Coaching in the 1830s. Tring’s Rose & Crown and Bell Inns were once
staging points for mail and
coaches en route along the turnpike road
between London, Aylesbury and places further afield.
The following makes no claim to be a detailed treatise on the history of
roads nor, for that matter, of those in the market town of Tring in
north-west Hertfordshire to which this account relates. It aims,
instead, to provide readers interested in the history of the town with a
résumé of the events that resulted in the town’s principal roads, much
of the history of which ― so far as we are aware ― is lost in the mists
of time. We have also included some points of general interest
concerning road travel in earlier times. Our narrative is in the
form of a compilation of notes and extracts taken, in the main, from old
books, newspapers and records held in the Hertfordshire Archives.
Having completed two transport-related local histories, one dealing with
the Grand Junction Canal (A Highway Laid
with Water) and the other with London & Birmingham Railway (The
Train now Departing), we felt we ought to place on record
something about the history of our local roads. This proved more
challenging than we first imaged; indeed, we have only succeeded to a
Because most of Tring is a product of the 20th century, we felt,
rightly or not, that there was little to say about our modern estate roads
that would interest potential readers other than students of estate
planning, so we excluded that category. This narrowed things down to
our main roads and those in the old part of the town. Here, the
information, so far as we could unearth it, is scant. Most of our
principal roads date from time immemorial, and there is little on record
until the main north-south road (later the A41) became a turnpike;
even then, a lot of what the turnpike trust entered in their minute book
doesn’t make particularly interesting reading. Nevertheless, we have set out the gist
of what we found, not only about turnpike administration but about other of our
local roads and how
they were used in bygone days.
The following narrative falls into three sections. For the benefit of
readers unfamiliar with the subject, the first section provides a brief
historical background to roads in general. The second section focuses on
our local roads and their users. The third section contains an overview
of road building in England, from the Romans occupation to the present age.
These web pages will be updated as the results of further research
I.P. & W.A.