Roads, Railways and Canals:
In 1774, the trustees of the Turnpike Trust stated: "In pursuance in the powers given to us by an act passed in the 13th year of King George 111, we order that the collectors lay information against all carriers and drovers travelling on a Sunday"In September 1869 The Reverend Mr Roberts, Secretary to the Scottish Sabbath Alliance, questioned why Scotch drovers moved their cattle on the Sabbath. "Now the Welsh drovers were far from being good men - some of them were pious - but there was such regard paid by them and everyone else to the religious feelings of the community, that not one of those wicked men would take it upon himself to drive cattle through the country on the Sabbath day".
With the introduction of the toll charges at 10d per score of cattle, coupled with the increase in road traffic, the Welsh drovers would have chosen to use secondary routes, without fear of prosecution, because of their transient lifestyle. The toll charges were reduced to 6d per score by the mid 1700's, by which time the Welsh had no doubt established alternative routes to market.
Berkhamsted railway station, 1839, by Thomas Roscoe. Alongside is the Grand Junction Canal, and a solitary Drover. The coming of the canals in the late 1700's had no effect upon the trade in cattle. Their introduction was probably just a nuisance causing the drovers to adjust their routes to take account of bridge crossings. It was not possible to ford a canal as they did with streams and some rivers. The railways however presented a threat to their livelihood, and would ultimately put them out of business. Although the first trains in the 1830's only travelled at 25mph., their route was more direct and quicker overall. Smithfield market in London was served by road until the1850's, when it was rebuilt to accommodate rail
deliveries. However, with the arrival of the trains, the ever resourceful drovers used them to carry cattle and escorted them to market. This was mainly on direct routes to a particular market, when they walked to the rail-heads like Bletchley or Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire , where the cattle would be sent by train to Harrow in Middlesex, put out to graze and walked to Smithfield or Kingston markets.
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