Highway District - Background

Background

Parish vestries had been responsible for keeping highways in repair since the reign of Henry VIII. The Highway Act 1835 made changes to the administration of highways. From 1836 each parish was to appoint a surveyor, and was empowered to make a rate to keep the roads under its control in good order. The surveyor could be convicted and fined by the county justices for failing to keep the highways in repair. The 1835 Act also changed the law, with new roads not being declared highways, and therefore repairable by the parish, unless they met certain criteria.

The Highways Act 1862 (25 & 26 Vict., c.61) enabled Justices of the Peace of a county to divide the county into Highway Districts consisting of a number of parishes. This was done by means of a provisional order confirmed by the Quarter Sessions. The order listed the parishes to be grouped together, the name to be given to the district and the number of waywardens (see below) to be elected by each parish.

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