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The Stratford Rd. (2)



Two miles east of Edgehill The New Inn (SP 386436) greets travellers on the A422, the turnpike of 1753.  Parallel to the turnpike on the same side as the inn runs a shy little green lane (#1)... which could once have been the "founderous" road the Banburians complained about...(See Stratford Rd 1 under Warwickshire.)  If so, one realises the huge amount of work done to build the turnpike, which is on a causeway 6 foot higher than the lane.

Outside Wroxton is an utterly beautiful  finger post (#2, SP 408417), dating from 1686 and pointing the way off the A422, to London via Aynho.  Now the reason for the road's "Stratford to Buckingham" name is clear: it is veering south & missing Banbury altogether.



Drovers didn't take the North Newington route exactly; they followed what is now a footpath just east of the tarmac road, taking the herds across Claydon Hill Farm, where there is an old stance and a hollow-way cut by oxen's feet through the pasture (#3).  The farmer and the drover both profited from this arrangement: the drover avoided the toll, the farmer charged for his stance and had his field manured into the bargain.1



After refreshment at the Three Lions Inn at North Newington (#4), they joined the old saltway (#5) that skirts the south of Banbury.  It emerges at Weeping Cross, in Bodicote (SP 465381), but the old route from there to Aynho was ploughed up by the Duke of Argyll in the 1760’s as part of the enclosure process. 

(Thanks to Anthony Whitmill of Claydon Hill Farm and Nick Allen of Adderbury for much of this information.)



(Footnote: I was told that the acceleration of enclosures in the 1760’s & 1770’s was due to “the submarine effect.”  Apparently the government was alarmed by the possibility of rebellion by American colonists, who might cut off our grain supplies and force us to be self-sufficient.)

1 Coming down to meet the A422 from the north near the finger-post is "Drift Lane", another toll-avoidance route.   

The Stratford Rd. (2) image 1
A422 out of pic. on left
The Stratford Rd. (2) image 2
Wroxton Guide post
The Stratford Rd. (2) image 3
Holloway at Claydon Hill
The Stratford Rd. (2) image 4
The Three Lions, N. N.
The Stratford Rd. (2) image 5
Saltway South of Banbury