Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Turnpikes of Ryde

Turnpike at St. John's

A brief excerpt from the RSHG Archive of Turnpikes & Tolls
Pictured (right) is a painting from the 1860’s showing the turnpike gate and the house at St. John’s. It was in position from 1848 till 1889.

Under an Act of 1813, all of the roads on the Island, with the exception of those within the Borough of Newport, were placed under the control of newly appointed Highway Commissioners.  They also took over the bridges over which their roads passed, and it gave them the power to levy tolls on coaches and driven animals using the roads.

The local 1813 Act authorised the new Highway Commissioners to erect necessary toll houses and turnpikes throughout the Island.  The Commissioners did not waste any time, for at a meeting in the November following the passing of the Act it was decided to set up three tollgates in the Ryde area.

  1. A Toll House and gate on the road at the east end of Stonepits Common near the road leading to the Pound.
  2. A Toll House and gate on the road leading from Ryde to Ashey, a short distance from Ryde.
  3. A gate on the waste land on the left hand side of the road leading to St. Johns.

In the following spring surveyors were ordered to meet with the proprietors and occupiers of the lands on which it was desired to erect the houses etc.  The surveyors reported back that the necessary land was available, and in the May it was agreed to build the Stonepitts toll-house at a cost of £132. 1s. 0d. John Ganaway was appointed Collector of Tolls and was to be paid 7s. per week.

The Ashey and St. John’s gates were erected and William Austen and Thomas Waterman were respectively employed to collect the tolls and be paid 7s per week.

Toll Tickets Smallbrooke Gate

In June 1847 an Act for amending the Ryde Improvement Act was passed.  This meant that the Town took over complete control of its roads  and that the three toll houses had to be moved outside the town limits.  This in effect meant that the Stonepitts Toll House had to be moved to the Binstead side of the stream.  The old toll house at Stonepitts Common stood until 1859 when it was demolished.  With Ashey gate it was not so simple because just south of the original site the road diverts into Upton Road and Ashey Road.  This meant that the Highway Commissioners had to erect two gates.  One by Aldermoor Farm, using Rose Cottage as the Toll House and another at Smallbrook Four Cross.

The St. John’s Gate was removed to a plot opposite St. John’s Church.  This move in effect took place earlier than the other toll houses, because Sir John Simeon had had East Hill Road built and this caused the need for the move to cover entrance to Ryde. Late in 1877 this gate was moved out to the Brading road.

Turnpikes were disappearing during the latter part of the 19th century and the Island was one of the last places to have them.  When the Government set up the County Councils in 1888 it became apparent to the local Highway Commissioners that if the turnpikes were scrapped there would be more money from the Government for future road maintenance.  Tolls on Island roads were to cease on 31 March 1889.

Image source: RSHG Archive Roy Brinton Collection