| Stoke-upon-Trent -
|Stoke-upon-Trent - Local History|
Turnpike and Packhorse Roads in North Staffordshire
Road tolls are at least 2700 years
old, as they had to be paid for using the
highway under the regime of Ashurbanipal, who reigned in Assyria in
the seventh century BC
In 14th century England, some of the most heavily used roads were repaired with money raised from tolls by pavage grants. Turnpike trusts were established in England beginning in 1706, and were ultimately responsible for the maintenance and improvement of most main roads in England and Wales, until they were gradually abolished from the 1870s. Most trusts improved existing roads, but some new ones usually only short stretches of road were also built.
The first turnpike trust was established by Parliament through a Turnpike Act in 1706, placing a section of the London-Coventry-Chester road in the hands of a group of trustees.
The Toll Bar stood at Talke crossroads at the junction of Congleton Road and Linley Lane near Church Lawton. By 1920 the building had been demolished.
The trustees could erect gates as they saw fit, demand statute labour or a cash equivalent, and appoint surveyors and collectors, in return they repaired the road and put up mileposts. Initially trusts were established for limited periods of often twenty one years. The expectation was that the trust would borrow the money to repair the road and repay that debt over time with the road then reverting to the parishes. In reality the initial debt was rarely paid off and the trusts were renewed as needed.
The rise of railway transport largely halted the improving schemes of the turnpike trusts.
The abiding relic of the English toll roads is the number of houses with names like "Turnpike Cottage", the inclusion of "Bar" in place names and occasional road name: Turnpike Lane