SOURCES FOR HIGHWAY RESEARCH
Compiled by Nick Jeffery
Updated October 2003
Introductory Books | Books about Maps | Books about Local History | Books on Particular Subjects | Specialist Publishers
Special Interest | Other Useful Contacts | Useful Websites
At the November 2002 NFBA workshop I agreed to prepare a source list which might be of some help to researchers - not that I consider myself an expert in the subject!
The following is a list of books and other material I have found useful when conducting research. I have made some personal comments on the entries which are obviously subjective. Where I have quoted availability it is based on information confirmed by me on or around 6.11.02.
I am not for one moment suggesting that purchase of these is necessary –– all should be available on loan by requesting your library to obtain them via the inter-library loan system, although there may be a delay in obtaining them. Bookshops should be able to obtain publications which are in print without incurring further costs. Additionally many of the publications may be held for reference use in County Archives or Local Studies Libraries so look for them there.
I have also given some more 'general' publications. Always bear in mind in your research section 32 of the Highways Act 1980. This lays down the law when historic evidence of the dedication of any way as a highway is being considered:
'A court or other tribunal, before determining whether a way has or has not been dedicated as a highway, or the date on which such dedication, if any, took place, shall take into consideration any map, plan or history of the locality or other relevant document which is tendered in evidence, and shall give such weight thereto as the court or tribunal considers justified by the circumstances, including the antiquity of the tendered document, the status of the person by whom and the purpose for which it was made or compiled, and the custody in which it has been kept and from which it is produced.'
This means that the more information you can give as to the reason why the record was produced, the reputation or status of the compiler, how it has been held (e.g. by a government department, open to public inspection) the more authoritative you will appear. If you can 'bring to life' your research this can only go down well with whoever is considering it.
Road Research – An Introduction to Rights of Way Evidence
Published by the author 1992
28 pages, 210 x 146 mm softback
£5 inc p &p from Tim Stevens, 99 Cheshire Street, Market Drayton TF9 1AE (cheques payable to Tim Stevens) or from NFBA, The Barn, Mankinholes, Todmorden OL14 6HR (cheques payable to NFBA)
Tim Stevens, LARA's MRDO, has been a speaker at NFBA seminars and is renowned for his expertise in rights of way matters. This slim booklet is perfectly described by its title. Despite its compactness it contains a wealth of information on how to conduct research, sources, practical tips and more.
On the Right Track
Dr John Sugden
British Horse Society 2000
352 pages, 210mm x 147 mm softback
£15 + £1.50 p&p from the British Horse Society Bookshop , Stoneleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warks CV8 2XZ
tel: 01926 707762, bookshop website: www.britishhorse.com (10% member's discount available)
This book is based on BHS training material and contains a general description of the legal background and good information on various types of historical evidence. Less 'technical' than the Blue Book (see next entry).
John Sugden was formerly BHS Regional Bridleways Officer for Yorkshire and Humberside and has been a speaker at NFBA seminars.
The Blue Book
Rights of Way – A Guide to Law and Practice
John Riddall And John Trevelyan
Open Spaces Society and Ramblers Association, third edition 2001
714 pages, 228 mm x 153 mm, softback
£20 + £4.70 p &p from Ramblers Association (Sales), 2nd Floor, 87-90 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7TW
tel: 020 7339 8500, website: www.ramblers.org.uk
John Riddall is a retired Senior Law Lecturer and Land Law author, active in the Open Spaces Society and Ramblers Association. John Trevelyan worked for the Ramblers Association from 1976 to 1998 and is a rights of way consultant. This is universally known as the 'Blue Book' and is indispensable as a reference book on rights of way law by providing a readily -accessible source of applicable legislation. At first sight a rather intimidating volume but once you've used it you'll wonder how you ever managed without it. It contains both descriptive material and the text of virtually every piece of legislation (England and Wales only) relevant to rights of way.
BOOKS ABOUT MAPS
Discovering Antique Maps
A. G. Hodgkiss
Shire Publications 1998
120 pages, 176 mm x 112 mm, softback
A very good introduction to the subject with a good bibliography and section on county maps.
Maps for Family History – Public Record Office Readers Guide No 9
PRO Publications 1994
85 pages 297 mm x 210 mm softback
Currently out of print – the PRO intends to publish a new edition early in 2004
William Foot was employed in the Public Record Office for many years. This book is a guide to the records of the Tithe Surveys 1836-c.1850 (under the Tithe Commutation Act 1836); the Valuation Office (under the Finance (1909-10) Act 1910); and the National Farm Survey 1941-43. It describes the records made, where they are held, all with examples and much useful background. As it is prepared by the PRO it is considered authoritative. Well worth tracking down a copy for any work on Finance Act material.
Ordnance Survey Maps – A Concise Guide for Historians
Charles Close Society for the Study of Ordnance Survey Maps, 1993
192 pages, 243 mm x 168 mm, softback
£12.95 inc p&p (cheques to Charles Close Society) from the Publications Manager, The Charles Close Society, 11 Riverdale, Wetherby, Yorkshire, LS22 6RP
Details of the Charles Close Society and its publications on the web at www.charlesclosesociety.org.uk or from The Hon. Secretary, Charles Close Society, c/o Map Library, British Library, Euston Road, London NW1 2DB. Current membership is £10 p.a. individual, £15 corporate
Richard Oliver has written extensively on Ordnance Survey maps. This book effectively replaces Brian Harley's earlier work (see below) and is invaluable in OS studies.
Ordnance Survey Maps – A Descriptive Manual
J. B. Harley
Ordnance Survey, 1975
200 pages + 40 plates
OUT OF PRINT
An expanded version of the above. Dr J. B. Harley was the historian of the Ordnance Survey.
Indexes to the 1/2500 and 6-Inch Scale Maps: England and Wales
(reprint of c. 1905-06 OS publication)
David Archer, 2002
118 pages, 293 mm x 210 mm, softback
£19.50 from David Archer, tel: 01686 670382
Useful to identify which map is needed for a particular area. It contains a history of the development of the two scales and a reproduction of the 'Conventional signs and writing' (i.e. key) to the two scales. David Archer is prominent in the Charles Close Society, a map dealer (specialising in OS maps) and also publishes a number of OS related books.
The Tithe Maps of England and Wales – A Cartographic Analysis and County-by-County Catalogue
Roger J. P. Kain and Richard R Oliver
Cambridge University Press, 1995
This massive book is useful to identify what tithe records may be in existence, where they are located and of the process that was followed.
Popular Maps – The Ordnance Survey Popular Edition One-Inch Map of England and Wales 1919-1926
Dr Yolande Hodson
The Charles Close Society for the Study Of Ordnance Survey Maps, 1999
411 pages, 251 mm x 172 mm, hardback
£30 from the Charles Close Society (see above)
Yolande Hodson has written extensively on OS matters and this book was based on her PhD thesis. As the title suggests, it relates specifically to one single series of the 1" map, but is useful in that it goes into the subject very thoroughly as well as giving historical insights. In particular it illustrates the inconsistency between the OS disclaimer (that depiction of roads and footpaths on OS maps is not evidence of a public right of way) and the fact that (a) surveyors' instructions at various times were only to record routes of utility to the public and (b) marketing efforts for the map were strongly directed at ramblers and other tourists.
English Maps – A History
Catherine Delano and Roger J. P. Kain
British Library, 1999
320 pages, 252 mm x 180 mm, hardback
Antique Maps of the British Isles
A 'serious' book on the subject.
B. T. Batsford, 1982
Again, a ‘serious’ book that contains a useful section on the various map-makers.
Historic Parishes of England and Wales
An electronic map of boundaries before 1850 with a gazeteer and metadata
Roger P. Kain and Richard R. Oliver
History Data Service, University Of Essex, Colchester, 2001
CD-ROMS (3 or 9 depending on format selected) plus book
firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://hds.essex.ac.uk (NB Do not insert www!). Cheques payable to University of Essex. 2001 prices - cost of 3 CD-ROM set (Adobe Acrobat PDF format – software supplied) £15 plus £2 p&p, gazetteer book £12.95, 9 CD-ROM set (Acrobat Illustrator v.6 format to provide layers/edit facility – software not supplied) £45 plus £2 p&p.
One of the difficulties in doing historical research is being easily able to determine the parish/township/tithing, etc., boundary prevailing at the time of the creation of the record in which you are interested. Most records in which we are interested will be based on the ‘historic’ boundary in existence before 1850. Kain and Oliver have researched ancient boundaries from a number of sources and put the information on 115 maps stored on CD-ROMs. The book provides a gazetteer and description of the development of boundaries. The CD-ROMs are viewable using Adobe software.
To find out more contact: The History Data Service, UK Data Archive, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ. Tel: 01206 872326. e-mail:
BOOKS ABOUT LOCAL HISTORY
Local History – A Handbook for Beginners
Merton Priory Press, second edition,1998
199 PAGES 215 MM X 138 MM SOFTBACK
As a knowledge of local history underpins all research a ‘starter’ book is useful. This is wide ranging, concisely written and has an excellent reading list.
The Oxford Dictionary of Local and Family History
Oxford University Press, 1997
297 pages, 196 mm x 127 mm, softback
A compact reference book is very useful to provide regnal years (because Acts of Parliament for many years were not identified by name of monarch and the year of their reign) and explanations for all the various strange expressions you will come across in your research.
The Local Historian’s Encyclopedia
Historical Publications Ltd, second edition (distributed by Phillimore)
Phillimore's 2002-03 catalogue lists this as a Phillimore publication due May 2003 with ISBN of 0-948667-83-4 at £17.95.
More comprehensive than the above in most respects and, as its title suggests, leaning more to ‘encyclopedia’ format.
BOOKS ON PARTICULAR SUBJECTS
A Domesday of English Enclosure Acts and Awards
W. E. Tate
University of Reading, 1978
Tate has written extensively on enclosure. This book describes the enclosure process, contains a detailed bibliography and, most usefully, gives a county-by-county description of enclosure acts and awards and where the records relating to them may be found.
Packmen, Carriers and Packhorse Roads
Leicester University Press, 1980; new edition Landmark Publishing, 2001
Trade and communications in North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire. A detailed account of the pre-turnpike network of packhorse trails. An academic study filled with fascinating details.
Railway Records – A Guide to Sources
Public Record Office, 2001
As its title suggests, this identifies the very wide range of railway records.
Seen on the Packhorse Tracks
South Pennine Packhorse Trails Trust, 2002
128 pages, paperback, 105 illustrations
£15 (click here for order form)
The historic network of packhorse tracks, the precursors of the modern road network, can still be found today in upland areas, particularly the South Pennines. The author describes how they were constructed, and the features found along them and includes chapters on the inclosure process and packhorse vocabulary.
What Is a Cross Road?
South Pennine Packhorse Trails Trust, 1997
£7 inc p&p from the South Pennine Packhorse Trails Trust, The Barn, Mankinholes, Todmorden, OL14 6HR (click here for order form)
Invaluable in providing authoritative evidence of the status of routes described as ‘cross road’ on maps from 1675 to 1854.
A prolific publisher of local and family history publications with a good printed catalogue
Phillimore and Co Ltd, Shopwyke Manor Barn, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 2BG
Tel: 01243 787636, e-mail: email@example.com, website: www.phillimore.co.uk
The following Phillimore books are particularly readable and relevant, and contain good bibliographies:
Enclosure Records for Historians
175 pages, 252 mm x 191 mm, hardback
Tithe Surveys for Historians
Roger P. Kain and Hugh C. Prince
146 pages, 252 mm x 191 mm, hardback
Roads and Tracks for Historians
146 pages, 252 mm x 191 mm, hardback
Maps for Historians
160 pages, hardback
The Old Roads of Britain – Alston Moor, Hartside and Geltsdale
Hodology Ltd, 1999
ISBN 0 9533987-1-6
89 pages, softback
£7.50 inc&p (cheques payable to Hodology Ltd) from Alston Book, Hodology Ltd, PO Box 117, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 5YT
A study of an area in the North Pennines that shows just how much information can be found about ancient highways if you really look.
English Local Government: The Story of the King's Highway
Sidney and Beatrice Webb
Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1913
The Story of the King's Highway gives the history of highways going back to before the first Highways Act of 1555.
The Webbs were noted Fabians and social reformers who wrote a series of books on English local government.
OTHER USEFUL CONTACTS
British Library: 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
tel: 020 7412 7332, website: www.bl.uk
(more properly called The Parliamentary Archives)
House of Lords Records Office
tel: 020 7219 3074, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.parliament.uk
Apart from various descriptive leaflets there is a comprehensive guide to the records of Parliament available:
Guide to the Records of Parliament
Maurice F. Bond
352 pages, hardback
Still being sold by Parliamentary Archives in 2002 at £10!
Contains some useful details of how bills were progressed (e.g. railways, turnpikes) although the majority of the book is not of direct relevance.
Public Record Office
Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU Tel: 0208 876 3444 e-mail: email@example.com
The PRO produces a large number of information leaflets which are also accessible on their website. Subjects covered include Ordnance Survey Records, Enclosure Awards, Tithe Records, Finance Act Records and Maps in the PRO.
Access to Archives
The A2A database contains catalogues describing archives held throughout England and dating from the 900s to the present day
Bodleian Library: www/bodley.ox.ac.uk
World’s 7th largest collection of maps: over 1 million sheet maps and 20,000 atlases; comprehensive collection of OS maps
British Library: www.bl.uk
Access to the main British Library catalogues
Access to catalogues of twenty-four of the largest university research libraries in UK and Ireland plus the British Library and the National Library of Scotland
Historical Manuscripts Commission/Manorial Documents Register: www.hmc.gov.uk
Not as yet comprehensive, but wonderful if you are researching Wales, Norfolk, the Yorkshire Ridings, Hampshire or the Isle of Wight
Historical maps on-line county by county, including those on county record office sites
Old Maps: www.old-maps.co.uk
OS first edition 6-inch maps on line
Public Record Office: www.pro.gov.uk
Royal Society: www.royalsoc.ac.uk
Catalogue of the 6-inch and 25-inch county maps and town plans of England and Wales and the Isle of Man, and of the one-inch and smaller scale maps, and other publications of the Ordnance Survey of the United Kingdom, to 1 January 1907
Victoria County History: www.england.past.net
The new VCH, which is currently being compiled, will record the authentic factual history of every city, town and village in England
updated sh, SPPTT
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