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Heart of Albion

The Toll Bar

Look on older maps of Barrowby and what is now called 'Rectory Lane' is shown as 'Toll Bar Lane'. Not because there was a toll bar along it, but because it was the route from the village to a toll bar (or gate) on the Grantham to Nottingham road (now the A52).



 
The approximate location of the toll bar (shown in red, top right). Presumably the small building on the north-east side of the Grantham to Nottingham road was erected as the toll keeper's cottage.
 
When the A52 was dualled the second (eastbound) carriageway was added to the north-east of the original road.



 
A painting by Sir Richard Digby Neave (1793–1868) showing a toll gate. The date and location are not known but most probably Essex. But there is an uncanny resemblance to Barrowby, simply because of the windmill in close proximity to the toll house. Presumably the dark mound in the foreground is fresh 'tarmacadam' waiting to be used for repairs.


This toll bar would have been created after the Grantham to Nottingham turnpike Act was passed in 1729. The turnpiking of the Grantham to Melton road (now the A607) seems not to have commenced until after 1758. The improvements to road-making instigated by John Loudon McAdam (1756–1836) were among the improvements which made turnpike roads much easier for coaches and other vehicles.

Turnpikes were profitable, although steadily the money was syphoned off by speculators who bid at auctions for the tolls thereby starving the roads of money needed for maintenance. And then came the railways and the turnpikes no longer generated enough money for repairs.

The income from the 'Barrowby Bar' alone between 1826 and 1833 averaged roughly £140 pounds a year (about £14,000 at today's values). More details of the income and expenditure relating to the toll road can be found in Cryer 1976 p57.

The branch line from Grantham to Nottingham – the 'Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway', as it was originally called – opened in 1850. As the two routes run almost in parallel this would have caused a dramatic drop in the number of vehicles using the road.

The outcome of railways depriving turnpikes of income was a national problem. Parliament steadily abolished turnpike trusts and transferred the cost of mainentance to the district (or the county in the case of bridges). The Act abolishing the Grantham to Melton turnpike trust was passed in 1873 and the Grantham to Nottingham trust in 1876. The house and gate to the north of Barrowby were auctioned early in 1877 (Cryer 1976 p57). After nearly 150 years the toll bar was no more, except as the name of lane.

If anyone knows when the name changed from Toll Bar Lane to Rectory Lane then please email me:– bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk.


souces

Nottinghamshire History - roads

Nottingham–Grantham line


If you think I've got something wrong – or can add additional information or photographs – then please email me:– bobtrubs@indigogroup.co.uk.


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Articles about Barrowby

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summary of prehistoric Barrowby

summary of Roman Barrowby

Anglo-Saxons

Medieval

Seventeenth and eighteenth centuries

Nineteenth century

nineteenth and twentieth century population

Twentieth century

there's more could be said...

bibliography

index of surnames in Cryer 1979


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rare seventeenth fonts at Muston, Bottesford and Orston from Project Gargoyle Newsletter 2020

Ironstone quarries of Leicestershire
YouTube video

Wyville's wells

Harston's Anglo-Saxon carvings

Bottesford's effigies

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