Black Dog (Bath and Warminster) Turnpike Trust                       (updated 23rd Sept 2009)

This trust was created in 1752. It takes its name from the inn at which the Trustees held their meetings. Its main responsibilities were roads leading south from Bath towards Warminster with a branch from Frome; this included coal carrying traffic.

List of Acts

Black Dog

Bath and Warminster

25 Geo2 c12





17 Geo3





39&40 Geo3





52 Geo3 c56





3 Wil4 c78




To raise funds

1 Vic c3





16&17 Vic








Warminster 1800

An Act for enlarging the Term and Powers of an Act, made in the Seventeenth Year of His present Majesty's Reign, for amending and keeping in Repair the Road from the Town of Warminster in the County of Wilts, to a Place where the Roads to Bath and Bristol divide; and from the Town of Frome to the Town of Beckington in the County of Somerset; and other Roads therein mentioned. [20th June 1800.]

Warminster 1812

An Act for repairing the Roads from Warminster, and from Frome, to the Bath Road; and from Woolverton to the Trowbridge Road; in the Counties of Wilts and Somerset. [20th April 1812.]

Warminster 1833

An Act for better repairing the Roads from Warminster and from Frome to the Bath Road, and from Woolverton to the Trowbridge Road, in the Counties of Wilts and Somerset, and for making certain new Lines of Road branching out of such Roads to and towards Bath. [10th June 1833.]


Select Committee on State of Roads 1840

William Whitaker of Frome Selwood (clerk to the trust) reported

There are 29 miles 5 furl. of road through 21 parishes – all repaired by the trustees (except 6 furl in Southstoke repaired by the parish.

7 toll gates and 8 side bars

The roads are stated to be in “good” repair – no part under indictment for want of repair.


In “Return of length of road in each Turnpike Trust in England & Wales” Parl. Papers 1847-48 – (dated May 1848)

Trust reported 29 miles 0 furl. 9 yds (similar to 1840)

Report to Secretary of State 1852

PP (1852/3) No. 11 —BLACK DOG ROAD.

the existing Local Act for this road (the 3rd of William IV. cap.78.) was passed in the year 1833 for a term of thirty-one years (until 1864),." and, from thence to the end of the then next session of Parliament."

The Trustees, at a meeting held at Woolverton on the 80th of September 1852, resolved to apply to Parliament for an Act to alter the mode of applying the tolls of this road, under the circumstances set forth in the following statement transmitted to the Secretary of State:—

" 9th October, 1852'

" By the Black Do? Turnpike Act, 52nd George III. cap. 56., the Trustees" were empowered to borrow at interest on the credit of the tolls £10,000 of" which sum £6,200. was raised at 4.5 per cent, interest, and remains a first claim on the tolls.'

" By the 3rd William IV. cap 78., the Trustees were empowered to borrow " at interest a further sum, not exceeding, with the money .then due, £30,000., to enable the Trustees to make some new lines of road. The whole of this mount, being £23,800., was taken up at 5 per cent, interest.

" By the 1st Victoria, cap. 3,, the Trustees, being in debt to their treasurer, were empowered to raise a further sum of £6,000,, of which latter sum, £3.100. only was raised at 5 per cent, interest, making the present debt on, such securities £33,100.

" The tolls taken on the roads fluctuated between £3,582. and £4,454 from the 1st of January 1838 to the 1st of January 1849. a period of eleven years; since which time they have been gradually declining, by reason of the opening of branch lines of railway, and are estimated at  £2,000. for the present year.

"It. being impossible in the impaired state of the revenue, to repair the roads and pay the interest of the debt, application was made to the bondholders to reduce their rate of interest to 3 per cent., which was assented to by some, but dissented from by the greater part.;

The Trustees then made application to the magistrates, in their different petty sessions divisions, for contribution orders on the surveyors in the different parishes on the lines of road, which, except in one instance, were refused. Since the refusal by the magistrates to make such contribution orders on the surveyors, an ejectment has been brought by one of the bond holders who obtained judgment, and is now in receipt of the tolls, and the repairs are in consequence unprovided for.

Should the roads get into bad condition, the greater portion of the traffic, which consists of coal hauling, will be diverted into other channels, and the revenue from tolls reduced nearly one-half its present amount, and such traffic would not be likely to be recovered.

To obviate the difficulties of the Trust, and for the ultimate benefit of the holders of securities on the tolls, the Trustees are desirous of applying for an extension of the term granted by the existing Acts, from its present  limit of 12 years to 21 years, and, in consideration thereof, that the bond-holders' interest on their several securities should be reduced.

"It is proposed to give each mortgagee ample notice of the intended application to Parliament, and it is believed and felt, that if the case was fairly brought under the consideration of a committee of the House of Commons that an arrangement satisfactory to all parties would be arrived at; but before proceeding to take any step in the matter, the Trustees are desirous of ascertaining, as far as is practicable, if such an application to Parliament will receive the favourable consideration of the Secretary of State.

(Signed)       " dyson & Co.

"24, Parliament Street."

Although the term of the Act had not expired, no objection was offered to the Trustees' application to Parliament, because the tolls had been seized by the .mortgagees, In February last application was made to the clerk to the Trustees, to state the particulars of the proposals made to the creditors to reduce the, rate of interest, and the result of such proposals, to which the following reply was received :—

"•On the 27th February 1851, at a meeting of the Trustees of the. roads, it was resolved, that as the tolls on the roads had decreased since 1846 from £4,303. 16s. 6d. to £2,773.1Is. 11d. for the year ending 31st December 1850, with the prospect of further decrease, the Trustees found it impossible to continue the payment of the present rate of interest to the bondholders, and maintain the roads in the lowest practicable state of repair, and therefore felt it necessary to propose to the bondholders a reduction of their interest to three pounds per cent., copies of which resolution were sent to each bond-holder. A meeting of the bondholders was held on the 3d of May 1851, and a resolution come to, that it was the opinion of the meeting the Trustees' proposition to reduce the interest ought not to be acceded to; that the Trust should put in force the Act of Parliament for obtaining contributions from the several parishes; that if the Trustees put in force the provisions of the Act the bondholders should receive four per cent, interest, if the Trustees under the Act of 1833 invested yearly ten per cent, and the difference on the amount of interest between four per cent, and the interest payable on the securities, as a fund for the liquidation of the debts in the proportions therein stated; that if the Trustees declined or were unable to put in force the Act for obtaining contributions, or any of the bondholders refused or neglected to execute a valid document for rendering such arrangement binding, &c., that the bondholders, or one of them, should take measures, under the General Turnpike Act, to obtain possession of the tolls. Several subsequent communications were made, and a committee of Trustees met a committee of the bondholders called at Warminster to discuss the subject of reduction of interest, but no arrangement could be come to. The Trustees afterwards applied to the magistrates in the several divisions on the lines of road to enforce the provisions for contribution by the parishes, but, except in one solitary instance, on a very small portion of the road, the magistrates refused to make any order. On the 5th of February 1852 the Trustees, at a meeting held on that day, directed the clerk to communicate to the committee of bondholders, that having considered the question in every point of view, they were under the neccesity of stating, finally, that unless the bondholders consented to receive three per cent, interest the Trustees would feel " it necessary to memorialise the Home Office to sanction the application to Parliament for some measure for relieving the Trust from its difficulties. This resolution was submitted to a meeting of the committee of bondholders held on the 5th of February 1852, at which meeting it was resolved, that the clerk to the committee do write to the clerk to the Trustees, that the meeting could not recommend the bondholders to accede to the proposal contained in the resolution of the Trustees, unless provision were made for " the formation of a sinking fund."

On the 11th of March a memorial from one of the bondholders was presented to the Secretary of State, praying that the accounts of the Trust might be rigidly investigated, previously to granting a new Act. In the said memorial the true causes of the difficulties of the Trust are thus stated:—" That, in pursuance of the resolutions of the bondholders, May 3rd, 1851, the Commissioners applied for a rate to meet the current demands of the said Trust. The causes or the failure will appear from the grounds which magistrates took in their refusal of the application. They state (as reported in a Bath paper at the time),—1. That a large sum had been lost in 1837 from Commissioners allowing their clerk to exercise the office and functions of treasurer, and he absconded with nearly £2.000. in his hands, which has been wholly lost; " 2. That Commissioners as well as treasurer must have been aware of this irregularity, from the length of time the said clerk was permitted by them to practise the said irregularity ; 3. That through a large portion of the books the said defalcation does not appear. Under these circumstances, the magistrates refused application till the amount could be satisfactorily accounted for. That on application of Trustees to bondholders for reduction of interest, your memorialist, in reply, objected to the continuance of the office of general surveyor, also to scale of salaries of other officers, as exceeding many other Trusts in solvent circumstances, hinted at various reports current respecting a large defaulter arising from the irregular proceedings of Trustees, and at the same time wished to know if any obstacle was likely to be thrown in the way of a proper examination of the accounts from 1837 downwards by a practical accountant, and if reports alluded to were groundless, to do what laid in his power to correct them, at the same time intimating that their silence would but realise his worst fears. No notice whatever was taken of the communication, and your memorialist was left to the conclusion that the charge was not altogether groundless. That it is the firm conviction of your memorialist that the large amount of tolls received by Commissioners up to the opening of Frome branch line of railway, 1850, with amount of defalcation, 1837, interest thereon up to 1851, and consequent expenditure, parliamentary and legal, coupled with the presumption that no particular disposition existed on the part of Commissioners to continue their liability to the exact amount of defulcation, would under other circumstances have found the Trust in solvent circumstances, and enabled them to have kept faith with the public creditors."

In the printed circulars which accompanied the said memorial, statements are made on behalf of the creditors to the following effect:—That as no arrangement had been made between the Trustees and the creditors, and as upwards of a year's interest was in arrear, an action in ejectment was commenced by a private mortgagee in April 1852. To this action one of the Trustees, in his public capacity, appeared in defence. A law vacation followed, and in the following month the same Trustee, in his private capacity of mortgagee, brought a like action to recover possession of the tolls. The Trustees did not appear against the second action, but suffered judgment to go by default, which enabled the Trustee who defended the first action, to obtain possession of the toll gates in July last, only a few days before the trial on the first-brought action."

The following " Statement of Finance* has been circulated among the creditors, in order to show that " there are funds applicable to the full discharge " of all interest monies, and which are payable prior to any appropriation "thereof in repairs of roads."


Assets £2273; Liabilities , in £1624 Interest - balance over liabilities £396


The length of the road belonging to the Trust is about 29 miles, and the clerk states that the length of road repaired by the county, being bridge limits, is 1 mile, and the length taken into repair by the corporation of "Bath, under their city Act, 18.01, 5 furlongs. There are 10 toll gates and 9 bars upon the roads of the Trust, but the number of toll payments is limited by the existing Act as specified in section 9. The full rates of toll allowed by the Act are levied at the several gates, except that horses drawing waggons, carts, &c. are charged reduced tolls, according to the width of wheels, of 4d., 5d., and 6d., instead of 4.5d., 6d, and 8d. respectively.

The accounts show that the largest amount of toll was received in the year 1815, from which date the income became slightly diminished, but since 1847 the annual reduction has been considerable, The cost of repairs has been reduced in proportion to the loss of toll. The salaries were reduced to £210. per annum in the year 1838, although the treasurer's was then increased to £50 and in the account for 1851 the amount paid for salaries was stated at £157. 10s., with a note that salaries in future would be reduced to £140, being to the treasurer £30., to the clerk £30., to the surveyors £80. The interest appears to have been punctually paid until 1851, when half a year's interest only was paid. Large sums were expended for improvements shortly after the passing of the Act of 1838, but of late years the payments under this head have been greatly reduced.

From returns ordered by the House of Commons in former years, it appeal's that upon this Trust the cost of parliamentary renewals from the year 1800 to 1848 amounted to -£4,254. 10s. 1d., also that the total -sum borrowed upon this Trust previously to 1833 was £ 10,300 , of which there was paid off by annual instalments up to 1833 the sum of  £4,100

Which reduced the original debt to£6,200

There was borrowed under authority of the Acts of 1833 and 1838 the sum of   £26,900

Making the total debt, as at present- £33,100


It will be observed that no portion of the debt has been paid off since the year 1833, although special provisions were inserted for that purpose in the Act of 1833, in reference to which the clerk states, that " nothing was done " under sections 26 and 27 of the 3rd Will. IV. c. 78. towards reserving a fund for the redemption of the mortgage debt."

In answer to recent inquiries, the clerk states, that the old debt of £6,200. having priority is due to twenty-one creditors; the £23.800. borrowed under the Act of 1833 is owing to sixty-five creditors; and the sum of £3.100. borrowed under the Act of 1838 is due to 19 creditors, of whom nine are holders of previous securities.


The particulars of the floating debt, as entered in the return for 1851, are thus stated:—

                        £            s.  d.

" Balance due for land           -           -             -   1,519         7
Arrears of interest on the £1,519. 7s. 1d. to

31st December 1851           -           -                           490      2   3

Materials and hauling           -          -                    18  5   3

Incident to collection of tolls          -            -       20  15 10

Quarry rent             -            -           -                    60  2 10

Hay, straw, carpenters' and smiths' work, &c.       23 1   0

Solicitor's bills          -           -           -                 165  17   8

£2,297 12   5

There are no securities given for the money unpaid for land.

Respecting the loss sustained by the trust in consequence of the delinquency of a former clerk, the following explanation has been given:—" The clerk did not act as treasurer, but as clerk only. When the Trustees raised the money authorized to be borrowed under the Act of the 3rd Will. IV., they executed the securities to the several mortgagees. The clerk took some of these bonds, and handed them to the mortgagees, and received from them the money, which he ought to have paid over immediately to the treasurer, but failed to do so, and afterwards absconded, leaving a deficiency on the money received by him to the extent of £1,895. 9s. 3d., on which sum, in March 1839, a dividend of £173.11s. 11d. was received by the Trustees from the assignees of the delinquent clerk, under a commission of bankruptcy issued against him."

The accounts of the mortgagee in possession, also of the Trustees for the year 1852, are thus stated by the clerk:—

" The toll gates at Thoulstone, Cold Harbour, and Stoke Hill, being in that part of the Trust which is in the county of Wilts, were taken possession of on the 2nd July 1852, and the remainder, being those in the county of Somerset, on the 6th day of the same month. The amount of tolls received by the mortgagee, from the time of taking possession of the tolls to the 31st of December 1852, was £973. 10s. 8d., out of which the salary to the superintendent over the collectors at the several gates will have to be deducted."    The receipts and expenditure of the Trustees for the last year are as follows:—


RECEIPTS,  18S2.   £ •

Balance in hand, 1st January 1852 - - - -             162 11 1

Tolls received to 6th July 1852            1,053 2 3

Sale of cart horses etc.          - 29 11 0

County bridge allowance; to .5th January 18.12     - - 91 0 0

Compensation for Bath mails -            63 18 8

Total       £ 1,400   3   0


The arrears of interest are thus stated :—

£     s.   d.

One year's interest to Lady Day 1852 - - 1,024  0 0

Half year's interest to Michaelmas 1852 - 812  0 0

Quarter's interest to Christmas 1852 - - 406  0 0

Total ; £2,842    0   0

In the present application to Parliament, it is proposed to repeal the existing Act, the 3rd of Will. IV. cap. 78, of which the term would not expire until the year 1864, and to take more effectual powers in lieu thereof for the term of twenty-one years. The debts are stated in the preamble at £34.413. 2s., which amount appears to include £1.313. 2s. claimed for land, part of the sum of £1,519. 7s. Id. balance due for land included in the floating debt. Clause 1 repeals the Act of 1833 only; but it is proposed by an additional provision to repeal also the 1st of Vict. cap. 3., relating to this road, which appears to have been overlooked when the Bill was prepared. Clause 2 continues the liability of the Trust, without excepting any debts or engagements that may be extinguished by the new Act.

The roads of the Trust are described in clause 9, " it being intended (as stated by the clerk) to diminish the length of road belonging to the Trust to the extent of the five furlongs taken into repair under the Bath City Act, 1851."

The tolls to be collected are specified in clause 10, and agree with the Act of 1833, with an additional toll of one penny for every dog drawing any cart or other carriage. Reduced tolls are at present collected for horses, &c. drawing waggons, carts, &c., as under :—If the wheels are G inches in width or upwards, horses, &c. drawing are charged 4d. instead of 4.5d.; if the wheels are 4.5 inches wide and less than 6 inches, the toll payable is 5d. instead of 6d. ; and if the wheels are less than 4.5 inches wide, 6d. is paid instead of 8d. The tolls by clause 12 are payable only once a day. Clause 13, limiting the number of toll payments, and preventing a second toll payment at any other gate within a distance of 3 miles on the same road, agrees with section 9 of the Act of 1833; and clauses 14, 15, 16, and 17 are in accordance with the said Act. Clause 18 requires the mortgagee in possession to deliver up the toll gates to the Trustees, on the commencement of tlie Act, Clause 19 recites that the debt amounted in November last to £34,413. 2s. (including 1£.313. 2s. owing for land), and directs the mortgagee to apply the funds up to the commencement of the Act (1st September 1853) in paying the interest or arrears due and owing up to that day ; but it does not appear that interest has been hitherto paid upon the debt owing for land, upon which the arrears were said to amount to £490. 2s. 3d, on the 31st of December 1851.


List of Roads

(in “Somerset Roads – the Legacy of Turnpike, by Bentley and Murless 1985”)


A36 from Bath to Warminster in Wiltshire

B3110 the old road through Norton St Philip (displaced by A36 route)

A361 Frome to Beckington jct with A36


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Known Tollhouses (extracts from Tollhouse National database) 11 sites identified of the7 reported by the Trust in 1840, (Survivors in bold)

Road Classification Number



OS Grid Ref- Prefi




Civil Parish

Location (Name or Number)

Road or Street (see across)



Revised 15th Oct 2013

erected by (Turnpike Trust or Authority)

Bibliographic refs

Revised 23rd Sept 2013

Old County

MSS National ID


Bath to Norton St Philip







Turnpike Cottage

Midford Road


; ; ;

Black Dog

Dowding J & Taylor P. (2013) The Toll-Houses of Somerset , p 149; Census 1871




Barth to Warminster







St Georges Hill, Warminster Road



; ; ;

Black Dog

Dowding J & Taylor P. (2013) The Toll-Houses of Somerset , p 147; Census 1851



Midford to Norton St Philip

Hinton Abbey







High Street


; ; ;

Black Dog

Dowding J & Taylor P. (2013) The Toll-Houses of Somerset , p 146; Census 1871


UC road (was A36)

Warminster to Bath







No. 1

Warminster Road

jct with A361 (suspicious - current building too grand)

; ; ;

Black Dog

Dowding J & Taylor P. (2013) The Toll-Houses of Somerset , p 146




Beckington to Frome








Oldford Hill


; ; ;

Black Dog

Dowding J & Taylor P. (2013) The Toll-Houses of Somerset , p 144


UC road

Woolverton to Rode








nr Rode Bridge


; ; ;

Black Dog

Dowding J & Taylor P. (2013) The Toll-Houses of Somerset , p 145



Bath to Warminster







The Tollgate

Woolverton, Shawford

just above bridge over River Frome

OS 1st Series; ; ;

Black Dog

Dowding J & Taylor P. (2013) The Toll-Houses of Somerset , p 147; Census 1861




Bath to Warminster







current building at jct is the school building built 1860

jct with B3110

no evidence for this being the TH

; ;

Black Dog

Dowding J & Taylor P. (2013) The Toll-Houses of Somerset , p 148; Census 1861



Bath to Warminster







Mill jct



OS 1st Series; ; ;

Black Dog




Bath to Warminster







where old lane went to Upton



OS 1st Series; T.B. Greenwood Wilts map 1820.; ;

Black Dog

Hayes R. & Slocombe I. (2004) Wiltshire Toll Houses, Publ Hobbs Press, Salisbury; p75



Bath to Warminster

Cold Harbour






below Brick Hill, nr bridge



; T.B. Greenwood Wilts map 1820.; ;

Black Dog




Known Milestones

In the Milestone Society Database, 15 milestones are identified along this road, mostly on the A36 and B3110, B3153, B3168 most in a design referred to as C&M Classical iron casting. Based on the mileage reported by the Trust in 1840, would expect 30.