Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/374

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364


NOTES AND QUERIES. [ii s. XL MAY s, 1915.


distributed by pack-horse to less accessible parts of the country. (See Pratt's ' Inland Transport,' 1912, p. 127.)

The use of the pack-horse may be traced a long way back. In that excellent book Denton's ' England in the Fifteenth Century (1888), which the author never lived to see issued,Ve read (p. 188) :

" In the absence of roads fit for carts or carriages, heavy as well as light goods, corn, charcoal, salt, iron, household furniture, and such like com- modities, were usually conveyed on the backs ot horses or of sumpter mules, and in place of reading about wagon loads of heavy goods, we more com- monly read of horse loads."

In ' Inland Transport ' there is a chapter upon ' Early Trading Conditions?,' and, re- ferring to pre - Reformation or monastic times, the writer says (p. 15) :

" Long lines of pack-horses, with bales or panniers slung across their backs, made their way along roads or bridle-paths often inadequate to allow of two strings of loaded horses to pass one another, so that many a quarrel arose when two teams met, as to which should go into the mud to allow the other to pass."

Thomas Mace, the famous author of ' Mustek's Monument,' wrote only one other book, and that was called ' Profit, Con- veniency, and Pleasure to the Whole Nation. Being a short rational discourse, lately pre- sented to His Majesty, concerning the High- ways of England.' London, 1675. Any one who will look at Mace's tract will find that his chief cause for complaint was the " innumer- able controversies, quarrellings, and disturb- ances " caused by the pack-horse men in their straggles as to which convoy should pass along the cleaner parts of the road. Mace's plan of road reform was quite reasonable. He said that it would be far better to maintain two good tracts on each road than to have half a dozen bad ones. In the early seven- teenth century communication between the North of England and the Universities was kept up by carriers, who pursued their tedious but uniform route with trains of pack- horses, and to their care were consigned not only the packages, but frequently the scholars themselves. (See ' Correspondence of Sir George Radcliffe,' 1810, p. 36.)

Some weeks ago a query was raised in these pages as to the antiquity of Messrs. Pickford as a London firm, but to begin with Pickford's was not a London firm at all. It was a Manchester business, and engaged in the pack-horse trade. The original Pick- ford began in the seventeenth century to convey parcels from Manchester by convoys of pack " trains." About 1720 Bass of Stafford started as a rival to Pickford, and


combined brewing with pack-horse carrying. He ultimately disposed of his pack-horse- business to Pickford, and continued brew- ing only. In Aikin's ' Description of the Country round t Manchester,' 1795, it is stated that when Manchester rose as a business centre,

"chapmen used to keep gangs of pack-horses andi accompany them to the principal towns with goods in packs, which they opened and sold to- shopkeepers, lodging what was unsold in store- rooms at the inns. The pack-horses brought back sheep's wool, which they sold to the makers, of worsted yarn at Rochdale, Manchester, and Saddleworth."

Richard Whitworth published in 1766 ' The Advantages of Inland Navigation,' and he therein stated that 150 pack-horses went each week from Manchester through Stafford to Bewdley, a distance of about 100 miles.

When Sir Francis Willughbj began in 1580 to build the great Nottingham house of Wollaton, the stone was brought from Ancaster in Lincolnshire by pack-horses. They brought their loads of stone, and Sir Francis Willughby paid for it in coal, which the pack-horses took back in their panniers on each return journey. The building accounts of this great house are still extant. See Hist. MSS. Comm. Report upon the MSS. of Lord Middleton at Wollaton. This- report is one of the most valuable and delightful of the whole series.

It will be remembered that Roderick Random, finding himself too poor to hire a horse, set out from Scotland " with the carriers, who transport goods trom on& place to another on horseback, and this scheme I accordingly put in execution on the first day of November, 1739, sitting upon a pack-saddle between two baskets, one of which contained my goods in a> knapsack." 'Roderick Random,' chap. viii.

North of Wigan nearly all the coal trade was carried on by strings of pack-horses. Kendal was the principal ^ack-horse station in the district. Baines, in his ' History of Lancashire arid Cheshire, 1 quotes the letter of a Liverpool merchant, Thomas Patten,, who took a leading part in conveying merchandise across country b\ pack-horses. Leeds was another great centre of the pack- hiorse business, and a number of travelling merchants did extensive business with shop- peepers and traders at fairs. Defoe in hi ' Tour' says, " 'Tis ordinary for one of these men to carry a thousand pounds' value of cloth with them at a time." Defoe's ' Tour ' contains many references to this method of distributing croods both in the West arid in the North. Whenever Stourbridge Fair was