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RoadworksMedieval Britain, medieval roads$
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Valerie Allen is Professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNYRuth Evans is Professor of English at Saint Louis University

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780719085062

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719085062.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 24 February 2020

Trackless, impenetrable and underdeveloped? Roads, colonization and environmental transformation in the Anglo-Scottish border zone, c. 1100 to c. 1300

Trackless, impenetrable and underdeveloped? Roads, colonization and environmental transformation in the Anglo-Scottish border zone, c. 1100 to c. 1300

Chapter:
(p.303) 13 Trackless, impenetrable and underdeveloped? Roads, colonization and environmental transformation in the Anglo-Scottish border zone, c. 1100 to c. 1300
Source:
Roadworks
Author(s):

Richard Oram

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719085062.003.0013

Historical perceptions of the Anglo-Scottish borderlands are dominated by visions of a war-ravaged, ungovernable, economically stunted and culturally retarded zone. This bleak image, reinforced by modern metropolitanism, permeates much discussion of the pre-1300 era but examination of the internal dynamics of the Humber-Forth region reveals a complex road network that served as channels through which flows of people and ideas shaped and reconfigured community identities. Roads were powerful media for cultural change and political reconstruction, forming conduits for colonisation and facilitators of new systems of political domination and dependence. They brought a realignment of settlement patterns and eased into creation sharply defined hierarchies of economic exploitation. This paper explores how the inherited Roman and Anglo-Saxon road networks moulded new political structures in the 12th century, and how the old networks were realigned or superseded to serve a new political prescription. It traces how ‘marchland’ outside established lordship structures was opened up by roads to intensive exploitation regimes by peasant and aristocratic colonists and monastic pioneers, and how they delivered the environmental transformation of the Pennine-Southern Upland hinterland.

Keywords:   Anglo-Scottish borderlands, colonisation, cultural change, economic exploitation, environmental transformation

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