“Random encounters with the unusual” is a repository for the oddities that me and Mrs J have encountered on our travels, which we find interesting or amusing in some way. Have a look, maybe you will find something interesting or amusing herein.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Maud Heath's Causeway

On Wick Hill, near the village of Bremhill in Wiltshire, stands a monument to a lady called Maud Heath. The monument which was erected in 1838 consists of a plinth which is capped off by the statue of a lady in a bonnet. The base of the plinth bears the inscription: "Thou who dost pause on this aerial height - Where Maud Heath's Pathway winds in shade and light - Christian wayfarer in a world of strife - Be still and consider the Path of Life".

It seems that Maud Heath was a local 15th Century land owner, who held properties in both Langley Burrell and Chippenham and who is remembered locally for a folly that she commissioned.

Maud was apparently concerned that the local people from the villages of Bremhill, Foxham, Tytherton and Langley Burrell were having difficulties getting from their villages to the market in Chippenham, as they had to cross the marshy River Avon floodplain (a route that Maud had seemingly used for most of her life herself). So in response to her concern, in June 1474 (the year of her death) Maud provided a trust with the finance to enable a 4.5 mile cobble causeway to be built from Wick (in Bremhill) to Chippenham. This causeway was further improved by the trust in 1811 when the part of the causeway that crossed the River Avon was updated to include a bridge made up of 64 small brick arches. These brick arches can still be seen today as they raise the footpath up above the level of the local road that follows the route of the causeway - a road which is still shown on OS Maps today as "Maud Heath's Causeway".

The monument to Maud Heath on Wick Hill.

Maud wearing her bonnet.
The inscription at the base of the monument.
A marker near the monument on Wick Hill.
The bridge on the causeway which crosses the River Avon.

Looking along the bridge.
The church at the start of the bridge.

Pictures, Wiltshire (April 2014).

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