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Archiver > DEVON > 2000-01 > 0948240309

From: "Diana Trenchard" <>
Subject: Re: Travel
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 00:05:09 +0000

Don't forget the carters who had been around for many centuries and who
transported goods from village to village and also to far-off cities. They
continued well into the 20C until replaced by motor-driven lorries. Even
after the coming of the railways they were still widely used for transporting
goods from stations to outlying villages. Most ran a regular service. As
well as goods they would always give lifts to people who couldn't afford stage
coaches/buses and didn't posses a horse, presumably with a small sum being
paid to the carter. The disadvantage was that the cart would trundle along at
a VERY slow speed, probably significantly less than walking pace, but at least
it rested the feet.

On the other hand, we also shouldn't underestimate how far our ancestors could
- and did - walk. The following isn't related to Devon, but it illustrates
travelling in 1815. It concerns a soldier from Dorset who had met and married
a young Frenchwoman who kept a vegetable stall in Paris. His regiment was
then shipped to Glasgow in Scotland, and soon after that he had six weeks
leave. The soldier and his wife walked to Leith near Edinburgh in two days,
covering 30 miles the first day. Ship to London at a cost of two pounds ten
shillings. Walk to the outskirts of London where they picked up a
'road-wagon' which took one day to travel to Salisbury at a cost of two
shillings. A day's walk from Salisbury to Blandford - seven miles before
breakfast, and on the final day another eight miles to his home village in
Dorset. For the return journey they planned to walk to Bristol and there get
a ship direct to Glasgow. However, on arrival at Bristol there was no ship.
At the wife's suggestion they WALKED to Glasgow and arrived at the barracks
with one day to spare. At an outside estimate this meant they walked at least
thirty miles every day. And it was the middle of winter. In his biography
written many years later the soldier said that the only outcome of this
journey was some mild frost-bite suffered by his wife for a week. The soldier
had been in an infantry regiment for nearly twenty years and was therefore
used to walking long distances. I bet his wife wasn't, but when it had to be
done, then she did it. Just look at a map and see the distances they


PS There is a Devon link after all. The soldier and his wife ended up coming
from Ireland to Plymouth in June 1821. Here he got his army discharge and
they then (what else!) walked to their home in East Dorset.

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