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By Alan Cooper

From the time of Alfred the nice until eventually past the tip of the center a while, bridges have been very important to the rulers and folks of britain, yet they have been dear and tough to take care of. Who then used to be liable for their maintenance? the reply to this question alterations over the centuries, and how within which it alterations unearths a lot approximately legislation and tool in medieval England. the advance of legislation about the upkeep of bridges didn't keep on with a simple line: criminal rules built via the Anglo-Saxons, which had made the 1st age of bridge development attainable, have been rejected by means of the Normans, and royal attorneys of the 13th and fourteenth centuries needed to locate new strategies to the matter. The destiny of well-known bridges, specifically London Bridge, indicates the best way the non secular, old and entrepreneurial mind's eye used to be pressed into carrier to discover strategies; the destiny of humbler bridges indicates the urgency with which this challenge used to be debated around the kingdom. via focusing on this element of useful governance and tracing it during the process the center a while, a lot is proven in regards to the boundaries of royal strength and the creativity of the medieval felony brain. ALAN COOPER is Assistant Professor of heritage at Colgate collage.

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Extra resources for Bridges, Law and Power in Medieval England, 700-1400

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67 A similar process was underway on the opposite side of the river with the development of Southwark. Consequently, the same amount of water was being squeezed into an increasingly constricted space. The final aspect of development that would have contributed to the change in the rivers was the damming and canalization of rivers to provide power for watermills. The creation of artificially deep mill-ponds and fast mill-races made previously fordable rivers impossible to cross. This process was already well advanced by the eleventh century.

150 Die Briefe des heiligen Bonifatius, ed. Tangl, p. 142 (no. 69); the quotation is from Ecclesiastes 12:13. 151 Die Briefe des heiligen Bonifatius, ed. Tangl, p. 151 (no. 73). 31 Bridges, Law and Power Furthermore it is reported to us that you have abused many privileges of churches and even carried off some of their properties. And this, if it is true, is considered a great sin … [for] he who embezzles or snatches the properties of Christ and the Church shall be deemed a homicide in the sight of the righteous judge … And it is said that your reeves (prefecti) and ealdormen (comites) inflict greater violence and slavery upon monks and priests than other Christian kings have done before.

P. 114), but Gelling and Cole include Abingdon in their list of ‘-dun’ (hill) names (p. 168). 67 Tony Dyson, Documents and Archaeology: The Medieval London Waterfront (London, 1989), pp. 12–24, esp. pp. 18, 24 and figures 24–6, p. 15. 68 Archaeological evidence now puts the initial invention of the watermill in the third century or before; eight Roman watermills have been found in Britain. Moreover, archaeology has challenged, in this as in most aspects, the notion of wholesale collapse after the decline of Rome.

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