Oxford Mileways Act 1771: Magdalen Bridge

The following part of the Act relates to the arrangements for the replacement of Magdalen Bridge. The foundation stone of the new bridge (by architect John Gwyn and John Randall builder) was laid on 26 March 1773. (The new bridge was subsequently widened in 1882–3.)

A temporary Road and Bridges may be erected

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the said Commissioners, or any Nine or more of them, shall and may open and make a temporary Road or Way near Magdalen Bridge aforesaid, to communicate with the Mile-way, and may also erect and build a temporary Bridge or Bridges; (which said temporary Bridge or Bridges, and Road, are to be made Use of by all Passengers with Carriages and Cattle, as a publick Highway, whilst the said Bridge is building or repairing, and until the same is completed): Provided that such Satisfaction shall be made to the Owners or Occupiers of such ground respectively through, over or along which such Road shall be made, for the Damages which such Owners or Occupiers respectively, shall or may thereby sustain, as shall be adjudged reasonable by the said Commissioners, or any Nine or more of them: And in case any Difference shall happen between such Owners or Occupiers and the said Commissioners, touching such Damages, that then it shall and may be lawful to and for the Justices of the Peace, at their next General Quarter-sessions at the farthest, to be holden for the said County of Oxford, to bear, settle, adjudge, and finally determine the same, and direct the Payment thereof accordingly.

Persons maliciously damaging the Bridges or Works belonging to them, guilty of Felony

And be in further enacted, That if any Person or Persons shall wilfully and maliciously burn, blow up, pull down, remove, take away, or otherwise Damage or destroy any of the said Bridges, or any Part thereof; or shall wilfully and maliciously remove, take away, damage, or destroy, any Works or Materials to the said Bridges, or of any of them belonging or provided for the building or repairing of the same, and situate, lying, or being, in, near, or upon the said Bridges or River, or any of them; or shall wilfully or maliciously direct or procure the same to be burnt, blown up, pulled down, removed, taken away, or otherwise damaged or destroyed; every such Offender, being lawfully convicted thereof, shall be judged guilty of Felony, and shall be liable to be transported for Seven Years.

Commissioners may sell old Pavement and other Materials

And it is hereby further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the said Commissioners, or any Seven or more of them, shall have full Power and Authority, from Time to Time, to sell and dispose of all or any Part of the old Bridge, Pavement, or other Materials, to such Person or Persons and shall be willing to purchase the same, and to apply the Purchase-money to the Purposes of this Act.

Stephanie Jenkins