Focused on the period between 1500 and 1700, Land Travel and Communications in Tudor and Stuart England documents the unprecedented growth that occurred in road travel by all sections of society, from paupers to princes; the burgeoning volume of wheeled vehicles using the highways; and the radical changes in the means by which correspondence was conveyed throughout the realm and beyond.
Unprecedented growth in ordinary travel by road occurred in Tudor and Stuart England between c.1500 and c.1700: increasingly complex itineraries and ambitious distances were achieved. Though mostly repaired in only rudimentary fashion, England’s highways supported increasing volumes of pedestrian, equine, and wheeled traffic. The framing of legal provisions for road maintenance and the burgeoning production of way-finding materials reflected the scale of demand. As well as considering regular trips to local markets or county fairs or for the freighting of building materials, the book considers the quotidian peregrinations of common and private carriers, chapmen journeying to sell to distant customers, the escort of prisoners to county gaols, wounded soldiers struggling homeward, and itinerant paupers on the move. The twice-yearly circuits of assize court judges and the more frequent movement of county justices and apparitors serving bishops’ courts are also reviewed. Journeys by players and other entertainers are included, and elite tourists travelling both within the realm and beyond for experience, education, and improved job prospects are considered. The ostentatious, orchestrated travels of monarchs and the high-born, and the stressful journeys of royalty on the run are also featured.
Mark Brayshay is Professor of Historical Geography at the University of Plymouth.
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1 Land travel and communications in the Tudor and Stuart state
2 The Tudor and Stuart highway network
3 Wayfinding and the means of travel
4 Travel by the ordinary users of the highways
5 Travel by élite users of the highways
6 Communication by messenger and post
Appendix 1 Masters of the Posts, 1512-1685
Appendix 2 Posts of the Court and Posts of London, 1540s–1630s
Appendix 3 Post Stages and Posts Serving on 1 April 1556
Appendix 4 Post Stages and Posts Serving on 1 April 1599
Appendix 5 The Post Office Establishment, 1695-1696
Appendix 6 Postal Services and Charges, England and the Colonies
One of the most useful aspects of the work for historians is the seventy-one routes and road networks, sites of road and bridge repairs, carriers' schedules and destinations, patterns of militia deployment, travel routes of major dramatic companies, routes of royal progresses, carriers' rates,location of posts, and journey times for sending letters from London. Information on these and related subjects will prove enormously useful to those interested in any form of domestic communication between ca. 1500 and ca. 1700.
Robert Tittler Music and Letters
The book adds appreciably to our understanding of the ways in which travel and communication developed within and beyond Britain during the early modern period.
Geoff Timmins, University of Central Lancashire Journal of Transport History
239 x 163 mm
September 29, 2014