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Roads in the Middle Ages

Roads in the Middle Ages

In Medieval time Lanark was still an important place for trade. Lanark’s wealth was based on wool from the time that the Burgh of Lanark was founded c.1140 by King David I.

In 1140 the roads around Lanark were the old Roman roads which had not been maintained in the early Middle Ages. There were three modes of travel then, horse, foot or water.

Apart from the roads that had been neglected since the Romans had abandoned them there were tracks and drove roads that linked the communities of Clydesdale.

There is no indication that in the Middle Ages there were any bridges in the vicinity of Lanark; there were only fords and ferries which were very weather dependent.

Fords and ferries were important ways of getting to Lanark. Henry VI of England and Queen Margaret o their way to Linlithgow Palace after the battle of Towton in 1461 crossed the ford at Clydesholme. They also used the ford at Leechford, near Lanark, to cross the Mouse. Both fords were at this time only used by people on horseback.

The roads that gave access to both fords/ferries still exist. St Partrick’s road that gave access to the ford and later ferry at Clydesholme is still well used. Similarly the road that gives access to leechford is also used particularly at Lanimers. Later the Clydesholme ford had a ferry. This was set up around 1491 by the Lockhart family. This was organised by the Chaplain of St Nicholas in Lanark upto the Reformation.

Near today’s Hyndford Bridge there were five well used fords – Howford, Hyndford, Boathaugh, Crookboat and Tullieford. These fords provided vital links for Lanark to the rest of the South of Scotland and thence to the North of England.

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