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Wiltshire Community History

Wiltshire History Questions Search Results

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Question Date :

Monday 4th July 2011 10:03

Question:
I am seeking information on the Turnpike Road between Marlborough and Wootton Bassett, and in particular tolls that were charged: where the tolls were charged, how much, when did charging commence and under what circumstances.

Answer:
With the turnpike roads the Government basically contracted out sections of the nation's roads. A local turnpike trust would have been formed, from the 18th century onwards, and would submit a private Act of Parliament to obtain responsibility for a road, or roads. They would undertake to keep the road in repair and for this would be able to charge a toll on anyone using it for a wheeled vehicle, or animals. Toll houses and gates were normally built at the edges of towns, where the responsibility of the vestry or parish ended. Some villages also had toll gates where another road joined the toll road. In the 19th century the toll gates were often farmed out at auction and might cost 80 of 90 an year to buy; the purchaser was then able to keep all the tolls and had the house to live in.

The Wootton Bassett and Marlborough Road was a late one (1809-1876) and extended from Ogbourne St. Andrew to Wootton Bassett, with a toll house at Broad Hinton - in the centre of the village, near the school on the junction of the B4041 with an unclassified road from The Weir.

I don't have details of the tolls for this road, but there might be a board in Wootton Basset Museum,. Those for the Marlborough - Coate road, which were probably similar, in the mid 19th century were:

Horse and coach, carriage, wagon etc. 4 1/2d
Wagon or cart with strakes [iron rim of wheel] over 9 inches wide 2d
Wagon or cart with wheels 6 - 9 inches wide 3d
Wagon or cart with wheels under 6 inches wide 6d
Millstones, pairs or singles, pulled by up to 5 horses 2/6d
Millstones, pairs or singles, pulled by more than 5 horses 2/6d + 1/- for every horse over 5
Horse not pulling a vehicle 1d
Cattle, per score [20] 10d
Sheep or pigs, per score 5d

The toll house keeper was normally a labourer, or labourer's wife but sometimes they successfully bid for the tollhouse - presumably they paid off the debt during the year as they took the tolls. The Trust itself was normally set up by local landowners or businessmen.

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