The Milestones Project

Most of England's milestones were erected in the eighteenth century. Turnpike trusts were set up by Acts of Parliament. They were charged with creating new roads, as well as maintaining existing ones. They charged tolls for using the roads and from 1766, were required to mark every mile with a stone.  (Hartpury Historic Land and Buildings Trust). In the late 1700’s the Gloucester to Worcester Turnpike Trust erected milestones along the route from Gloucester to Upton on Severn. They were placed at the stipulated one mile intervals and all were situated on the eastern side of the road - this is the left hand side of the road approaching Gloucester.

The first Turnpike Act, relating to the Gloucester to Hereford and Worcester routes, which divided at Cross Hands, Corse, was in 1725. It expired in 1879 - a period of approximately 150 years. In the earlier part of that period, the road from Maisemore passed over Woolridge Hill along what is now called Old Road.
It is interesting to consider if there were ever milestones on this route - certainly nothing is is evidence to suggest there was. This route had been replaced by 1828 by the new road via Overton, the present A417.

Through the parish of Maisemore, 3 stones were placed, marking the 1 mile, the 2 mile and the 3 mile distances from “Gloster” - the distance was measured from the Westgate on Westgate Bridge via the junction, which some of us knew, at Over Bridge. So today's distances are about 1/8 mile less.

Over a protracted timeframe, MLHS has worked to restore the milestones to their original condition. This process was recently accelerated and full restoration was achieved in February 2018. It was funded solely by MLHS members and voluntary contributions of labour and materials.

Maisemore 1 - the one mile stone was dislodged sometime more than twelve years ago, possibly because of bank erosion in the vicinity or as a consequence of telecom cable laying. It was discovered by David Jones in July 2006 in the undergrowth about 50m south from its original position, rescued by Jeremy Chamberlayne and stored since then at Maisemore Court. It is limestone.

Maisemore 2 - the two miles stone was the only one which remained in place, next to Milestone Cottage on the north west edge of Maisemore, albeit without its original metal plaque. It is also limestone.

Milestone 3 - the three mile stone disappeared a few years ago, possibly following an incident when a grain lorry overturned on top of it and the hedge, or as a result of telecoms cable laying. It was only found in January 2018 in an adjacent field. Interestingly this appears to be grey Forest stone unlike the other two.

It is interesting to note that the three Maisemore milestones all had iron plaques, as evidenced by the two attachment holes in each, while the Hartpury stones are engraved and those on Corse Lawn also all have iron plaques.
The replacement plaques have been sourced by the MLHS which engaged David McDougall of Taynton to make the moulds for them and have them cast in Telford. He has also meticulously painted them. MLHS is most grateful to him for his involvement.

We would have liked to replace the one and three mile stones in their original positions, as recorded on the OS maps. In fact, that has not been possible, due to a lack of space on the verge of the road and recently installed telecoms cabling. So, keeping them on the left side of the road on the approach to Gloucester, the one mile stone is now located near the last field entrance, approaching the roundabout, which is actually about 3/4 mile from Westgate Bridge, while the three mile stone at Overton is about fifty metres closer to Gloucester. Both replaced stones have been erected with a surround of gravel, on a membrane to prevent weed growth, improving visibility and avoiding the need for trimmers to get close.



"The West Gate & Bridge - Gloucester" engraved by J.C.Varrall after a picture by Pierce. Published in J. Britton's Picturesque Antiquities of English Cities, 1830. Copper engraved print.

Owing to a need to ascertain where the buried services were, and also owing to requiring to work in proximity to the main road, the installation of the one and three mile stones was carried out by James Yardley from Complete Utilities (pictures on the Milestone 1 page). MLHS is likewise grateful to him for his involvement.

 

There follows three pages illustrating each milestone in turn:

Milestone 1

Milestone 2

Milestone 3

 

There are now milestones standing, largely unnoticed, on the A417, at every mile from Playley Green, (10m), to GLOSTER and all but one, on the B4211 and A417, from Upton-on-Severn, (15m) to GLOSTER. They are a great record of a former transport system in our area and they are all recorded, except the one mile post, with photos, in the Milestone Survey, prepared by the Hartpury Land and Buildings Trust, in 2003 and are available in Hartpury Church or from Jim Chapman. 

We are grateful to the following people for realising this project:

Ron Lane, David Jones, David McDougal (Taynton), Jeremy Chamberlayne, Chris Jones, James Yardley (Complete Utilities), Jim Chapman (Hartpury) and others (you know who you are!)

 

 

Links (which will open in a new window):


Turnpikes - The development of the road system through Hartpury:

http://www.hartpuryheritage.org.uk/our-initiatives/milestones/turnpikes/