Bradford Hundred Turnpike Roads

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


Bradford Roads Trust (in red)


The roads of the Bradford Roads Trust are in red; other turnpike roads are in blue.

The first Bradford Road Act in 1752 authorised a Turnpike Trust to make, maintain and charge tolls on a road from Combe Bridge (at the boundary of Limpley Stoke, Bradford with Monkton Combe, Somerset) to Winsley, Bradford,  Staverton Bridge and Ashton Common, Steeple Ashton. It also authorised another road from Bradford, across Trowle to Cockhill Gate (which is now in Trowbridge).

In 1762 an Act was passed authorising a Turnpike road from Bradford through Holt to Melksham and Lacock, with a branch through Broughton Gifford and South Wraxall to join the Old Bath Road at Kingsdown Hill in Box.

The Act 17 Geo. III cap. 72 of 1777 renewed the 1762 Act and added a new Turnpike from Bradford, passing South Wraxall to Fiveways in Box to join the old London to Bath Road and road to Corsham. Cap (ie. Chapter) 98  of the same Act renewed the 1752 Act, but charging the upkeep of Stokeford Bridge to the Trust; it had previously been privately owned.

Under an Act of 1792 (32 Geo. III cap. 137) the New Bath Road was built from Bradford to Bathford, passing close to Monkton Farleigh.

Acts of 1798, 1806, 1819 and 1826 renewed previous Bradford Roads Acts, with minor alterations about maintenance.

In 1826 the engineer Thomas Telford reported on a road that was proposed to go from Bath to Melksham via Great Chalfield, but it was not made.

All of the roads within the town became free of tolls in 1839, when as part of the Bradford Improvement Act they became supported by the rates.

The last Bradford Roads Act came in 1841 and consolidated all the previous Acts; it authorised one more Turnpike- that from Bradford to Wingfield.

All the Bradford Turnpikes were finally abolished in 1873 under the Annual Turnpikes Act Continuance Act. The responsibility for their upkeep passed to the Trowbridge Highway District and subsequently to Wiltshire County Council.

Another Turnpike in the Bradford Hundred area is the Black Dog Trust -the present Warminster Road (A36)- which was named after an inn where the committee met. It opened on 1st October 1835 as an easier alternative to the Trust’s earlier road of 1752, which goes via Midford and it depended on building a long viaduct across the Midford Brook valley. Coming from Bath, it crosses into Limpley Stoke by the Viaduct and heads south into Freshford to join the old road at Woolverton. The road was, from 1832, the work of William Macadam, son of the famous John Loudon Macadam, the “Colossus of Roads”.

The Turnpike from Melksham to Box, (Melksham Trust 1753) was at one time a part of the route from London to Bath and passed through Atworth on its way.

A Trowbridge Trust road passes through Westwood, Freshford and Limpley Stoke to connect with roads to Bath.

In the late 18th century Bradford Roads charged tolls at the following rates:

Coach and four or more horses 1 shilling, two horses 6 pence; carriage with one horse 3 pence; wagon or cart with five or more horses 1 shilling, four horses 8 pence, three horses 6 pence, two horses 3 pence, one horse 2 pence; a horse laden or unladen and not drawing 1 penny; cattle per score 10 pence; sheep, pigs etc per score 5 pence.