Page images

bequeath to the way called 'Causy' of Norton by Malton, 40s."1

Robert de Howm, Mayor of York in 1368, by will dated Sept. 15, 1396, bequeathed "for mending of the common way in Gillygate, in the suburbs of York, 100s. And for the repair of the ways in Monkgate and of the pavement beyond Monkbridge, as it shall need, 10 marks. And for mending the ways between York and Tollerton, 40s. And for mending the way on this side and beyond Kexby Ferry, 40s. And for mending of the bad ways and pitfalls upon Hessay Moor, 40s. And for repairing of the bridge of Thornton, near Helperby, 100s. Also I bequeath for rebuilding of the new bridge to be made between Elvington and Sutton, £4."2

The testator was probably a native of Holme-on-Spalding Moor, and was familiar with the road leading thereto, hence his interest in amending the roadway near Kexby Ferry. This item evidently suggests that a bridge over the River Derwent at Kexby did not exist at this period.

Richard Pigot, Serjeant-at-Law, a great and wealthy lawyer of London and York in the reigns of Henry VI and Edward IV, whose will was proved at York Aug. 3rd, 1484, amongst other bequests, adds :

Item, to be disposed for that I have been occupied in the worlde, and taken men's money, and not done so effectually for it as I ought to have done, for there soules, and all Cristen soules, in making of high wayes, and othre gude dedes of charitee, by the discrecion of my saide executores, c marc. (£66 13s. 4d)."3

Robert Plumpton, town clerk of York, of St. Michael's parish, Spurriergate, York, died March 23rd, 1507:—“I will yt my executor make as mych coste of mendyng of ye watteryngstede as men goys to ye Dringhowses as commys to iiij mark.”4

This "watteryng stede" was on the west side of The Mount roadway, just on the crest of the hill, opposite Elm Bank House, and was in existence and used as a watering place for cattle until about forty years ago.

John Carre, Lord Mayor of York in 1448 and 1456, and M.P. in 1448, was a great benefactor to St. Sampson's Church, in which he was buried:-"I bewitt xli. to making of ways wtin the fraunches of York."5

1 Some Early Civic Wills, by R. B. Cook, Associated Architectural Papers, vol. xxviii, p. 830.

2 Ibid., p. 850.

3 Test. Ebor., vol. iii, p. 286.
4 Ibid., vol. iv, p. 260.

5 Ibid., p. 29.

Thomas Pereson, Sub-Dean of York and Rector of Bolton Percy, died Oct. 28, 1491, and was buried in the nave of York Minster:-"Ad emend. viarum regiarum circa civ. Ebor., xls."1

Dame Joan Chamberleyn, of York, a great benefactress to St. Mary's Abbey, in which she was buried, died in 1502 :— "I wit to my executores my place in Hundgate, which place I wyll the sell; and the money for the said to be disposid for the wele of my soule; that is to say . . . . and to wayes and briges, broken or hurte to the neuance or niuertie of Crysten people, amendynge and reparinge."2

John Petty, glasier, Lord Mayor of York 1508, who died Nov. 12th during his year of office, left:-"To the skowryng of ye dike of Sanct Anne Chapell vs., so yt ony other will make ye brigges."3

Alison Clark, widow of York, will proved Aug. 7, 1509:"I wit vjs. viijd. to help to pave the cawse be side Sainct Antony's in the Horsfare."4

Sir John Gilliott, Knt., Lord Mayor of York 1490 and 1503, and sometime Master of the Merchants' Company, died Feb. 22, 1510" To emendyng & makyng of hie waies abowt Yorke, where most neid is, xx marc."5

[ocr errors]

John Marshall, merchant, of York, will dated Dec. 15, 1524 : Item, I bequeath to amendyng of hie wais aboute Yorke, where as is nede, xls."

John Norman, Lord Mayor of York 1524, M.P. in 1522-3, and Master of the Merchants' Company in 1515 and 1516"To the Chamberlayne iiijli., to be emploied for the common well of the citie; that is to saye, xls. towardes the reparacion of the common staithe, and xls. towardes the amendyng of the Kynge's hye waye aboute Sanct Nicholas Churche, agaynste th'est ende, withoute Walmegate Barre."

Cardinal Pole, in 1557, in his visitation articles, inquired at York "whether any do withhold any money or goods bequeathed to the mending of the highways or other charitable deed ? "8

Indulgences were also granted by Popes and Bishops for the maintenance of particular high-roads or bridges which were specifically mentioned in their grants. Recorded on the archives

1 Test. Ebor., vol. iv, p. 54.

2 Ibid, p. 202.

3 Ibid. p. 335.

4 Ibid., vol. v, p. 5.

5 Ibid., p. 16.

6 Ibid., p. 192.

7 Ibid, p. 214.

8 Lay Folks' Mass Book, p. 337.

at the Vatican, Rome, under date Feb., 1401, alms are sought "for conservation and for the new construction and sustenation of the ways commonly called 'Giligate' and 'Horsefair,' in the suburbs of the city of York."1

Many ancient religious guilds, or lay brotherhoods, animated by pious motives of charity, often repaired bridges and roads; which good works the members considered of great importance for their salvation. The Guild of St. Christopher and St. George of York, stimulated by this religious spirit, included road and bridge mending amongst its deeds of beneficence.


At the suppression of the Guild in the year 1548, the Commissioners appointed for the purpose reported how its revewere appropriated:-"The proffites of the brotherheed of the said guyld" are not only applied "to the mayntenance of their common hall, callyd the Guylde Hall of the said citie of Yorke, but also for repayryng and mayntenance of certen stone bridges and highweyes in and about the cytye."2

The Guild of the Holy Cross, Birmingham, "kept in Good Reparaciouns, two greate stone bridges, diuers ffoule and daungerous high wayes."3

In many parts of York, buried cobbled paved ways have at times been found, and these were, no doubt, the work of mediæval pavers. In the fourteenth century a tax or toll towards paving streets was imposed upon merchandise brought to the city. This toll, called pavage, could not be levied or enforced unless a grant had been obtained from the king. The city authorities on various occasions requisitioned the Crown for the privilege, which was invariably obtained, but only for limited periods, and such grants to the city are recorded on the Patent Rolls.

On May 28, 1308, Edward II granted for four years to the mayor, bailiffs, and citizens of York, murage, pontage, and pavage upon all wares brought for sale unto the city.

On Oct. 20, 1319, a similar grant was obtained for a term of ten years.5

On Oct. 26, 1329, the king renewed the privilege for a further term of five years.

The Abbot of St. Mary's, York, was quit of all murages and repairs of pavements throughout the realm.7

1 Papal Letters, vol. v, p. 398.

Yorks. Chantry Surveys, vol. i, p. 82. 3 English Guilds, Toulmin Smith, P. 249.

4 Cal. Patent Rolls, 1307-1313, p. 73.

5 Ibid., 1317 1321. p. 395.

6 Ibid., 1327-1330, P. 457.

7 Charter Rolls, 1226-1237, P. 461.

The Master of the Hospital of St. Leonard was also exempt from pavage and similar tolls.1

Notwithstanding the above grants of pavage are dated early in the fourteenth century, the distinctive occupation of pavior does not appear on the Register of York Freemen until 1387, in which year Richard de Bakewell is the first citizen enrolled as a "paver."

From contemporary evidence of the bad state of the streets, already quoted, what paving was done could not have been thorough or general throughout the city.

The street or old market-place, called The Pavement, was doubtless one of the first or most important street that was paved with cobbles and kept in an efficient condition.

In a post-Reformation document, the case of Gillygate is stated, and particulars of the roadway read thus:

"Gillygate formerly was all Abbot Lands, and the Abbot being Lord thereof, the Owner of the Houses and Grounds adjoining on both Sides the Street, did maintain and pave the King's Highway there lyeing through the saide Street, and a mile further, viz. unto the Forest, and thro' Part of the Forest of Galtres, he being also Lord thereof; the Lord Abbot, upon the Request of the Mayor and Guildable of the Citty of Yorke, did give unto them a Summer Stray upon the Forest of Galtres aforesaide, and a Winter Stray over his Grounds and Demains, lyeing and being without Bowdom and Monk-Barrs; and likewise three Faires for Cattle being yearly holden without Gillygate End (in a Place there called the Horse Faire), the saide Lord Abbot gave the Toles of two of the saide Faires to the Citizens aforesaid, and the Tole of the third Fair is reserved to the Lord Bishop; other Toles likewise of Corne, etc., the Lord Abbot gave unto them; in Lieu whereof, and for the Consideration aforesaide, the Saide Mayor and Guildable was to maintain and pave, as often as need required, the King's Highways in Bowdam, Gilligate, unto the Forest, Part upon the Forest and Monckgate; and the saide Highwayes, not to be any wayes chargeable unto the saide Lord Abbot or his Tenants, the Considerations aforesaid far surmounting the Charges thereof."

"In Gillygate some few Persons pave before their houses for their own Conveniences, by reason that the Workmen or Pavers imployed by the Lord Mayor, make the Causy which is the King's Highway narrower than it has been formerly;

1 Cal Patent Rolls, 1330-1340 p 538.

so certainly such Persons as pave ought not to be punished for their Well-doing, but the others for lessening and diminishing the King's Highway in Breadth ought to be presented."

"If the Lord Mayor have any power to constraine some Persons to pave, why does he not compel all Persons to pave (all along by the King's Causy), which pave not at all, three parts of the Street of Gillygate and Bowdam lyeing unpaved, saveing the King's highway, paved at the Lord Mayor's Charges for the Considerations aforesaide."1

In the eighteenth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, her Majesty's Council issued "Articles to be executed by the Justices of the Peace in the city of York, and of the county of the same city and the liberties thereof." The Queen's Commission was read before the Lord Mayor, Edmund Richardson, and his brother Aldermen and the common Councilmen assembled in the Common Hall, on the 6th August. One clause dealt with the maintenance of roads and ran thus :

"Also to take order for repairing or making of highways and bridges according to the laws of this realm. And if any sum be appointed for these purposes, to see the same procured and the same bestowed as that was appointed."2

A further order from the Privy Council was received two years later:

"And that if you know of any other inconvenience . . amending of highways, bridges, and causeways, . . . . appertaining to your offices, duties, and callings as Justices of the Peace, you shall do well to give order for the amending and repair thereof, and that you yourselves cannot do, to certify the said Lord President and Council thereof, and so shall you show yourselves profitable members of the Commonwealth and careful of the public weal of your county."

By these extracts we learn that the City Council were evidently adopting means for the maintenance of the streets and highroads. Later, when chariots and mail coaches travelled on the roads, more modern methods were devised for the upkeep of the great highways of the realm. In the eighteenth century numerous Turnpike Trusts were formed, and endless new roads were constructed, and older highways were put into a good state of repair.

1 History of York, 1785, vol. ii, p. 204. 2 City Records, fo. 77

3 Ibid., fo. 98b.

« PreviousContinue »