[DWJ] about those roads in LotR

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Jun 25 17:13:09 EDT 2006

I'm reading a book called *The Private Life of a Country House 1912-39* by
Lesley Lewis (very interesting about that life at that time; well worth a
read.  David and Charles 1980, or Futura 1982) and have just come upon
something about the care of the roads in Essex, near Ongar, just after the
1914-18 war.

The minor untarred roads needed much day-to-day upkeep.  They had wide
grass verges in which every few yards was a small channel or 'grip'
draining surface water into a big ditch which, usually combined with a
hedge, was a field boundary.  A permanent roadman, the same for many years,
kept the grips clear and straight-sided, made up the pot-holes from heaps
of stone and gravel at the roadside and removed obstructions from the

So it was one man's full-time job keeping the roads in passable condition.
She doesn't say who paid him -- probably the parish council, I suppose --
but one does have to ask, where did the chaps who did all this for the
roads across Middle Earth *live*?  and who paid *them* to do this
never-ending job?


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