Waterways and Canal-Building in Medieval England

Paperback | December 2, 2014

EditorJohn Blair

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A book centring on late Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman canals may come as a surprise; it is generally assumed that no such things existed. Persuasive evidence has, however, been unearthed independently by several scholars, and has stimulated this first serious study of improved waterways inEngland between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries. England is naturally well-endowed with a network of navigable rivers, especially the easterly systems draining into the Thames, Wash, and Humber. The central middle ages saw innovative and extensive development of this network, including thedigging of canals bypassing difficult stretches of rivers, or linking rivers to important production centres. The eleventh and twelfth centuries seem to have been the high point for this dynamic approach to water-transport: after 1200, the improvement of roads and bridges increasingly divertedresources away from the canals, many of which stagnated with the reassertion of natural drainage patterns.This new perspective has an important bearing on the economy, landscape, settlement patterns, and inter-regional contacts of medieval England. In this volume, economic historians, geographers, geomorphologists, archaeologists, and place-name scholars bring their various skills to bear on a neglectedbut important aspect of medieval engineering and economic growth.

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A book centring on late Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Norman canals may come as a surprise; it is generally assumed that no such things existed. Persuasive evidence has, however, been unearthed independently by several scholars, and has stimulated this first serious study of improved waterways inEngland between the eleventh and fourteenth cent...

John Blair is Lecturer in Modern History, Professor of Medieval History and Archaeology at Queen's College, Oxford, UK.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:330 pagesPublished:December 2, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019872313X

ISBN - 13:9780198723134

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Table of Contents

John Blair: IntroductionPart I: Waterways, Geography and Economy1. Fiona Edmonds: Barrier or Unifying Feature? Defining the Nature of Early Medieval Water Transport in the North-West2. Della Hooke: Uses of Waterways in Anglo-Saxon England3. Ann Cole: The Place-Name Evidence for Water Transport in Early Medieval England4. Mark Gardiner: Hythes, Small Ports and Other Landing Places in Later Medieval England5. John Langdon: The Efficiency of Inland Water Transport in Medieval EnglandPart II: Improved Waterways and Canals6. Ed Rhodes: Identifying Human Modification of River Channels7. James Bond: Canal Construction in the Early Middle Ages: an Introductory Review8. Stephen Rippon: Waterways and Water Transport on Reclaimed Coastal Marshlands: the Somerset Levels and Beyond9. Charles and Nancy Hollinrake: The Water Roads of Somerset10. Charles and Nancy Hollinrake: Glastonbury's Anglo-Saxon Canal and Dunstan's Dyke11. Christopher K. Currie: Early Water Management on the Lower River Itchen in Hampshire12. John Blair: Transport and Canal-Building on the Upper Thames, 1000-1300

Editorial Reviews

"a volume full of insights which makes a stimulating introduction to an important subject." --D. Harrison, English Historical Review 17/07/2008