The Turnpike at Scrooby

The Turnpike at Scrooby

Graham Robbins

The main road bypasses the heart of the village of Scrooby. This line was established in 1776 when this section of the Great North Road was turnpiked. A turnpike was a toll road maintained by a private company. A section of turnpiked road had toll bars at intervals at which road-users were charged.

Scrooby's toll house stood on the higher ground north of the River Ryton. The platform of the building can still be seen by the side of the road; but nothing of the building itself now remains. The toll charges were displayed on a board, which is now displayed on the wall of the Village Hall. The charges depended on the size of the vehicle and the width of the vehicle's wheels; narrower wheels did more damage to the road surface.


Turnpike Tolls

On the north wall of Scrooby's village hall, hangs the toll board, once displayed at the Scrooby toll bar booth on the turnpiked Great North Road. The board refers for authority to the Acts of Parliament '53. Geo 3' and '24.v.25:Vict.C.70'. It would be very interesting to know what these acts were.


Tolls to be Taken at the Scrooby Bar

The board has clearly been overpainted; we should read these tolls as the last revision of the rules and prices.

The board reads:

                Tolls to be taken at the
Under 53.              Scrooby bar             Geo. 3:
------------------------------------------------------- s d

For every coach, chaise or other carriage drawn by 
------ 4 horses or other draught beasts                 1 3
------ 3 or 2             do                            = 6
------ 1                  do                            = 2

For every horse or other draught beast drawing any wagon,
cart, carriage & laden with a block or blocks of stone, or
marble, or with timber or drawing any millstone ------- = 3

For evey waggon or cart drawn by
------ 5 or 4 horses or other draught beasts
            wheels less than 4 1/2 inches ------------- 1 2
            do     less than 6 inches ----------------- 1 =
            do     6 inches or more ------------------- = 9
------ 3 horses or other draught beasts
            wheels less than 4 1/2 inches ------------- = 9
            do     less than 6 inches -----------------   7 1/2
            do     6 inches or more ------------------- = 6 1/2
------ 2 horses or other draught beasts
            wheels less than 4 1/2 inches ------------- = 4 1/2
            do     less than 6 inches -----------------   4
            do     6 inches or more -------------------   3
------ 1 horse or other draught beast
            wheels less than 4 1/2 inches ------------- = 2
            do     less than 6 inches ----------------- = 2
            do     6 inches or more ------------------- = 1 1/2

For every horse mare gelding mule ass ox bullock
or beast not drawing ---------------------------------- = 1

For every drove of oxen, cows or neat cattle,
------------ per score and so in proportion ----------- = 6

For every drove of calves swine sheep or lambs
------------ per score and so in proportion ----------- = 3

Under 24.v.25: Vict.c.70 For every locomotive a toll
for 2 tons weight or fraction
thereof, equal to one horse drawing: The width of the 
wheels to regulate
the amount as above.

For every cart, waggon or carriage, drawn or 
propelled thereby a toll
for every pair of wheels, equal to two horses 
drawing; the width of
the wheels to regulate the amount as above.
and for every additional wheel, one half toll more. BY ORDER,

A ticket for Retford              Mee, Burnaby & Denman
                                  Clerks to the Trustees.

Turnpike Bridges

The extant features of the turnpike are the two red brick bridges which are part of the causeway carrying the road over the flood plain of the River Ryton. West Bear Meadows lies to the west of the causeway. Otter Pits lies to the east. The bridges allow flood waters to discharge across the flood plain.

Flood Waters in Otter Pits, Scrooby, June 2007

The bridges could be seen 'in action' in the summer of 2007 when the whole of the flood plain was under water following the heavy rains. The flood waters backed up behind the causeway, funelled through the bridges at a terrific speed.

Flood Waters streaming through the Southern Turnpike Bridge, Scrooby, June 2007

Flood Waters in West Bear Meadows, Scrooby, June 2007

Flood Waters in West Bear Meadows, Scrooby, June 2007

Following the floods, Dave and Christine Hull have redug the drainage ditch along the eastern side of West Bear Meadows, parallel with the road. The excavations revealed the footings and construction of one of the bridges.

Scrooby Turnpike Bridge 14 March 2008

The bridges were built on a raft of gravel and clay bounded by horizontal timber beams held in place by vertical timber posts. A brick surface was laid over the top of the clay and gravel footings, upon which the visable structure of the bridge was constructed. The massive single-piece horizontal timber beams are approximately the length of six railway sleepers, and of roughly the same height and width as a sleeper.

The ditch also shows the dark peaty organic-rich soils which have developed on the Ryton's flood plain. These soils are in marked contrast to the dry sandy soils of the majority of the area.

Dark Peaty Soils in the Ryton Flood Plain, Scrooby 14 March 2008