1) The noun ‘road’ originally referred to the act of riding but then it became associated with the horse-riders’ route or way and eventually it took the place of ‘highway’.

The change appears to date from the second half of the sixteenth century: 1569-72 Tadcaster ... tenn myles from Yorke in the rode wey towards London

1618 and soe directly upward ... towards one common roode waye leading from Roodeshalle to Bradfourth

1669 a wooden Bridge over the River at Marsden the same beeinge a greate Roade for a greate parte of Lancashire and Cheshire

1755 situate about the middle of the Road betweene the Towns of Wakefield and Halifax, Mirfield. It came into regular use in the seventeenth century, sometimes as ‘high-road’, and was particularly frequent in the records of the Quarter Sessions: 1649 ridinge on the high rode way betwixt Lincolne and Doncaster

1686-7 to the damage of Carriers and Packmen who use the road betwixt Lancashire and Newcastle, Kettlewell. The idea that it referred to the ‘route’ survived through that period: 1725 I veued the highway in the high roade betwixt Leeds and Harewood.

spellings roadway
dates 1569-1572 1618 1649 1669 1686-1687 1725 1755

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0