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Description of Modern Birmingham 1818 by Charles Pye - extracts

Spargone

master brummie
"Yardley, in Worcestershire, distant three miles.

The road to this village lies up Deritend and Bordesley, then crossing the Warwick canal, you leave the ruins of Bordesley-house, and when through the turnpike, there being three roads you proceed along the centre, in which there are good accommodations for the pedestrian, but the carriage road does not appear to have experienced any improvement since it was first formed; for before you reach the village, the road is for a considerable distance from twenty to forty feet below the surface of the ground, on each side of it.

The church, which is dedicated to St. Giles, is an ancient pile of building. The tower and elegant spire above it appear at this time as firm and substantial as at their first erection, although they are so ancient that there are not any records to say when they were built: the body of the church is not so perfect. In the chancel there are several monuments to commemorate the Greswolds, an ancient family, formerly resident in this parish. The patronage rests with Edmund Mesey Wigley, Esq. The present vicar is the Rev. Joseph Fell. Adjoining the church-yard is an half-timbered building of large dimensions, which is a free school, liberally endowed, the salary of the master being £100 per annum.


The land in this parish being very suitable for making of tiles, innumerable quantities are there manufactured, for the supply of Birmingham."

The author seems to have got confused with the parish church of Sheldon, Saint Giles, and the parish church of Yardley, Saint Edburgha. Throughout the fascinating work are several mentions, as above, to roads being worn below the level of the surrounding land by a considerable amount. That must have made travel very hard in the wet and surely landslides must have been common?
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have seen elsewhere that some minor country roads, particularly in the west country , are in "canyons" for that very reason
 

Rupertstill

proper brummie kid
Holloway Head was such a road. Hence the name perhaps. Although the Dog and Duck seems to be at road level in 1865'. Behind the middle of the roof...not very visible... are the remains of Holloway Head windmill; which can be seen on the Lines' drawing of the Theater Royal in New Street from a roof top in Temple Row.
 

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Spargone

master brummie
I have seen elsewhere that some minor country roads, particularly in the west country , are in "canyons" for that very reason
I thought West Country roads were in 'canyons' because the farmers hedged and ditched the roads to dissuade 'the hunt' which otherwise had the right to roam where they will?

Road levels are quite fascinating. Take for instance the Georgian town houses in Bath. If the back garden is taken to be 'ground zero' then they lead onto what would now be let as 'the garden flat'. Move to the front and these flats look out into 'the area', below street level. Under the pavement will be the old coal cellar. Was the garden excavated or was the road built up. I believe that in Glasgow there are abandoned shops below what is now street level. Towns that have rivers sometimes have roads just above river level and other roads crossing at bridge level.

Abandoned Roman roads, however, seem to have kept their levels, perhaps they were better made?
 

mikejee

Super Moderator
Staff member
As there are lengths in various places, such as the Lake district, still looking quite durable, then that is probably it.
 
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