From the middle of the twelfth to the middle of the {24}thirteenth century the export of wool, leather, lead, tin and other English commodities was in the hands almost exclusively of foreign merchants, who came here both to purchase these raw materials and to dispose of the products of their own or other countries; and Sturbridge Fair, as it happened, formed a convenient trading centre alike for foreign and for English traders, the question 长沙桑拿按摩 of inland communication being, in fact, once more the dominating factor in the situation.

Foreign goods destined for the fair were mostly brought, first, to the port of Lynn, and there transferred to barges in which they were taken along the Ouse to the Cam, and so on to the fair ground which, on one side, was bordered by the latter stream. Heavy goods sent by water from London and the southern counties, or coming by sea from the northern ports, reached the fair by the same route. Great quantities of hops brought to the fair from the south-eastern or midland counties by land or water were, in turn, despatched via the Cam, the Ouse and the port of Lynn to Hull, Newcastle, and elsewhere for consignment to places to be reached by the Humber, the Tyne, etc. Where water transport was not available the services of packhorses were 长沙桑拿全套 brought into requisition until the time came when the roads had been sufficiently improved to allow of the use of waggons.

In his “Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain” Defoe gives a graphic account of Sturbridge Fair as he saw it in 1723. By that date it had become, in his opinion, “not only the greatest in the whole Nation, but in the World.” It covered an area of about half a square mile, had shops placed in rows like streets, with an open square known


as the Duddery, and comprised “all Trades that can be named in London, with Coffee-houses, Taverns, and Eating-houses innumerable, and all in Tents and Booths.” He speaks of £100,000 worth of woollen manufactures being sold in less than a week, and of—

“The prodigious trade carry’d on here by Wholesale-men from London, and all parts of England, who transact their Business wholly in their Pocket-Books, and meeting their Chapmen from all Parts, make up their Accounts, receive Money chiefly in Bills, and take Orders: These, they say, exceed by far the sales of Goods actually brought to the Fair, and deliver’d in kind; it being frequent for the London {25}Wholesale Men to carry back orders from their Dealers for ten Thousand Pounds-worth of Goods a man, and some much more. This especially respects those People, who deal in heavy Goods, as Wholesale Grocers, Salters, Brasiers,


Iron-Merchants, Wine-Merchants and the like; but does not exclude the Dealers in Woollen Manufactures, and especially in Mercery Goods of all sorts, the Dealers in which generally manage their Business in this Manner:

“Here are Clothiers from Halifax, Leeds, Wakefield and Huddersfield in Yorkshire, and from Rochdale, Bury, &c. in Lancashire, with vast Quantities of Yorkshire Cloths, Kerseys, Pennistons, Cottons, &c., with all sorts of Manchester Ware, Fustians and Things made of Cotton Wooll; of which the Quantity is so great, that they told me there were near a Thousand Horse-packs of such Goods from that Side of the Country….

“In the Duddery I saw one Ware-house or Booth, with six Apartments in it, all belonging to a Dealer in Norwich Stuffs alone, and who, they said, had there above Twenty Thousand Pounds value in those Goods alone.

“Western Goods had their Share here, also, and several Booths were fill’d as full with Serges, Du-Roys, Druggets, Shalloons, Cataloons, Devonshire Kersies, &c., from Exeter, Taunton, Bristol, and other Parts West, and some from London also.

“But all this is still outdone, at least in Show, by two Articles, which are the Peculiars of this Fair, and do not begin till the other Part of the Fair, that is to say, for the Woollen Manufacture, begins to draw to a Close: These are the Wooll and the Hops: As for the Hops there is scarce any price fix’d for Hops in England till they know how they fell at Sturbridge Fair: the Quantity that appears in the Fair is indeed prodigious…. They are brought directly from Chelmsford in Essex, from Canterbury and Maidstone in Kent and from Farnham in Surrey; besides what are brought from London, the Growth of those and other places.”

In the North of England, Defoe continues, few hops had formerly been used, the favourite beverage there being a “pale smooth ale” which required no hops. But for some years hops had been used more than before in the brewing of the great quantity of beer then being produced in the {26}North, and traders from beyond the Trent came south to buy their hops at Cambridge, taking them back to Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire, Lancashire and even to Scotland. Of wool, according to the same authority, the quantity disposed of at a single fair would be of the value of £50,000 or £60,000.

In writing on this same Sturbridge fair, Thorold Rogers says, in his “History of Agriculture and Prices”:—

“The concourse must have been a singular medley. Besides the people who poured forth from the great towns … there were, beyond doubt, the representatives of many nations collected together to this great mart of medieval commerce. The Jew, expelled from England, had given place to the Lombard exchanger. The Venetian and Genoese merchant came with his precious stock of Eastern produce, his Italian silks and velvets, his store of delicate glass. The Flemish weaver was present with his linens of Liége and Ghent. The Spaniard came with his stock of iron, the Norwegian with his tar and pitch. The Gascon vine-grower was ready to trade in the produce of his vine-yard; and, more rarely, the richer growths of Spain, and, still more rarely, the vintages of Greece were also supplied. The Hanse towns sent furs and amber, and probably were the channels by which the precious stones of the East were supplied through the markets of Moscow and Novgorod. And perhaps by some of those unknown courses, the history of which is lost, save by the relics which have occasionally been discovered, the porcelain of the farthest East might have been seen in many of the booths. Blakeney, and Colchester, and Lynn, and perhaps Norwich, were filled with foreign vessels, and busy with the transit of various produce; and Eastern England grew rich under the influence of trade. How keen must have been the interest with which the franklin and bailiff, the one trading on his own account, the other entrusted with his master’s produce, witnessed the scene, talked of the wonderful world about them, and discussed the politics of Europe!

“To this great fair came, on the other hand, the woolpacks which then formed the riches of England and were the envy of outer nations. The Cornish tin-mine sent its produce…. Thither came also salt from the springs of Worcestershire … lead from the mines of Derbyshire and iron, either raw or {27}manufactured, from the Sussex forges. And besides these, there were great stores of those kinds of agricultural produce which, even under the imperfect cultivation of the time, were gathered in greater security, and therefore in greater plenty, than in any other part of the world, except Flanders.”

Other leading fairs, besides that of Sturbridge, included Bartholomew Fair, in London, and those of Boston, Chester and Winchester; while Holinshed says of the conditions in the second half of the sixteenth century, “There is almost no town in England but hath one or two such marts holden yearlie in the same.” In the case of Bartholomew Fair, its decay was directly due to the fact that there came a time when English manufacturers could produce cloth equal in quality to that from Bruges, Ghent and Ypres which had been the chief commodity sold at this particular fair, thenceforward no longer needed. But the eventual decline alike of Sturbridge and of most of the other fairs carrying on a general trade was mainly due to the revolutionary changes in commerce, industry and transport to which improved facilities for distribution inevitably led.
It was in the year A.D. 411 that the Roman legions were withdrawn from Britain, and it was not until 1555, or 1144 years after their departure, that the first general Act was passed, not for the construction, but for the repair of roads in this country. In the meantime such further construction or repairing as was actually done had been left to the Church, to private benevolence, to landowners acting either voluntarily or in accordance with the conditions on which they held their estate, or to the inefficient operation of the common law obligation that the inhabitants of a parish must repair the highways within the same.

A writer in 1823, William Knight Dehany, of the Middle Temple, in a book on “The General Turnpike Acts,” comes to the conclusion, after careful research into the records of this early period, that “With the exception of the principal roads communicating with the important sea ports and fortresses of the Kingdom (probably the four great roads formed either by the Romans or Saxons), the other highways were but tracks over unenclosed grounds, where the passenger selected his path over the space which presented the firmest footing and fewest impediments, as is the case in the present day in forests and wastes in remote situations.” He considers that when packhorses only were used for the transport of burdens, the state of the roads was not a subject of much interest and importance; but certain it is that the subject became more acute when the greater traffic that resulted from expanding trade and commerce led to the roads getting into an even worse condition than they had been in previously.

The earliest road legislation that can be traced was an Act passed in 1285, in the reign of Edward I., directing that on highways leading from one market town to another “there be {29}neither dyke, tree nor bush whereby a man may lurk to do hurt within two hundred feet on either side of the way”; but this measure was designed for the protection of travellers against robbers, and had no concern with the repair of the roads. In 1346 tolls were imposed, by authority of Edward III., for the repair of three roads in London, namely, “the King’s highway between the hospital of St. Giles and the bar of the old temple (in Holborn)”; what is now Gray’s Inn Road (“being very much broken up and dangerous”), and another road, supposed to be St. Martin’s Lane. These tolls, according to Macpherson’s “Annals of Commerce” (1805) were to be imposed for a period of two years upon all cattle, merchandise and other goods passing along the roads in question; they were fixed at the rate of one penny in the pound on the value of the animals or goods taxed, and they were to be paid by all persons, except, curiously enough, “lords, ladies, and persons belonging to religious establishments or to the Church.” Then, in 1353, “the highway between Temple-bar and Westminster being already rendered so deep and miry by the carts and horses carrying merchandise and provision at the staple that it was dangerous to pass upon it,” the King required the owners of houses alongside to repair the road in consideration of the increased value of their property owing to the establishment of the staple.[5]

Reference has already been made (page 13) to the concession by Edward III. to “Phelippe the hermit” of the right to impose tolls for the repair of the road on Highgate Hill. Macpherson further says, under 长沙桑拿酒店 date 1363:—

“The equitable mode of repairing the roads by funds collected from those who used them was now so far established that we find, besides the renewals of the tolls for the Westminster road almost annually, tolls granted this year for the road between Highgate and Smithfield, for that from Wooxbridge (Uxbridge) to London, and for the venel called Faytor (Fetter) lane in Holburn.”