Accounts of the Surveyors of the Highways for the Parish of Harpenden

Photo:Philip Smith's Accounts, 1731

Philip Smith's Accounts, 1731

Scanned from a photocopy in LHS archives - BF 4A/27. Originals in Hertfordshire Archives

Notes on documents held at Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies

By John Wassell

The Surveyors of the Highways were also known as ‘Stonewardens’ and so referred to in several year’s accounts. The position and duties of ‘Surveyors of the Highway’for each Parish were created in 1555 by Statute (2 & 3 Phil. & Mar. Cap. 8) usually quoted as the Highways Act, 1555.

The original documents were photocopied and transcribed by hand by Eileen Haines in the 1970s. The photocopies and transcripts are in the Society's archives - BF 4A.27

List of Accounts for the years noted below. Numbered as noted.

  1. 1713 Richard Crouch, Stonewarden - apparently a separate account from 2.
  2. 1713 Isaac Nichols & John Halsey          
  3. 1714 John Tyler & James Marshall
  4. 1715 William Berry & John Large  
  5. 1716 John Taylor & Thomas Stretcher
  6. 1717 Richard Hawkins & John Bedford
  7. 1718 Edward Poulton & John Edwards
  8. 1720 ‘The Stonewardens Accounts’ - a summary of unnamed Stonewardens’ payments
  9. 1720  John Large (?) - one page of payments by unnamed. Receipted by John Large.
  10. 1721 George Clarke & Nathaniel Heasdon   No note of reimbursement – page missing?
  11. 1722 Thomas Gunnis & Joseph Fletcher
  12. 1723 Thomas Goodyear & Nathaniel Dearmer
  13. 1724 George Hawkins & William Edwards
  14. 1725 John Kirk & Edward Bassill
  15. 1726 John Vise & William Smith
  16. 1727 John Freeman jnr & William Hawkins
  17. 1728 Samuel Wethered & Thomas Turpin
  18. 1729 William Element & John Beckerstaffe
  19. 1730 George East & John Pooley
  20. 1731 James Goulds & Philip Smith
  21. 1732 Solomon Barker & Timothy Lines
  22. 1733 Zachary Neale & Solomon Barker
  23. 1734 Jennings Cock & Edward Sibley
  24. 1736 Edward Nash & James Goulds
  25. 1737 John Davis & John Bradshaw
  26. 1738 John Tommalin & John Bedford
  27. 1739 Richard Sheppard & Thomas Woraker
  28. 1740 John Freeman & Edward Sheffield
  29. 1741 Walter Large & John Freeman
  30. 1742 Henry Clarke & William Lines
  31. 1743 Andrew Nicholls & Joseph Adams
  32. 1780 William Prudden & Barnard Kilbey  - appended is a list of 9 inhabitants from which the next year’s surveyors will be selected at the Quarter Sessions.

Explanatory notes

The accounts consist of lists of payments made for collecting, carting and spreading stones on the highways (children received 2d a day for collecting stones) and for wages and ‘drink’ (beer) for those employed in the work. Some of the recipients are named. Other repairs were made to bridges and drainage ditches, railings were placed at Vises Pond and cart ruts on the Common levelled. The costs of attending at local Quarter Sessions and for drinks at Vestry meetings are included. 

In several years the Surveyors were out of pocket as the payments received from the Parish were insufficient to meet their outgoings.

Roads and Lanes named.

Works are often recorded as being done to ‘the highway’ but the following appear;

  • Rose Lane (Luton Lane/Kinsbourne Green Lane),
  • Redbourne Lane,
  • Fellers/Felleys (Fallows) Green Lane,
  • Beason End Lane,
  • Hatching Green (or just Green) Lane,
  • Popes Lane (now Station Road)
  • Sun Lane,
  • Westfield Lane,
  • Mandland Lane,
  • Mutton End Lane,
  • Rothamsted Coach Lane,
  • Ox Lane,
  • Cooters End Lane,
  • Mody (muddy?) Lane
  • and the ‘lane next Redbourne Towns End’

Places Named

Batford Bridge, Pickford Bridge, Coldharbour Bridge,‘the bridge against John Freemans & Mr. Evans’, bridges on Popes Lane and ‘against the Red Lion’ and a causeway at Mutton End (these appear to be walkways over ditches), Bamwell Wood, Whitehill in Redbourne Lane, the ‘hollow way’ at Whitehill, The Bull Inn, Hertford, Tring, Berkhampstead, Hemel Hempstead, (where the relevant Quarter Sessions were held) Vises Pond (the Silver Cup pond)

This page was added by Rosemary Ross on 09/06/2015.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.