life : we
were thrown but once indeed in going, but both our coach, which was
the leading, and his highness's body coach, would have suffered very
often, if tlie nimble boors of Sussex had not frequenfli/ poised it or
st(pported it loitli tlieir sliouJders from Godahning almost to Petworth;
and the nearer we approached the Duke's house the more inaccessible
it seemed to be. The last nine miles of the A^ay cost us six hours'' time

* J. H. Marklandj Esq., in " Arcbseologia."


to conquer them, and indeed we liad never done it if our good master
had not several times lent his pair of horses out of his ovs^n coach,
whereby we were enabled to trace out the way for him. They
made us believe that the several grounds we crost, and his Grace's
park, would alleviate the fatigue, but I protest I could hardly
perceive any difference between them and the common roads !"
"We have already shown (p. 95) that in 1767 Mr. Young " found
the lanes so narrow that not a mouse could pass a carriage, and ruts
of an incredible depth ; waggons stuck fast until a line of them were
in the same predicament, and required twenty or thirty horses to be
lashed togetlier to each to draw them out one by one." He had
sometimes to alight from his chaise, and get the rustics to assist
him to lift it over a hedge before he could proceed. A much later
testimony* speaks of the by-roads as " a disgrace to the age and
country." " The expenditiu-e on good roads," says this autliority,
" may not appear to a vestry of farmers to return so direct a profit as
that laid out in ploughing and sowing, but its profits are equally
certain, since it must cause a very considerable diminution in the wear
and tear of their carts and waggons, and the number of horses in their
teams." The editor of the " Farmers' Journal," 1821, stated that when
he passed over the road from Grantham to Stamford, tliirty years ago
(1791), the road was rut-quartered in such a manner that a saddle-
horse could scarcely set a foot down with safety, or find a path. By
Mr. M'Adam's improvements, that road in 1821 was made as level as
the drive in Hyde Park.

From the facts already given, it might have been expected that
every inhabitant in the kingdom would have rejoiced to witness
improvements, and would gladly have contributed to their accom-
pKshment ; but we shall see that the improvers of roads, the
introducers of coaches, and the promoters of canals, have in succession
had severe hostilities to contend with.

About the year 1728 riots broke out in various parts of the
kingdom in which armed bodies of men assembled and destroyed the
turnpikes that had recently been erected. ISTor did they confine their
acts of destruction to turnpike houses and toll-gates ; they demolished
the locks, sluices, and floodgates of rivers which had been rendered
navigable, and upon which tolls were levied. They could see no
advantage in improvements ; they had been accustomed to slow move-

* "Quarterly Ecview," 1832.


ments and to heavy joltings all their lives, and were quite contented
to go on in their old way at their accustomed pace, and therefore they
felt the exaction of tolls to be an oppression. It was found necessary
to pass a special law to punish turnj)ike rioters. In the year 1736
turnpike riots again took place, and one Reynolds was hanged at
Tyburn as a ringleader. He was cut down too soon by the hangman'
and, while being placed in the coffin, he revived, and struggled to
escape, upon which the mob rescued him, and carried him off" to a
house, where, however, he died. Other turnpike riots occurred in
1749, when a great number of iSomersetshire people demolished the
turnpike near Bedminster, on the Ashton road. About the same time
riots broke out in Gloucestershire ; men with their faces blacked
destroyed the gate and house at Don Jolm's Cross, about a mile from
Bristol ; they bored holes in the large posts, and blew them up with
gunpowder. Cross-bars and posts were again erected, and chains put
across the roads ; men were hired to resist the toll-takers, and the
Commissioners, about a dozen in a body, took it by turns to stand at
the gates and oblige travellers to pay toll. Several drovers, hoM'-
ever, going to a neighbouring fair w4th cattle, with the assistance of
the mob, forced their way. A few days afterwards the Somersetshire
people demolished the works which were put up for the re-erection of
the turnpike on the Ashton road. When the gate was completed it
was found necessary to guard it with a number of sailors, armed with
muskets, pistols, and cvitlasses ; yet the mob succeeded a third time in
destroying the gate. They also destroyed the gates on the Bath and
Pensford roads. The " Eebecca riots" in Wales, in 1842-3, are the
latest, and we trust the final, instances of a mistaken populace rising
against works of improvement, of which the humblest classes in the
state are generally the first to find the benefit.

No sooner had agriculturists of the counties surrounding London
discovered the improved facilities of communication upon turnpike
roads, than they petitioned against the extension of them into the
remoter parts of the kingdom, alleging that corn and hay would be
sent to the London markets from the cheaper districts, and that this
would have the efiect of ruining them ! Here was a new phase of
feeling. Having tasted of the benefits of improvement, the knowing
Southerners wished to monopolize it to themselves !

Having described the early roads, we have now to speak of the
modes of travelling adopted by our ancestors, and of the early use of


private and public carriages. To the commencement of the eighteenth
century, a very large proportion of the traffic of the country was
carried on by means of pack-horses. The introduction of waggons,
and coaches was regarded in their time as an innovation, and, as
with the railways — indeed everything of a progressive nature — the
most serious evils were predicted to result from the adoption of them.
Harrison describes the horses as being " high, although not com-
monly of such huge greatnesse as in other places," " yet if you
respect the easinesse of their pace, it is hard to say where their like
may be had." " Such as are kept for burden will carry four hundred
weight commonlie, without anie hvirt or hinderance."

For mutual protection, for company, and for various conveniences
upon their journey, these horses travelled in gangs of forty or fifty ;
they formed a single line, and were so well broke to their duty, that
each horse knew and kept his place in the rank with the utmost regu-
larity. The leading horse carried a bell, or pair of bells, suspended to
his head-gear, and the tinkliug of those bells guided the horses in the
dark, or in the turnings of narrow lanes, and warned passengers on
the road of their approach, so that they might move aside and allow
them to pass. If the journey was unusually long, the old and
weary horses lagged behind ; yet they never broke the order of
their march, but pushed on to their utmost strength, and many
an old "pack" died from the exertions made to keep pace with his

The loads carried by a gang of pack-horses were commonly of a
most medley character : bags of wool, sacks of meal and hops, baskets
of geese and poultry, the carcases of animals, barrels of butter and
baskets of eggs, fruit, vegetables, fish, and so on in endless variety
The method of loading the horses required considerable skill, and, even
M^hen well performed, the ups and downs of the journey demanded
constant attention, to prevent the burden from being scattered on the
road. The circuitous and hilly nature of many of ovu* early roads
arose from the fact that they were formed upon the tracks of the
pack-horses, whicli found little difficulty in crossing hills, and
frequently made a circuitous route to avoid low and marshy

Royal and noble personages when they journeyed were attended
by a long retinue of followers, all on horseback. The men were
booted, belted, spurred, and armed, and the women were strapped and




hooded, and some of the horses of the train bore a provision of straps,
saddles, pillions, buckles, cloths, and other essentials, in case of
accidents by the way. In

1582, the Earl of Leicester,

giving instructions for an

intended journey, wrote : " I

think my company will be

twenty gentlemen and twenty

yeomen, besides their men

and my housekeepers. I

think to set forwards about

the 11th of September, from

Wingfield to Leicester, to

my bed, and to make but

four days' journey to Lon-
don."* When the wife of

the last Earl of Cumberland

rode from London to Lon-

desborough, in 1640, she had thirty-two horses in her train, and the

journey occupied eleven days.

In like manner, the commoners rode in company whenever prac-
ticable. Eriends setting out
from the same town, or tra-
vellers becoming acquainted
upon the road, joined in par-
ties, and gave confidence and
cheer to each other on their
way. A solitary journey in
those early days must, for rea
sons sufficiently obvious, have
been a matter of grave anx-
iety. " The inexperienced
passenger must have needed
some courage in his journeys
^ across the semi-deserts of un-

cultivated En<?land. But soon


he is in a lane some four feet
wide, sometimes floundering in the mud, at other times slipping upon a

* Lodge's Illustrations. f Grainbado's "Art of Horsemanship." London, 1791.


paved causeway, with a thick shidge on either side of the narrow
track. In the hills of Derbyshire have we ridden the sure-footed pony of
the country down these winding roads, shut out from the wide prospect
around us by overhanging hedges, a privation which the pack-horse
traveller little cared for. Not only in Derbyshire, in the days before
men sought the picturesque, were such roads travelled over, but in the
very thickest of our metropolitan suburb."* Hagbush Lane, once well
known in the neighbourhood of Isledon,t but which disappeared
upon the construction of the great New North Eoad, was one of the
ancient bridle- ways to and from London and the North of England.
It is thus alluded to by AVilliam Hone : — " The lane is so narrow
as only to admit convenient passage for a man on horseback. This
was the general width of the road throughout, and the usual width of
all the roads made in ancient times. They did not travel in carriages,
or carry their goods in carts, as we do, but rode on horseback, and
conveyed their wares or merchandize in pack-saddles or packages on
horses' backs. They likewise conveyed their money in the same way.
In an objection raised in the reign of Queen Elizabeth to a clause in
the Hue and Cry Bill, then passing through Parliament, it was urged,
regarding some travellers who had been robbed in open day within
the hundred of Bayntesh, in the county of Berks, that 'they were
clothiers, and yet travailed not withe the great trope of clothiers ;
they also carried their money openlye in wallets xipon their saddles.'
The customary width of their roads was either four feet or eight feet.
Some parts of Hagbush Lane are much lower than the meadows on
each side ; and this defect is common to parts of every ancient way."
In the " Correspondence of Sir George EadcHffe," we have many
proofs of the serious inconveniences that attended travellers in the
early part of the seventeenth century. The following is a curious
instance of the simplicity of manners which prevailed at that period.
The editor observes : — " At this time, 1609, the communication between
the north of England and the Universities was kept up by carriers
who pursued their tedious but uniform route with whole trains of
pack-horses. To their care were consigned not only the packages, but
frequently the persons of young scholars. It was through their
medium, also, that epistolary correspondence was managed, and as they
always visited London, a letter could scarcely be exchanged between
Yorkshire and Oxford in less time than a month !"

* Knight's " Land We Live In." f Islington.


That the ancient Britons were acquainted with wheeled carriages
is evident from the use they made of war chariots. Though dignified
by the name of chariots, those vehicles must have been rudely formed
of massive wood, with wheels consisting of merely round pieces of the
trunks of trees. It is probable that as they knew the use of these
chariots, they woidd also construct carts for employment in the little
husbandry which they
pursued. The annexed
illustration represents
a cart in use until a
recent date in some
parts of Wales, and
which is supposed to — ^^^=^-


be a type of the an-
cient British construction. There was a description of carriage
in use among the Saxons, the representations of which have
more the appearance of a bed than a carriage. A kind of ham-
mock appears to have been slung upon a frame mounted on
wheels. To what extent this was used, we have no evidence.
Probably it was only for the conveyance of persons of great state,
ladies, or invalids.

Before entering more fully upon the history of wheeled carriages,
we may notice a mode of conveyance which was long used, especially
by females of rank on occasions of ceremony, and by the sick. This
was a horse-litter, in many respects like the sedan, but borne by horses
and mules, instead of men. It was also employed in carrying the dead.
Litters continued to be used in England even after the introduction
of coaches,* and they were sometimes borne by men, at others by
horses or mules.

The oldest carriages used by the ladies in England were known
under the now forgotten name of wliirlicotes. When Eichard II.,
towards the end of the fourteenth century, was obliged to fly before
his rebellious subjects, he and all his followers were upon horseback ;
his mother only, who was an invalid, rode in a carriagetf The period
when coaches were first introduced is a matter of uncertainty.
Harrison speaks of the carriages of the nobility as " cartes," and they
were probably nothing more, though somewhat raised from the common

* J. H. Markland, Esq., " Archseologia," vol. xx.
t Beckman's " History of Inventions."



description by ornament : — " This furthermore is to be noted, that our
princes and the nobilitie have their carriage commonlie made by cartes,

wherby it commeth to
passe, that when the
Queen's Majestic doth
remoove from anie one
place to another, there
are usuallie 400 care-
wares, which amount
to the summe of 2400
horses appointed out
of the counties ad-
joining, whereby her
cariage is conveied safelie unto the appointed place." The carriage of
King John appears to have been of very simple construction. It was
without springs, the body rested upon the axletree, and the wheels
were to all appearance cut out of solid pieces of circular wood, carved
ornamentally for the sake of lightness, and bound round with a thick
wooden tire. The carriage of Elizabeth was mounted upon four wheels,



without springs or hangings, but the wheels appear to have been
made of spokes, bound together by a thick wooden rim.

Stowe records that, in 1605, long waggons for the conveyance of
passengers and goods were in use between London, Canterbury, and
other large towns. Anderson makes this also the period when coaches
began to be in common use. But it is highly probable that long

* From a curious old print, by Hofnagel, in the Palace of Nonsuch.
Date 1582.



waggons were the first pubKc veliicles communicating between distant
places, and that stage-coaches were designed as an improvement upon
them, for the conveyance of passengers and goods at a greater rate of
speed for higher charges.


These " long waggons," or " machines," as they were variously called,
were constructed to carry a large number of passengers ; and of
necessity travelled at a miserable pace. The " boots " of these vehicles


projected at the sides, and were probably taken by "outside pas-
sengers," who paid a lower fare than the occupants of the covered ul-
terior. It is not an unreasonable conjecture that a guard rode with


the passengers in each boot, and that this kind of seat was originally in-
tended for that purpose, as it gave the guard, who sat sideways, an oppor-
tunity of seeing all the points of the road. Some of these vehicles ran
only in the long days of summer, when the duration of day-light enabled
them to perform a day-journey. To accomplish the greatest possible
distance vnthin the day, the journey generally commenced at day -break
in the morning. Soon after these long waggons came into use, the
" waggon-coach " was introduced. This was a vehicle having a body
like the ordinary stage-coach, with an enormous basket-like appendage
behind. The baskets, or boots, were probably for the accommodation
of third-class passengers, who were huddled together with all kinds
of wares, the second-class occupying the top of the vehicle, and the first
the inside.

Wlien Mr. Edward Parker rode from Brownsholme to London,
in 1663, he probably travelled in a vehicle of this kind. A letter,
addressed by Mr. Parker to his father,* is singularly interesting : —

" To my honoured Fatker, Edward Parker, esquire, at Browusliolme, these : —

" Leave tliis letter with ye Post Master, at Preston, Lankashire, too bee sent
as above directed.

" Honoured Father,

" My dutie premised, &c., I got to London on Saturday last, my joiimey
was noe ways pleasant, being forced to ride in the boote all the waye, ye company
yt came up with mee were persons of greate quahty, as knights and ladyes. My
joiu'ney's expence was 30*. This traval hath soe indisposed mee, yt I am
resolved never to ride up againe in ye coatch. I am extreamely hott and feverish,
what this may tend too I know not, I have not as yet advised with any doctor.
As for newes wee have onely this, yt ye Queene is very weU recovered, but tis
thought she is not with childe. Justice Hyde (who was one of ye Judges of ye
Common Pleas) is now called to bee Lord Chiefe Justice. Doctor Hinckman,
who was Bishop of Sahsbury, is translated to London. Collonel Hutchinson, who
was one of the regicides, is taken in tliis last plott ; hee was apprehended at Newarke,
and brought to London (by his Majesty's speciall command) upon Saturday last :
wee had his company on some parte of the roade. Our forraigne newes is onely such
as you have in ye country ; ye Turke proceedes vigorously in Hungary. I desire yt
all my manuscripts may bee sent up with speede. This is all, but yt I am your
dutifuU and obedient sonne,

"Edward Paekee.
" London, 3rd November, — 63."

It will be observed that tlie company that travelled with Mr.
Parker, being persons of great quality, did not ride with him in the
boot. He evidently complains of his having had to do so as a hardship.

* Prmted in Mr. Markland's communication to the Archaeological Society.



"WTien the fast-running coaclies commenced, tlie public conveyances
appear to have gradually assumed a division into two classes : ' one
travelling at the highest speed practicable for the conveyance of
passengers ; the other conveying heavy goods at a slow rate. Then
commenced the stage-waggons with broad wheels, which they were
compelled to use by Act of Parliament, to prevent the injury they
would otherwise do to the roads ; and in some instances these waggons,
with wheels of a specified width, were privileged to travel at reduced
tolls in consequence of the good eflect of their wide wheels in crushing
down and levelling the ruts made by other descriptions of vehicles.


The precise date of the introduction of stage-coaches into England
is not known. Hired carriages existed as early as 1625 ; but the
following copy of an advertisement from the " Mercurius Politieus"
for Thursday, April 8th, 1658, is the earliest public notification of that
mode of travellino- :* —


" From the 26th day of April 1658 there will continue to go stage-coaches from
the George Inn without Aldersgate, London, unto the several Cities and Towns, for
the rates and at the times hereafter mentioned and declared.

"Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

" To Sahshuiy in two days for xxs. To Blandford and Dorchester in two days
and a half for XXX5. To Exmaster, Nunnington, and Exeter in four days xls. To
Stamford m two days for XX5. To Newark ia two days and a half for xxvs. To

* "Notes and Queries."


Bawtrey in three days for x.xxs. To Doncaster and Ferribridge for xxxv*. To
York in four days for XLs.

" Mondays and Wednesdays to Ockinton and Plimouth for Ls, Every Monday
to Helperby and Northallerton for xlv.?. To Darneton Fen-yhd for L*. To Divrham
for LV5. To Newcastle for nil., to Edinburgh for iyI. a peece, Mondays. Every
Friday to Wakefield in four days for XLs."

The foUowiug copy of a bill twenty years later shows no improve-
ment in the rate of travelling : —


" Begins on Monday the 18 of March 1678.

" AH that are desirous to pass from London to York or return from York to
London or any other Place on that Road ; Let them repair to the Black Swan in
Holborn in London and the Black Swan in Cony-Street in York.

" At both which places they may be received in a stage-coach every Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday, which performs the whole jom-ney iii Foui" days (if God
permit) and sets forth by Six in the Mornmg.

" And retiu-ns from York to Doncaster in the Forenoon, to Newark in a day and
a half, to Stamford in Two days and from Stamford to London in Two days more.

r Henry Mottlen,
" Performed by < Maegaeet Gardnee,
C Francis Gardner."

Sixty years later, the following advertisement appeared in " The
Daily Advertiser" of the 9th April, 1739 :—

" The old standing constant Froom Flying Waggon in Tlu'ee Days.

" Sets out with Goods and Passengers from Froom for London every Monday by
One o'clock in the morning, and will be at the King's Arms Inn, Holborn, by Twelve
o'clock at noon ; from whence it will set out on Thm-sday morning by One o'clock
for Amesbury, Shrewton, Chittern, Heytesbury, Warminster, Froom, and aU other
places adjacent, and will continue allowing each passenger fourteen pounds, and be
at Froom on Saturday by Twelve at noon. " Joseph Clavet."

On the 17th of April, 1767, the following advertisement

also appeared in " Crutwell's Sherborne, Shaftesbury, and Dorchester

Journal :" —

" The Proprietors of the

In order to make it more agreeable to their Friends in the West, have
engaged to set out Post Chaises from the Christopher Inn in Wells every Sunday,
Tuesday, and Thm-sday evenings, at Five o'clock, to stop at the George Inn, at
Shepton Mallett, and set out from thence at a quarter past Six, to carry pas-
sengers and parcels to Frome, to be forwarded from thence to London in the

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