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The Bridges Act 1530 (22 Hen. VIII, c. 5), sometimes called the Statute of Bridges, was an Act of Parliament of the Parliament of England passed in 1531. It was intended to ensure the upkeep of bridges, which at the time were usually made of wood and required regular maintenance in order to keep them open.

Section I empowered Justices of the Peace to look into matters of broken bridges and to arrange for their repair or rebuilding by, or at the expense of, those who were responsible for their maintenance.

Under section II, in cases where those responsible could not be determined, the burden would fall on the inhabitants of the city or town the bridge was situated in; if it lay outside a town, then the burden would fall on the shire or riding as a whole.

Section III provided that in these cases, the Justices of the Peace were empowered to call before them the constables of every town and parish in the area responsible - in the absence of the constables, "two of the most honest inhabitants" would suffice - and, with their assent, assess and then tax every inhabitant for a reasonable sum to cover the cost of the work required. The Justices were to draw up a roll of all persons so taxed, and appoint two collectors in every hundred. The Justices were also given the power to appoint two surveyors to oversee the work, who would receive the money from the collectors.

References

  • Tudor Constitutional Documents, AD 1485-1603, by J.R. Tanner. Cambridge University Press, 1951. p.495.
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