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Today in 1735 - The Turnpike Riot - Illustration: Turnpike Riot PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Eager   
Monday, 28 September 2009 00:00
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Today in 1735 - The Turnpike Riot
Illustration: Turnpike Riot
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Daughters of Rebecca attacking a Toll Gate

Cross-dressing rioters: The Daughters of Rebecca attacking a Toll Gate (Turnpike) (London Illustrated News 1843)

The Black Act (1723) prohibited acts of disguise. The Black Act was designed to prohibit bandits and poachers from disguising themselves.

NB Herefordshire's first turnpike trust was set up in Ledbury to levy money on the roads entering Ledbury. The Ledbury Turnpike Trust was set up by Act of Parliament in 1721.


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Widemarsh Street Toll Gate c1860 on Ledbury Portal

Widemarsh Street Toll Gate, Hereford c1860 shortly before its removal.

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 February 2016 15:32
Comments (2)
Perverting the Course of History
2 Tuesday, 29 September 2009 10:57
Ray X
The information the above account is based upon is the Old Bailey's version. Unfortunately, the trial of Thomas Reynolds was a show trial and the court was given inaccurate information.
This Ledbury Turnpike Riot took place on 21st September 1735, one week earlier. Most of the actual events are the same except the two men who the mob/turnpike levellers attempted to free were not Reynolds and Bayliss, they were in fact William Bithell and William Morgan. Both men were later hanged at Worcester amid tight security - almost 100 soldiers armed with muskets with bayonets attached.
There had already been disturbances in and around Ledbury because of the turnpikes and their one shilling levy on all the nine roads leading out of Ledbury, so much so that the Government passed an act in June 1734 making 'cutting down turnpikes' a capital offence.
On the day of the levelling John Skyppe III (one of the 39 trustees of the Ledbury Turnpike Trust) read the riot act to a mob of about a hundred men armed with guns, swords and axes. Skyppe and his men then went to defend the 'last turnpike.' From this we can then assume that the other eight had been successfully destroyed.
Even after this riot there were further turnpike disturbances which still continued after the renewal of Ledbury Turnpike Act, when the toll was reduced to 6d. Troops were sent to Ledbury to quell the riots but they were refused food and accomodation by the towns people.
The turnpikes were a failure. They were hated by the people, they further damaged an already depressed economy and the roads were as bad as ever.
It wasn't until the end of the C18th when Ledbury became the first market town in Herefordshire to get a canal linking it to Gloucester that Ledbury's economy improved significantly and times they changed.
1 Monday, 28 September 2009 15:09
A friend of mine asked meet to pick up my axe and meet him in town that morning but when i arrived i noticed there where no musicians around unless you count the two official looking chaps pounding a beat on some poor guys head, Wow! this really is an experimental style i thought to myself and is also attracting quite the audience but its not really my kind of thing so i headed back home before i got caught up in what seemed to be a moshpit in full effect.I didn't find my friend and haven't seen him since.Thank you Portal for shedding light on what was really happening there.I don't like the idea of paying to travel across the land i was born to,it just encourages greed.What will be next,Paying to leave you vehicle behind?