Saturday 08 August 2020

The Onny Valley Turnpike Road

Pulverbatch is one of the settlements on the former Onny Valley Turnpike road between Shrewsbury and Bishop's Castle.

The enabling Act for the Bishop's Castle Turnpike Trust was obtained in 1768 and in the preamble, the roads leading to Shrewsbury are described as being 'in a ruinous condition and in many parts narrow and incommodious' (nothing changes there, then!). The Trust was responsible for improving the road from Bishop's Castle as far as Longden, where it joined the earlier (1765) turnpike to Shrewsbury, and for providing tollgates and tollhouses. The only tollhouse to survive is the one in Pulverbatch (The Gate House).

Typical tolls were 4d for a horse-drawn carriage, 1d for a horse, 10d for a score of cattle and 5d for a score of other stock. These were doubled in 1801, but payment at one gate then gave free passage at others.

The turnpike climbed to 1130ft over Cothercott Hill before descending steeply into Pulverbatch and on to Longden, replacing the mediaeval route (the green lane now known as Pulthey Lane).

From 1766 turnpike trusts were obliged to provide milestones along their roads and some nine of the originals still exist in the Upper Onny valley. There do not appear to be any in Pulverbatch but a recently restored milestone still stands at the side of the road in Longden Common, although it only lists the mileage to Shrewsbury whereas a genuine turnpike stone should also list the mileage from Bishops Castle too.

(extracted from "The Upper Onny Valley").

The Gate House