Marlow Archaeology

Alderman Silver's Road

Alderman silver's mapAs part of a broader survey of ancient local roads, we have been weighing up and testing the evidence for the supposedly ancient route known as Alderman Silver's Road. The road, named after a locally well know late 19th century antiquarian, was surveyed in 1861 by Charles Kerry, Master of Bray School, and in 1891 by three local antiquarians. Although there are written accounts of both surveys, no direct evidence remains today and the respective accounts are in parts contradictory. Having reviewed the evidence, including local settlement evidence, we conclude that there is a strong probability of an ancient roadway following the course set out aside, essentially the route of the 1891 survey. Some questions however remain unresolved –

• Was this as some claim a Roman Road? It is probable that the road existed in Roman times, not least because it links known Roman period settlements. Also it links with a short stretch of track off of Whyteladyes Road, Cookham, excavated in 1905, that is built to standards not used in antiquity in North-West Europe other than during the Roman period. The settlements themselves however also pre-date the Roman period so, as with many such roads, it is more likely to pre-date Roman times

• Was there also a track running in a more direct path to the tumuli on Cockmarsh? This is something that we have actively tested by geophysical survey in Alfred Major Park, Cookham Rise and in the fields north of Cookham Rise. To date we have found no firm evidence for such a path. There a number of reasons why this might be, and investigations continue. We are currently undertaking further research to understand better the role that this road played in antiquity, together with research on other ancient roads in the Cookham area. For more information please contact PETER CARVER