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Sioe sleidiauRhif 15 o 49 Blaenorol    Nesa

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Dyddiad cyhoeddi : 23-11-2012

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Noder y Ty Toll / Note the Toll House.
Lleoliad Rhodfa'r Brenin ac Eglwys St. Tudwal 'rwan. / Location today of Kings Crecent and St. Tudwals Church. Bu i " Ddeddf y Priffyrdd 1862 " roi diwedd a'r dalu tollau am ddefnyddio'r mwyafrif o ffyrdd .
Caewyd y toll-dy yn 1888. Dywed Leslie Darbyshire :
" It hung on the wall in the comer of the antique shop, a faded photo in a shabby frame, the caption underneath just stated "Old Toll House Barmouth". On the back somebody had written Handlith Terrace built by John Griffith 1874 and that it had been a wedding present from Mam a Mrs G E Owen, Wern Barmouth.
The picture shows the Toll house the gate with Handlith Terrace. Kings Crescent had as yet not being built its location being where the Roman Catholic Church St Tudwal is sited. Also on the back of the frame we have another name for the Toll house namely Turnpike House.

Cyfrannwyd y llun gan Hugh G. Roberts


The history of Toll houses or Turnpikes houses or "Tyrpec" in Welsh is fascinating, nearly all towns and villages had their Toll house which were erected to collect tolls for the repair and maintenance of road in that particular place. The term Turnpike refers to the military practice of placing a pikestaff across the road to block and control passage, this would be "turned" to one side to allow travellers through. The first turnpike road, whereby travellers paid toll for its upkeep was authorised in 1663 for a section of road in Hertfordshire and the first Turnpike Trust was established by parliament through a Trust Act in 1706 placing a section of the London-Coventry-Chester road in the hands of a group of trustees. The trustees could erect gates as they saw fit, demand statute labour or cash equivalent, and appoint surveyors and collectors. In return they repaired the road and put up mile posts. Trusts were established for a limited period of office, often for twenty one years. Before the 18th century each parish looked after its own roads but the traffic increased as part of the Agricultural Revolution and the parishes could no longer afford the upkeep without help. The law was changed; companies could be set up to look after the roads. They made money to look after the roads by charging people a toll to use them. The money was collected at toll houses (Turnpike House) and a gate to the turnpike opened to allow further passage. The collected money went to the investors and maintenance of the road and bridges .The companies who set up and maintained these roads were called Turnpike Trust. The Parliament of England had placed the upkeep of bridges to local settlements or the containing county under the Bridges Act of 1555 and similarly the care of roads were devolved to the parishes as statute labour under the Highways Act 1555. Every adult inhabitant of the parish was obliged to work four consecutive days a year on the roads, providing their own tools, carts and horses, the work being overseen by an unpaid local appointee, the surveyor of Highways It was not until 1654 that road rates were introduced; the improvements by paid labour were offset by the rise in the use of wheeled vehicles greatly increasing wear and the Government put a curb on wheeled vehicles and regulated their construction, by having wider rims which would be less damaging and for a period led to carts having sixteen inch wheels which did not cause ruts, but neither did they roll or flatten the road as was hoped. Many of the trust were fraudulently administered, the Turnpike Act of 1822 required trusts to keep accounts. In 1744 an act had made milestones compulsory on most turnpike roads. At first there were no permanent toll houses, gates were closed at night, but when it was realised that turnpikes were not temporary, toll houses were built at road junctions with a clear view of the gates and roads. There were complaints that gates were found locked because the keepers were missing or that they were drunk or asleep. The wages of 9 shillings per week did not induce the right sort of staff. However this changed in the 1770’s when the operation of turnpikes was “farmed? out to the highest bidder at a public auction. This meant that the successful bidder paid annual rent to the trust but kept the tolls collected. He would either run the tollgate himself or pay a gatekeeper. It is interesting to note that the North End Tollhouse at Barmouth, according to the census of 1851 was kept by a farmer but in the subsequent census we have a toll keeper. At the beginning of the 18th century Daniel Defoe comments “Turn Pikes have been set up on several great roads of England, at which all carriages, droves or cattle and travellers on horseback are obliged to pay an easy toll: that is to say – a horse one penny, a coach three pence and a cart four pence at some or six to eight pence, a wagon six pence,in some a shilling. Cattle pay by the score or by the herd and in some places more. But in no place is it thought a burthen that ever I met with, the benefit of a good road abundantly making amends for the little charge the travellers are put to at the turn pikes …..? However they weren’t universally popular, people rioted against toll tax in 1726 and “gate crashing? was common practice. The county of Merioneth did not escape the toll pike era, remains of toll houses are seen throughout the county and Barmouth itself can boast of three. The toll house depicted in the photo was on the North End of town. Dr Lewis Lloyd, in his book of Harlech, gives valuable information about the condition and history of the local Trust. Turnpike Trust had been established in Ffestiniog and Maentwrog in 1833 and similarly the Barmouth Talybont Turnpike Trust was formed to develop a new road between Barmouth and Talybont and to improve the existing road from Talybont to Harlech. The condition of the road was so improved that a coach company started an express service between Barmouth and Caernarfon and was called the Mountaineer Coach; it took ten hours to do the journey and it operated on alternate days. It connected with the Mail Coach for Bangor or the Morning Coach at Seven for the Steam Boats at Menai Bridge and according to the advert in the Caernarfon Herald as soon as the road between Dolgellau and Aberystwyth was improved this public accommodation would be extended to the latter place; the advert was dated July 26th 1833. The trust instituted three tollgates on the Harlech Barmouth route, one at Barmouth at the North end of the town and two at Harlech, Clogwyn-Twtil and Llechwedd. The toll road did not follow the route as we know it, at the Clogwyn tollgate the road proceeded through Pentre’r Efail and down Tryfarto Ty’n y Groes where it turned sharply up Twtil, past the castle and out of the town along Llechwedd. It is a mystery how four horse mail coaches negotiated the sharp bend and steep slope in either direction. The Ffestiniog- Maentwrog and Harlech-Barmouth merged in 1851 and was eventually wound up in 1851. Dr David Craik made an interesting observation in a recent e-mail to the writer, “The Turnpikes were a source of great resentment throughout Wales, because of the charges made to farmers coming to marts (Helyntio Becca). This may well explain the diversity of roads approaching Harlech over the eastern top which were used by the drovers to catch up with the road to and from Bala.? Barmouth had three tollgates, one up on the old road by Gorllwyn, which still retains the lookout. This presumably dealt with the drovers before the bottom road was made. The other was sited where Birmingham Garage stands today, the owner said recently when, years ago, they were excavating down for a petrol tank, they came across foundations of a building. This Toll House was called the East Toll House, not far from the present garage is an old quarry which, according to Dr David Craik, the poor of Barmouth were “offered? work in this parish quarry, the stone of which would be used for road ballast by the local turnpikes. The income from the gates was quite high. Hugh J Owens’ book “The Treasures of the Mawddach? in which a notice of Public Auction to be held at the Angel Inn Dolgellau on Tuesday 11th February 1862 that the tolls arising at the under-mentioned Turnpikes will be let by auction…….. to the highest bidder. Amongst the thirteen gates included were Barmouth and Llanelltyd, which stated these two tolls produced the current year exclusive of collecting the sum annexed to each viz:- Barmouth gate £120. Llanelltyd Gate & Side Bar £163. In 1800 the road between Dolgellau and Harlech was not more than a cart track, from Bontddu it took to the uplands past the mansion of Gorsygedol to lower ground at Talybont where Llanddwywe Inn was sited. It then followed the present road to Llanfair except for the length between Llanbedr and Pensarn whence it took to the high ground past Pant Mawr into Harlech. Gate crashing of tolls has been mentioned and in his booklet “The Old Order? by B.Bowen Thomas based on the diary of Elizabeth Baker, it has an entry about the toll gate near Bryn Adda Dolgellau for the night of August 7th 1780. “The conversation was ended by the entrance of one of the maid servants, who with offrighted countenance spoke to her Mistress in Welsh. The Mistress caught the horror and cried out “the man’s shot – on asking who? was told my Charioteer – the Master and Mistress descended quick – I followed and found the man’s wounds not mortal. It was given by the person who keeps the Turnpike. The waggoner with his fellow servt returning home cry’d …..Gate ….. Gate usual enough the keeper coming out and finding no one there on horseback he ask’d ….. who had call’d? being told teo or three had pass’d fetch’d his gun and pursued them two or three hundred yards at least, then fir’d yhe wound was on the crown of his head, his companion receiv’d some shot in his legs, the poor fellow were fortunately more affrighted than hurt, yet the Gate-Keeper merits punishment of some kind to deter him from such a prank in future.? In this period the wealthy had their private coaches for long journeys. They could take their time and so mitigate their discomforts. Ordinary folk had no alternative but to complete the task even at some peril to health and limb and life. Elizabeth Baker records the plight of one “Richard Jones? who had travelled on the coach. “Poor Richard Jones returned last Saturday from London … poor man! The journey has emanciated him… left Salop together designing to be conveyed together upon the top of the Stage coach but poor RJ, when he had gone about six miles found it impossible to keep his seat and changed it for the basket – unluckily the rain was incessant till they reached Oxford: at that place a female, who went passenger within, terminated her journey and Richard Jones filled her room on paying three shillings out of his Exchequer ….. he, by rolling in the basket was dreadfully bruised ….. Lewis Jones continued on the top of the coach all the way. The only coach service ran from Dolgellau to Bala and thence to Oswestry. The road to Barmouth as already mentioned had not been opened and traffic used the tidal river. The road to the old county town of Harlech went over Llawllech and passing Corsygedol, reached the coast at Dyffryn. This road and others which went through the mountains to Dinas Mawddwy and Welshpool to the south east and to Towyn to the west were only fit for cattle drovers and horse traffic. However the days of the Turnpike Trust were numbered, various parliamentary acts were made and in 1885 the last turnpike trust ended in 1889. Newly formed county councils took over responsibility for local roads. The last toll gates to close were on the London to Holyhead road in Anglesey which closed in 1895. In 1909 central government began to give grants to local authorities for road maintenance. The Ministry of Transport was set up in 1930, County Councils accepted responsibility for all roads. Trunk roads became the financial responsibility of the Ministry of Transport. The Motorway system began in 1960. The evolution from cart /mud roads to modern high speed highways in a little over a century, but in certain areas, motorway tolls have been re-introduced ".
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