Maud Heath's Causeway

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Maud Heath's Causeway, crossing the River Avon flood plain at Kellaways

Maud Heath's Causeway is a pathway in rural Wiltshire, England, which rises above the Avon floodplain on sixty-four brick arches, as it carries an undistinguished country road between Bremhill and Langley Burrell.

The causeway is the gift of the eponymous Maud Heath; a sundial on the spot reports that she made her fortune carrying eggs to market at Chippenham. She was a widow and childless, and when she died "in the year of grace 1474, for the good of travellers did bestow in land and houses the sum of eight pounds a year foreer to be laid out on a causeway leading from Wick Hill to Chippenham Clift", which was the path along which she had tramped to market several times a week for most of her life. Five hundred and some years later, the charity still maintains the path out of her bequest.

Memorial column to Maud Heath at Wick Hill

The Langley Burrell terminus at Wick Hill features an inscription in stone "From this hill begins the praise/Of Maud Heath's gift to these Highways". Further up the hill is Maud Heath's Monument, a statue of the eponymous lady, erected on a high column in 1838 looking out over the Chippenham mud flats. The statue, in a bonnet and authentic plebeian clothes from the reign of Edward IV, was erected by Lord Lansdowne, and features a poem by the critic William Lisle Bowles, who was vicar of Bremhill at the time, which reads:

'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.'[1]

The monument has been listed Grade II on the National Heritage List for England since December 1960. A brief guide to the causeway was written by K.R. Clew in 1982.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Historic England, "Maud Heath's Monument (1283362)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 13 November 2017

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°28′49″N 2°04′45″W / 51.48023°N 2.07915°W / 51.48023; -2.07915