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This survey of road and river legislation proposed to Parliament at Westminster (whether subsequently enacted or not) traces the origin and development of the statutory process for compulsory purchase of land. Before 1539 road and river improvement beyond the clearance of illegal obstructions was achieved only by Crown licence following a satisfactory inquisition ad quod damnum.Compensation was always required to be paid for the compulsory purchase of land, but legislation rarely stipulated thedoi:10.6084/m9.figshare.6467798 fatcat:ayiqqvb54jcrbhqzy7rgdhk4qm