Yeovil Turnpike Trust                                    (updated 23rd Sept 2013)

The main post road through Yeovil was included in the 1753 Act, turnpiking the road from Lower Compton, to the east of Sherborne, through Chard to Axminster. The Somerset part of the road was administered a Division of the Trust and became the Chard Trust in 1778, and the main roads through Yeovil was transferred to the Yeovil Trust in 1800. The main Yeovil Trust was created in 1777 to maintain roads into the town and sections of the old Fosse way. Sections of this were transferred to form the Ilminster Trust. The streets of Yeovil itself were transferred to the own Paving trust in 1830The trust’s main responsibilities were  (a) a section of the Great Weston Road from the Dorset border to near Crewkerne, (b) a network of roads leading into the market town from SE Somerset and parts of Dorset.

List of Acts


Created as part of Sherborne to Axminster road

26 Geo2 c33





18 Geo3




Forms 2 Districts for Yeovil and Ilchester Roads

39&40 Geo3 c61




Amends First District

59 Geo3 c52




By continuation till new Act









Yeovil 1819

An Act for continuing and amending an Act of His present Majesty, for repairing several Roads in the Counties of Somerset and Dorset, passing through or near the Town of Yeovil; and for repairing the Road from Mudford Bridge to Marston Elm, in the said County of Somerset. [19th May 1819.]

Yeovil Town Paving 1830

An Act for paving, lighting, watching, watering, cleansing, repairing, widening, and otherwise improving the Streets, Lanes, and other public Passages and Places within the Town of Yeovil in the County of Somerset, and for regulating the Police thereof. [17th June 1830.]


Select Committee on State of Roads 1840

John Batton of Yeovil (clerk to the trust) reported

There are 25 miles 6 furl. of road through 16 parishes – all repaired by the trustees

10 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 25 miles 5 furl. 121 yds (similar to 1840)


Report to Secretary of State 1852


The existing Local Acts for the Yeovil Trust are, the 39th and 40th of George III. c. 6l., by which the roads were divided into two districts, and the 59th of George III. c. 52., which continued and amended the preceding Act as far as the same related to the first district of road. The term of these Acts would have expired with the session of 1841, but has been extended by the Annual Turnpike Acts Continuance Acts until the 1st. day of October 1852.

The Local Acts for the Ilchester Trust are: the 39th and40th of George III. c. 7- (which repealed the earlier Acts), and the 1st and 2d of George IV. c. 19-, which continued and amended the said Act. The term of these Acts would have expired with the session of 1848, but has been extended by the Annual Turnpike Acts Continuance Acts until the 1st day of October 1852.

The Yeovil and the Ilchester Turnpike Trusts are in all respects separate and distinct, but the Trustees apply to Parliament jointly, and also separately, for powers to make certain new lines of road in connection with their existing roads, and other improvements; to adopt certain highways as turnpike roads, and to repeal their existing Acts, and substitute other provisions. The following extracts from the minutes of the meetings of the Trustees of the Yeovil roads set forth the principal reasons for making the present application :—

At a meeting held on the 12th of March 1851, "The Trustees having taken into consideration the proposition of the Trustees of the Ilchester Turnpike for making a deviation through Yeovil Marsh, so as to avoid Vagg Hill, and Mr. Harris, our surveyor, having submitted to the meeting a sketch showing the general features of the plan, and having estimated the expense of the whole work at the sum of £2,000.,

" It was resolved, that this Trust is ready to co-operate with the Ilchester Turnpike in effecting the deviation, provided the whole expense of the undertaking, including the necessary application to Parliament, be equally divided between the two Trusts, and that the Ilchester Trustees take the maintenance of a due proportion of the new road, and provided also that they consent to set back, within a Time to be agreed upon, their toll-gate at Sparkford, to some point on the Ilchester side of the road to Queen " Camel.

" Resolved, also, that in any Act to be obtained for the above purpose, a  clause be inserted, directing the removal of the toll-gate at Foxwell Lane,  immediately after the passing of the Act, this meeting being of opinion that  the existence of such gate is a heavy and unnecessary burden upon persons  travelling that line of road."

After several meetings and conferences, at a meeting of the Ilchester Trustees held on the 26th of June 1851 it was

" Resolved unanimously at this meeting, that the roads commencing with their junction with the Ilchester Turnpike Roads at Sparkford, and running through the parishes of Spark ford, Queen Camel, and Marston Magna to the Marston Inn, including also the small portion of such roads as belong to and form part of the Sherborne Turnpike Trust, be annexed and taken into this Trust, provided the Trustees of the Yeovil Turnpike Roads do annex and take into  their district the  road from  Marston  Elm (their present terminus) to said Marston Inn, and also provided the deviation and new road to avoid Vagg Will be made at the joint expense of the Ilchester and Yeovil Trusts, as before proposed."

And at a meeting of the Yeovil Trustees held on the 2d of July 1801 it was Resolved, that this Trust ratifies and confirms the remainder of their " Resolution of the 12th March last, with reference to the deviation at Vagg " Hill, and the intended application to Parliament for a new Act, it being " agreed and understood that the Ilchester Trustees should by such Act " include in their Trust the highway from Sparkford Cross to Marston Inn, " and that this Trust shall take into their district the highway from Marston " Elm to Marston Inn."

It appears necessary to refer to the circumstances of these Trusts separately.

I.The Yeovil Trust.

The roads belonging to this Trust are in length nearly twenty-six, miles, upon which there are seven gates and three side bars. Four of the gates and two side bars are in the parish (but not in the town) of Yeovil, and are placed on the different roads leading to the town, and are about a mile apart from each other; there are also two other gates and a side-bar within about three miles from Yeovil; but the six gates and three side-bars before mentioned clear each other. At the Foxwell Gate, about six miles from Yeovil, a separate toll is payable. Reduced tolls are collected at the several gates, in lieu of the sums allowed by the Local Act.

The sum of £3.000. was borrowed in the year 1753, and the sum of £4',450. between the years 1821 and 1832, making a total debt of £7,450., no portion of which was paid off' until the year I845, after the term granted by the last Local Act had expired. The sum of £3,400. has since been paid off, by which the debt has been reduced to £4.050. The interest of the debt appears to have been paid with regularity. The accounts show that the toll income has not been reduced to any great extent, and that the parishes have not contributed to the funds of the Trust. The income has been applied in repairing the roads, in paying salaries (£140, per annum since I846), law charges (large amounts in 1842 and 1843), interest of debt, improvements (upwards of £3000 since 1834.), and portions of the bonded debt since 1844.

In answer to a letter of inquiry respecting the application for renewing the Local Acts, the clerk states that—            m.    p.    y.
The length of the present road is       -         -         -                                                                                        -      25    5    121

Length proposed to be added to the Yeovil Roads:—

New roads to be made at the joint expense    m.   f.    y.

of the Yeovil and Ilchester Trusts    -       -     1    2   (55

From Marston Elm and Marston Inn     -      0   5   62

—————                                                       1    7   127

27    5     28
Length proposed to be relinquished         -0   3    178

Total       -       27   1     75

The clerk also states that the Trustees have not considered the subject of abolishing the weighing engines; but on the subject of consolidation the Trustees some time since expressed a decided opinion against it, and it was considered that any consolidation would be imperfect if it did not include wholly or in part several other districts of road.

The following statement has been forwarded respecting the proposed improvement, by widening Middle Street in the town of Yeovil:—

- " By the Yeovil Improvement Act, which was passed in the year 1831, the cost of repairing the main streets in the town of Yeovil was transferred from the Turnpike the .Town Commissioners, and in consideration thereof the Commissioners soon after applied to the Trustees for a contribution towards effecting a most .desirable improvement in one of the main thoroughfares in the town, by removing some houses which projected into the street, and which adjoined a house which the Trustees, under a special power in their Act of 1819, had many years ago removed. This the Trustees Consented to do; but although several applications to Parliament for a renewal have been intended since that time, they have been allowed to drop from different causes, and it is not until now that the Trustees have had an opportunity of redeeming their pledge. The improvement will cost altogether about £1000, and the Town Commissioners have already entered into conditional agreement for the purchase of the premises required, subject to obtaining this contribution; and having made this agreement, the compulsory clauses in the Bill, so far as they affect this particular improvement, will not be required."

2.— The Ilchester Trust.

The roads belonging to this Trust are about .twenty-three miles in length, upon which there are five toll-gates. Three of the gates at or near Ilchester are within half a mile apart, and clear each other. The Lydford and Sparkford gates are six miles from Ilchester. Reduced tolls are collected at the several gates.

The sum of £1181. 18s. was borrowed on mortgage of the tolls in the year 1800, and the sum of £1000. was borrowed in the year 1820, making the debt £2181. 18s., bearing interest at 4 and 5 percent. The debt upon this Trust remained without alteration until the end of the year 1839, and since that date the sum of £2,081. 18s has been paid off', leaving only the sum of £100. due on the 31st of December 1850.

The accounts show that the toll revenue became much reduced in the year 1842, and was further reduced in the year 1845. Since that date it has not varied to any great extent. The parishes do not contribute towards the repair of the roads. The income has been applied in repairing the road, in paying the salaries £130, per annum since 1845), interest of debt, and portions of the principal debt.

In answer to inquiries respecting the application for renewal of the Local .Act, the clerk states that—       -m.    f.    y.
The length of the present road is   -           -           -           - 23   0   36
Length proposed to be added as under—

New roads, to be made at the joint expense of   m. f.   y.
of the Yeovil and Ilchester Trusts   -  -   0   3 155

Length of road to be made by the Ilchester Trustees -           - - - 0 2

Length to be transferred from the Sherborne Trust -0 1 96

Other roads to be added       -          0   2   92

Road to be relinquished to the parishes 0  2 193

Total                27 – 7 -8


The Trustees of the Ilchester roads have not considered the subject of abolishing the weighing engines. On the subject of consolidating the Trusts, they state that the public would gain no advantage thereby ; that the Ilchester Trust having gradually paid oft its debts, has reduced its tolls, relieved all the parishes from contributions, and its roads are maintained in excellent condition. In the present application it is proposed to repeal the several Acts now in force for the management of these Trusts, and to take further powers to effect improvements, &c., for the term of twenty-one years. The roads of each district are described in clause 6. A portion of road now belonging to the Sherborne Trust is transferred by clause 7 to the Ilchester District. This portion of road is 316 yards in length. It is at present free of toll, and the Sherborne Trustees do not object to the transfer, upon the conditions contained in this clause. The first meeting of the Trustees of each district is fixed by clause 11, " on the seventh day after the passing of this Act." Clause 13 describes the new roads or branches to be made at the joint expense of the two districts. The whole length is one mile and three-quarters, of which 1 mile and 505 yards will be added to the Yeovil District, and 815 yards will be added to the Ilchester District. Clause 14 authorizes the widening of Middle Street, Yeovil, by the Commissioners of the Yeovil town, to which the Turnpike Trustees are to contribute a sum not exceeding £3OO.; but it is now stated, that as the Commissioners have entered into a conditional agreement for the purchase of the premises, that the compulsory clauses of the Bill will not be required for this improvement. But unless expressly sanctioned by Parliament, the Yeovil Trustees will be restricted from expending any of the Trust funds upon such improvement, under clause 49 of the present Bill; and as no tolls are collected within the town, it may be a question whether the funds of the Trust ought to be so appropriated, although the said improvement is stated in the preamble to be " of public utility."

It may, however, be considered as a contribution, if the Yeovil and Ilchester Trustees obtain the necessary clauses to enable the Town Commissioners to carry out the said improvement. Clause 15 specifies certain improvements to be effected by the Ilchester Trustees, the length of the several roads or brandies being stated to be about 482 yards. Clause 25 allows five years for the compulsory purchase of lands, &c.; and clause 26 allows seven years for the completion of the several works. Clause 27 allows certain portions of road to be relinquished, being as under:—On the Yeovil district, 833 yards, which will cease to be public road, and on the Ilchester district, 633 yards, which will become a parish highway. Clause 28 gives the Trustees power to repair any pitched or paved footpaths on the sides of any of the roads " through any town, village, or hamlet, or elsewhere within their respective districts." This clause is said to be inserted "to meet some particular case affecting the Ilchester District," with reference to which it is said that "rough blue lias paviour abounds near Ilchester, and may be bought for one penny per square foot, and it forms a cheap and durable path for foot passengers. But if this point be objectionable " it will be given up." The cheapness of the material appears to be an advantage to the towns and parishes, rather than otherwise. Clause 29 is to authorize the purchase of land for toll-houses and gardens, not exceeding one-quarter of an acre, in lieu of one-eighth of an acre allowed by the General Turnpike Act (the 9th of George IV. cap. 77- sec. 5.) Clause 30 allows the Trustees of both districts to enter into agreements as to management, expenditure, tolls, &c. But the Trustees do not consider it advantageous to consolidate the districts.

Notwithstanding the opinion expressed by the Trustees against the consolidation of these Trusts, the fact that they unite in the present application in a joint renewal of the Act, with power to make new lines of roads and improvements, and a rearrangement of the districts, shows that advantage might arise from consolidating the management of these Trusts, beyond the partial or temporary union sought by Clause 50.


List of Roads

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



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Known Tollhouses (extracts from Tollhouse National database) 11 sites identified of the 10 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


Sherborne to Yeovil

Yeovil Bridge






Yeovil Bridge Toll House

Sherborne Road

beside roundabout, close to county boundary with Somerset (replaced Gore Knapp in 1856)

; ; ;


Yeovil to Dorchester

Stoford stop






jct of lane to Stoford and main road



; ; Turnpike Trust Returns 1824;


Yeovil to Dorchester

Whistle Bridge






Dorchester Road, S of Stoford and Key Hill


; ; Turnpike Trust Returns 1824;


Yeovil to Crewkerne

Foxwell Lane






Middle Chinnock and Haselbury border, jct of Fowell Lane and main road

wall may still remain at jct

removed in 1853 Act

OS 1st Series; ; Turnpike Trust Returns 1824;

UC road

Yeovil to Stoxford

Penstile (Newton)






Newton Lodge (Penstile House), No. 22

Newton Road

at jct with Southwestern Terrace (moved from jct of Newton Road & Pen Style after closure)

; ; Turnpike Trust Returns 1824;


Gerningham's Hut






Gerningham's Hut



; ; Turnpike Trust Returns 1824;


Yeovil to Sherborne

Goar Knapp






Goar Knapp, jct of St Michaels Avenue and Sherborne Road

moved to Yeovil Bridge in 1856


OS 1st Series; ; Turnpike Trust Returns 1824;


Yeovil to Sherborne







Hendford Hill (nr later railway station)



; ; Turnpike Trust Returns 1824;

UC road

Yeovil to Odcombe

Watercombe stop






Preston Road, Preston Plucknett, jct with Watercombe Lane


; ; Turnpike Trust Returns 1824;


Yeovil to Crewkerne







Kingston, Five Ways

(moved in 1875 demolished 1969)


; ; Turnpike Trust Returns 1824;


Castle Cary to Yeovil

Brickyard Lane






Turnpike Cottage, No. 198

Mudford Lane

at jct with St Michael's Avenue

; ; ;


Known Milestones

In the Milestone Society Database, 15 milestones are identified along this road, mostly on the A30, A359, A37 and UC roads, most in a design referred to as Yeovil Roll Top plate. Based on the mileage reported by the Trust in 1840, would expect 26.