Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/40

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FORTIFIED TOWNS

augurated by the Roman of old. The roads were the property of the State, which had entire control and supplied funds for their construction and maintenance. Each main line of road was under an inspector-in-chief, who held an important office, one filled by many a Roman princeling of repute. Nevertheless we get glimpses of fraudulent contractors and negligent magistrates prosecuted for the bad condition of the roads, which were finally so well constructed that many of them remained in England till the sixteenth century.

It is interesting to note that the country roads were under the control of the rural authorities, maintained by assessments, and that the city streets had to be repaired by the inhabitants, each householder being responsible for the portion immediately opposite his own house.

On or near the great main roads which freely intersected the island were the famous walled towns of the Romans. Boadicea had taught them a lesson at Colchester, and henceforth every city of repute was strongly walled, however advantageous its natural position. These walls were tremendously strong, for amid their many accomplishments the Romans were excellent masons.