The bulk of the information available about bridges in England in the thousand years from the mid-8th to the mid-18th century relates to the efforts made to maintain and repair them. By the later middle ages, the repair of bridges was financed and organised in a variety of ways. Three main methods of funding bridge construction and maintenance are apparent. The first, wide category consists of methods involving state compulsion. The second method was the imposition of a toll on those crossing the bridge. Finally, the task could be left to private contributions. All general works on medieval bridges give examples of these methods of funding, but there has been no comprehensive consideration. Nor has there has been any attempt to assess the relative contribution each made to keeping the large network of bridges in repair, and how and why it changed over time.
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