The Old Bridge at BerwickRecently added
1 April 2014
Mediaeval Roads - Fife: charters for Abbey of the Isle of May (Garvald & Whittinghame, East Lothian)

February 2014

Newsletter No.18 - see below
What's New (26.2.2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Link to newsletter no.18Link to Newsletter 17Newsletter 16, April 2013Newsletter 14Newsletter No.11Newsletter No.6Newsletter: Rambles on Old Roads. No.18. Feb. 2014 Webpage
In this issue we look at some medieval roads in Fifeshire, a useful feature on Ordnance Survey maps related to turnpike roads, and Roman Roads in the Fife Peninsula.

For previous newsletters see here.

Pack road near CarsphairnThis site aims to provide an overview of the history of roads and tracks in Scotland. Its focus at present is on identifying the course taken by roads and tracks in different historical periods but it is hoped eventually to provide some analysis as to the reasons a route developed and the factors that influenced the course it took.
Further sections are planned on roads in different time periods as well as a history of legislation relating to roads and traffic.

Map courtesy David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

Historical Overview
This section gives an overview of roads and tracks in Scotland covering the first tracks of prehistoric man, Roman roads, the Dark Ages and a brief "golden age" in early mediaeval times. It also covers the post-mediaeval period and the statute labour system that developed at that time and then the turnpike system which lasted to the late 1800ís when roads became the responsibility of local authorities, a situation that has continued to the present time.

Roads and Tracks of Ayrshire
A study of roads and tracks in Ayrshire from prehistoric times up to the present. It covers prehistory, Roman times, the Dark Ages and the mediaeval and post medieval periods. Details of the pre-turnpike system shown on the Military Survey maps of c.1750 are given followed by details of the turnpikes and local parish roads. It concludes with an account of the work undertaken by the County Road Board and Ayr County Council.

List of Resources on Old Scottish Roads
This section lists a large number of resources which will be found useful in studying old Scottish roads, whether in a particular part of the country, a specific historical period or a type of road such as military or drove roads.

 

Link to Blaeu Atlas

Roads in the 1600's: The Maps of Timothy Pont
Apart from showing a number of roads, these maps, first published in 1654 in Blaeu's Atlas but surveyed in the 1590's show river crossings and placenames that help to reconstitute the road network of the time.

 

Old OS map with roads superimposed

The Military Survey of Scotland
The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 made the authorities aware of the need for accurate maps if they were to  control the Highlands. In 1747 a survey of the whole country was started under the direction of William Roy.
The resulting maps at a scale of 1 inch to 1000 yards
provide a wealth of information about Scotland at that  time, including roads.

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland
The Old and New Statistical Accounts of Scotland, written respectively in the 1790's and 1830's, give a description of each parish in the country. These accounts contain many details of roads and transport that would otherwise have been lost.
In this section, details are given for each parish with links to the original text.

 

 

Roads in 1859
In 1859, the Commissioners for Inquiring into the state of Public Roads in Scotland published a comprehensive review of Scotland's roads. They recommended far reaching changes that eventually resulted in the end of the turnpike system and statute labour roads.

 

Roads by County
For those interested in roads in a particular county, this section provides links to parts of this website dealing with specific counties as well as useful external links. It also has summaries of roads entries from the county volumes of the Cambridge County Geographies published in the early 1900's.

 

Miscellaneous
Short articles on various topics. Currently contains notes on the road between Newbattle Abbey and the Monklands, an old road between Ayr and Kirkcudbright, some roads referred to in mediaeval charters, references to roads in Chalmers' Caledonia and MacFarlane's Geographical Collections, the toll points of Ayr and Rutherglen, Wade's Military Roads and Roman roads.
The newsletter Rambles on Old Roads can be accessed here.

 

About the author: This site has been developed by Gerald Cummins who worked as a road safety officer in several local authorities in the west of Scotland. His most recent post was with East Ayrshire Council where he developed an interest in the old roads of Ayrshire. Since retirement he has been working on roads in the south of Scotland.

Acknowledgements
: I should like to thank former colleagues in East Ayrshire Council for their interest and support in this work. In particular I have to thank Jim Kane, Head of Roads and Transportation for his support and Tom Allan both for his interest and for information about the 1878 List of Roads and Bridges in Ayrshire.

A number of excerpts from Ordnance Survey maps dating from 1945 or before are included to make the text easier to follow. My thanks to the OS for advising me on the use of these maps. My thanks also to the National Library of Scotland for permission to use images from the Blaeu Atlas and Pont originals and to library and archive staff in Ayr, Dumfries and other locations.

Copyright: Although the site is copyright ©, links are welcome. Please contact me if you wish to use any other material on your own website.

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