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Highway Board & Waywardens

Wellingborough News, 10th March 1883, transcribed by Kay Collins

Irthlingborough Highway Board

THE IRCHESTER RAILWAY STATION—Canon Barker suggested that the Board should place on record the representation they had made to the Railway Company respecting the insufficient accommodation for vehicles in front of the new Irchester Station. He feared an accident might occur, and in such an event thought it might be important to be able to show the action taken by the Board. The Clerk explained in reply that the minutes of the Board contained the record desired, and the subject then dropped.

THE DUTIES OF WAYWARDENS—The Rev. Canon Barker, pursuant to notice, proposed that a committee should be appointed to define the duties of waywardens, with a view especially of securing co-operation between the surveyor and the waywarden of each parish. He said that accounts were brought to the way warden for signature every month, and they were expected to sign them, although they had practically no knowledge as to their accuracy. It seemed to him a farce.—Mr. Thompson seconded the resolution.—Mr. Wykes remarked that he agreed with Mr. Barker as to signing the books and he never did it.—Mr. Wright did not see the advantage of signing the books.—Mr. Coales thought that it was the duty of the waywardens to give what supervision they could over the expenditure in their respective parishes.—Mr. Nunneley said the examination gave the waywarden the opportunity to draw attention to anything that was manifestly wrong, and in this respect was a useful check.—Mr. Sharpe said as he understood it, the waywardens simply certified that the accounts had been submitted to them, not that they were accurate.—The Clerk said that Mr. Sharpe had given the correct interpretation.—Mr. Turnell thought waywardens could do a good deal in their respective parishes if they cared to do so, and mentioned the case of a labourer, who, after spending the day in his own garden, charged the Highway Board and also his club with his day's work. He had reported this case, and the man had been at once dismissed.—Mr. Wykes said that if they reported such cases they only got abused in their parishes.—Mr. Turnell said that if they took office they must do their duty in spite of abuse. It was no use making concessions to earn popularity.—After further discussion, Canon Barker withdrew the resolution. He said that his special object was to secure, if possible, greater co-operation between the surveyor and the waywardens of the parishes.

THE ESTIMATE—The Surveyor presented the following estimates for the year commencing at Lady Day next:—District roads £2,970 against an estimate of £2,995 last year; main roads, if repaired with all granite, £2,575, against an expenditure in the expiring year of £2,875. The estimate for the year now closing was £1995, but this was based upon the use of slag, it was afterwards decided "principally" to use granite upon the main roads, and hence the great excess of expenditure over the estimate. It was elicited, however, that in 1882, when slag was used the expenditure had reached a total of £2,721. The Surveyor estimated that in the ensuing year the cost of repairing the main roads with slag would be £1,820, and he justified this low estimate on the ground that during the past year or two the roads had been brought into a much better condition. A lengthy discussion took place on the respective merits of granite and slag. It appeared to be generally admitted, that the roads had greatly improved, and the general view appeared to be that the granite gives ordinary roads a much smoother surface. Great complaints were made, however, of the quality of the granite received during the past year. It was ultimately decided to issue precepts upon the basis of the higher estimate (£2,575), and to leave the decision as to material till the next meeting, advertising in the interval for tenders for granite.

Wellingborough News, 31st March 1883, transcribed by Kay Collins

The Duties of Waywardens
SIR,—I have only just seen in one of your recent issues a letter from an ex-waywarden, finding fault at the withdrawal of a resolution moved at the Irthlingborough Highway Board, for a committee of enquiry into the duties of a waywarden. Permit me to explain that I regret the failure of that resolution as much as "Ex-Waywarden," and that I agree with all he says about the uselessness, and worse than uselessness, of signing bills, &c., without the opportunity of verifying their accuracy. But the Board was so manifestly of opinion that the committee asked for could do no good, that nothing was left but to withdraw the motion for it.

I have not changed my mind respecting the probable utility of such a committee. If it had been appointed and had instituted a careful inquiry into the practices of other Highway Board, and taken counsel with the Local Government Board respecting the intention of the Legislature in creating the office of waywarden, it is possible that a practical and serviceable report might have been produced. It seems reasonable that a waywarden, even if not consulted respecting the condition of roads in his parish, or the amount and nature of material required for their maintenance or repairs, should yet be informed of the quantity ordered, the cost of cartage, and places of delivery. With such information he might exercise useful supervision, and occasionally give helpful counsel to the surveyor, in so extended a district as that which the Irthlingborough Highway Board controls, for one surveyor to look after the road men in every parish seems impossible. If the surveyor informed each waywarden, monthly or weekly, respecting the orders given to the road men in his parish, some assistance in overlooking them might be secured.

But I will not trespass further on your space, than to subscribe myself,

The Rushden Waywarden

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