[Note 549.5]

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The stage wagons used by poorer folk moved at walking pace and were much slower than the stage coaches used by the better off. Roy Palmer says that "The stage wagons had a particular place in the affections of country people." [i] and quotes E. W. Bovill: "When the poor had to travel they used the old-fashioned stage wagons, drawn by four, six, or even eight horses, which were chiefly used for the carriage of goods. They never moved out of a walk and were in charge of a carter who usually walked beside his team." [ii] The date of the songs suggests that the line "For they travel on hot water, and they melt long miles by steam" refers to railways rather than steam coaches.


 A Stage Wagon of the early 19th century


[i] Palmer, Roy. A Touch on the Times
[ii] Bovill, E.W. English Country Life

Picture: British Museum No 1939,1014.19


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