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Toll Gates around Ross

Prior to 1830, the town boundary was at Brookend Street and there was a tollgate there. Once the town boundaries were changed then the position of the gates changed.

The Ross Turnpike Trust was a powerful organisation in the area. This can be seen as in 1839 in the Ross area there were around twelve Toll Gates under the Control of the Ross Turnpike Roads Trustees. These are thought to have been located at:

  • Wilton
  • Pencraig
  • Marsh
  • Hownhall
  • Ryeford
  • Corps-Cross (now Copse Cross)
  • Coughton
  • Walford
  • Overross
  • Gatsford
  • Coldbrough
  • Marcle

Each of these were up for Let by Auction and bidders had to pay £100 pounds upon making their first bid to ensure they had enough money to pay the first months rent in advance. This money was returned to the bidder upon completion of the Auction or used for payment for the advance rent.

One gate was charging 6d (about 2½ pence) to enter or leave Ross per day. Being as it cost about 7s (about 35p) for a return ticket to London, this was quite a high price.

By 1872 when the Ross Highway Board took over control of the roads due to the local Turnpike Trusts being abolished, the toll gates were at:

  • Walford
  • Wilton
  • Ledbury Road
  • Over Ross

Copse Cross Toll Gate

This toll gate was erected by the Ross Turnpike Trust in 1748 and is on the site of the Walford Turnpike Gate.

In the 1980's it was owned by Rolf Ebert and his second wife, Barbara, who ran a bed and breakfast establishment from the house. Mr. Ebert was originally a German POW who stayed in Ross after the war and who became well known in the area.

Copse Cross Toll Gate
Copse Cross Toll Gate
(Click for a larger image)
Copse Cross Toll House
Copse Cross Toll House prior to thatching
[Photo: J.C.Coombes]
(Click for a larger image)

This building was not originally thatched but had a slate roof. The thatching was added in the 1980's by the Ebert's after Barbara insisted that this would make it more appealing for the Bed & Breakfast business.

Coughton Toll House

This is believed to be the building that was the toll gate at Coughton.

Coughton Toll Gate
Coughton Toll Gate
(Click for a larger image)

Wilton Toll Cottage

Wilton Toll Cottage (14-5-09)
Wilton Toll Cottage
(Click for a larger image)

This timber framed cottage was the Toll House on one of the old Ross to Hereford roads.

It had been encased in a stone and brick façade and for many years it was derelict and marked for demolishion. When it was being knocked down the outer walls were removed and the timbers revealed. The building beneath was built in a typical Herefordshire building style and many of the original beams and rafters still remain within it.

Apparently a bell was found in the grounds and this has been preserved as this was possibly the bell used to call the Toll Keeper to collect the toll1.

Wilton Bridge Toll Gate

This small garden is on the site of the Wilton Bridge Toll Gate.

After Wilton Bridge was built the ferry that was originally in use, which was maintained by the Lords of Wilton, was no longer required. Therefore to compensate for the loss of the ferry a toll-gate was erected and a pontage was taken from the traffic wishing to cross the bridge.

Wilton Toll Cottage (14-5-09)
Site of Wilton Bridge Toll Gate Cottage
(Click for a larger image)

Turnpike Trusts

An Act of Parliament was passed in 1730 that allowed groups of men, called Turnpike Trusts, to take over maintenance of sections of road. In return for their effort, the men were entitled to install tollgates and turnpikes and at these points they charged people for passage along their roads.

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1 HOMES AND HOUSES of Herefordshire - Mary Andere (Forward by Roy Strong) - Published by Express Logic, Hereford 1977

[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:59]

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