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The Bridges of Medieval EnglandTransport and Society 400-1800$
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David Harrison

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199226856

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226856.001.0001

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(p.171) 10 Costs
The Bridges of Medieval England


Oxford University Press

The building, rebuilding, repair, and maintenance of the network of bridges in medieval England was a huge task. Aside from large labour forces, enormous quantities of stone, timber, lime, chalk, iron, and lead were used in construction, and very large sums of money spent. Ten thousand piles were found in the river bed at Rochester when the medieval bridge was demolished in the mid-19th century. The largest bridges were among the most expensive projects of their age. Once a bridge was built, spending did not end. Expenditure on their maintenance was probably greater than on any other type of building. Timber bridges required constant attention. Even stone bridges had to be regularly repaired and maintained. A few required very heavy, continuous expenditure, and more when major repairs had to be carried out. This was the same as the annual income of some members of the lay peerage.

Keywords:   bridges, labour, maintenance and repair, medieval period, England, construction costs, timber bridges, brick bridges

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