Wedmore Turnpike Trust                      (updated 23rd Sept 2013)

This trust was created in 1827 to link the two Great Western roads through Somerset. Its main responsibility was a single road across Sedgemoor.

List of Acts


Ashcott to Rowberrow Hill

7&8 Geo4 c5













Wedmore 1827

An Act for making and maintaining a Road from Chappel's Corner in the Parish of Ashcott, to join the Bristol Turnpike Road at or near Rowberrow Hill, all in the County of Somerset. [21st March 1827.]


Select Committee on State of Roads 1840

Robert Tucker of Ashcott (clerk to the trust) reported

There are 15 and a quarter miles of road through 7 parishes – all repaired by the parishes (not the trustees)

4 toll gates

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 15 miles 3 furl. 60 yds (similar to 1840)


Report to Secretary of State 1852

BPP (1852) No. 38.—WEDMORE ROAD.

The original Act for making this road (the 7th and 8th of George IV. cap. 5.) was passed in the year 1827, in order to " connect the two great western roads " passing through Somerton and Langport, and Bristol and Bridgwater respectively," &c. Its term would have expired with the session of 1849, but has been extended by the several Turnpike Acts Continuance Acts until the 1st day of November 1852.

The accounts and parliamentary returns from this Trust have not been transmitted with regularity; but, as far as can be ascertained, the existing bonded debt amounts to £5,311., of which sum about £3,986. was advanced in the year 1829, £1,300. in the year 1834., and £25. in the year 1840. From an account transmitted by the late clerk in December last, it appears that the original subscriptions amounted to £4,011., which remained due to thirty-five subscribers; and the preference subscriptions amounted to £1,300., duo to five subscribers. The late clerk states that there was an arrear of interest due to the first subscribers on the 3lst of December 1850, amounting to the sum of £2,650., which was caused by the low tolls taken, and great exemptions granted ; for want of funds (till the preference loan) to complete the road, and erect toll bars and houses, until some years had expired ; by the expense of repairing the toll houses and bars destroyed by a riotous mob, and the unsuccessful result of an action by the Trustees against the inhabitants of the hundred for damages; and by the Trustees defending .in action of ejectment brought against them." He also states that the second or preference shareholders had received their interest in full, at 5 per cent., up to the 3lst of December 1850.

The tolls of this Trust were seized by a mortgagee in August 1849, upon which subject one of the acting Trustees communicated in November last the following particulars:—

" In the first place, Mr. R. Tucker is not, and has not been for some time, clerk to the Trustees of that Trust. That gentleman resigned his office some time back, in consequence of the Trustees having discovered that the accounts were in an unsatisfactory state, inasmuch as they represented payments to have been made to certain creditors, which had not been made. The Trustees, having accepted the resignation of their clerk, lost all summary power over him. Mr. Tucker, after his resignation, being the holder of certain deeds poll of the Trust, brought an action of ejectment against the Trustees, and obtained possession of the gates, the rents of which he now receives as mortgagee in possession. I find that he has now given notice of his intention to apply to Parliament for a new Act relative to the Wedmore Trust. Mr. Alien, the new clerk, has also given a similar notice. The expenses of these two applications to Parliament will of course be charged against the Trust, and this circumstance alone will, I trust, induce the Government to take immediate steps to prevent such a waste of funds."

On applying to the new clerk for the annual accounts, the following note was received in reply:—

" Burnham, Somersetshire, 6th August 1850.

" Mr. B. T. Allen presents his compliments to Sir James McAdam, and begs to say that he was only elected clerk to the Wedmore Turnpike Trust in July 1848, when he found the accounts of the Trust in almost inexplicable confusion, and that in August 1849 Mr. Robert Tucker (the late clerk) recovered possession of the tolls as mortgagee in an action of ejectment."

In answer to a further application Mr. Allen stated, in a letter dated the 13th of November 1850, that " the Trustees have discontinued holding any meetings for some months past. The tolls having been seized in August 1849, a complete account for that year could not be obtained for presentation to Parliament; and up to the present time no account has been furnished by the present clerk or the mortgagee in possession, showing in what manner the balance of £44. 15s. 10d., in the treasurer's hands on the 3lst of December 1847, has been appropriated. In addition to the foregoing observations, it may throw some light upon the affairs of this Trust by giving a copy of the mortgagee's account up to the 3lst of December 1850 ; also a copy of a statement for part of the year 1849, furnished by the present clerk a few days since.

The accounts show that the whole toll income has been upon an average about equal to the annual interest at the rate of 5 per cent. The funds have been applied in paying the salaries (£20. per annum), portions of the interest, and occasionally improvements and law charges, leaving the parishes to repair the roads. Of late years the law charges (some portions of which probably remain unpaid) have been considerable. The arrears of interest clue on the 3lst of December 1850 appear to be due upon the first subscriptions, amounting to £4,011., upon which portions of the annual interest have been paid as far as the funds would allow.

Although the former and the present clerks gave the usual notices of applica­tion to Parliament for renewal of the Local Act, they both omitted to present a petition and lodge a copy of the proposed Bill at the period required by the standing orders. But the House of Commons, upon petition, have since agreed to suspend certain of the standing orders, in order that the Bill might be proceeded with this session. The Trustees appear as the promoters of the present Bill, through their solicitor, the present clerk; but no copies of the resolutions of the Trustees on the subject of the renewal have been forwarded to the Secretary of .State, agreeably to the Act of the 3rd and 4th of Will. IV. cap. 80. section 7-

In the present application it is proposed to repeal the existing Act, and to take more effectual powers in lien thereof, for the term of twenty-one years. The first meeting of the Trustees is fixed by clause 6. By clause 9 the present tolls are to continue until the first day of January 1853, from which date increased tolls are to be allowed as specified in clause 10; being for every horse, &c. drawing any kind of carriage sixpence instead of 4.5d.; for every horse, &c. not drawing, twopence instead of 1.5d.; for every score of oxen, &c. ls 8d. instead of 10d. ; and for every score of sheep, &c. l0d. instead of 5d. An additional toll of 1d. is proposed for every dog or goat drawing any truck or other carriage. By clause 12, two full tolls are allowed as at present; and by clause 13, persons are allowed to return free of toll on the same day, without specifying the number of times. Clause 14 makes the tolls again payable on every change of carriage. Clause 17 continues the exemptions contained in section 20 of the present Act.

Clause 19 requires the mortgagee in possession to deliver up the toll-gates, houses, &c. to the Trustees on or before the third Monday after the passing of the Act; and clause 20 requires the mortgagee to account to the Trustees at the same period, and to pay over the balance in hand within one calendar month after the passing of the Act. In case of dispute between the Trustees and the mortgagee, the accounts (by clause 21) are proposed to be referred to the clerk of the peace for the county of .Somerset, whose decision is to be final. And in case the mortgagee in possession should not render a satisfactory account, nor pay over the balance, nor abide by and fulfil the decision of the arbitrator, it is provided in clause 22 that no interest shall be paid to the said mortgagee; which appears to be an unusual course; but it is not proposed that in such case the bond and all interest due thereon should become forfeited. Clause 23 is to prevent the toll-gates, &c. from being again seined by a mortgagee.

List of Roads

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

B3151 Rowberrow, Wedmore to Pedwell


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Known Tollhouses (extracts from Tollhouse National database) 3 sites identified of the 4 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 23rd Sept 2013


Cheddar to Glastonbury







Turnpike House

Main Road and Blakeway

jct with Westhay Moor Drove

; ; ;







shown on the Tithe Map and in the 1841 census the toll gate keeper was Susan Richards. It is listed in a newspaper notice regarding the farming of the tolls in 1860. Although demolished, Mick Aston recalls that there was some evidence for the structure visible in 1991.

; ; ;

UC road

Rowberrow to Wedmore







Turnpike Cottage

Broadway jct with Turnpike Road

crossroads with New Road

; ; ;


Cheddar to Glastonbury







Turnpike House

Cheddar Road

at jct with lane, nr bridge over River Axe

; ; ;

Known Milestones

In the Milestone Society Database, no milestones are identified along this road. Based on the mileage reported by the Trust in 1840, would expect 15.