You are in [Themes] [Transport] [Coaching] [More on Milestones]

This article was kindly submitted by Dr Jimmy Whittaker, Dec 2019.

Hungerford Milestones

The eagle-eyed traveller travelling on foot, horseback, bicycle or even by car on the road between Marlborough and Newbury, between Oxford and Salisbury or between Hungerford and Swindon, will have seen a series of milestones. If you stand outside the Town Hall in the High Street in Hungerford and look over towards the Three Swans you can see a milestone embedded into the front of the hotel.

Most milestones were removed or defaced in World War II to baffle potential German invaders and not all were replaced afterwards. Many have been demolished as roads have been widened, or have been victims of collision damage, or have been smashed by hedge-cutters or flails.

These milestones remain a memento of travellers’ past on British lanes and byways. So why does the area around Hungerford have these historic and protected monuments so close by.

Well if you look at a map of England you will see that Hungerford is almost right in the middle of England and in addition is almost the furthest place from the sea in most directions. In essence, Hungerford is and was situated in the heart of England. (see below Origin of Hungerford’s 18th and 19th Century Milestones).

So, what are these milestones all about?

A milestone is one of a series of numbered markers placed along a road or boundary at intervals of one mile or occasionally, parts of a mile. They are typically located at the side of the road or in a median or central reservation. They are also known as mile markers, mileposts or mile posts (sometimes abbreviated MPs). Mileage is the distance along the road from a fixed commencement point. Commonly the term "milestone" may also refer to markers placed at other distances, such as every kilometre particularly on the continent but luckily for us not in “Jolly Olde England”.

Milestones which helped travellers to find their way across Britain have been a feature of the nation's highways and byways for 2,000 years.(see details on Roman Milestones below).

Brief History of Milestones:

Roman Milestones:

The Romans laid good metalled roads in order to move soldiers and supplies quickly across their Empire. They measured distance to aid timing and efficiency, possibly marking every thousandth double-step with a large cylindrical stone. 117 such Roman milestones still survive in the UK. The Latin for thousand was ‘mille’ and the distance was 1618 yards. The British standard "statute" mile became standardised as 1760 yards in 1593.

The Romans therefore were responsible for the earliest milestones. Travel information may not have been the only purpose – perhaps not even the primary purpose – of such markers. A Roman milestone discovered near Leicester lists the titles of the Emperor Hadrian more prominently than the welcome news that only two miles remain to the traveller’s destination, then called Ratis.

Roman milestones evidently doubled up as means of disseminating key political messages, notably the political allegiance (especially following a change of regime) of the governor, urban community or military unit responsible for their erection. Roman-British milestones of this sort commemorate emperors from Carausius, ‘Emperor of the North’, to Constantine the Great. None erected after the reign of the 3rd-century Emperor Florianus includes distances to the traveller’s destination.

Most of the 117 Roman milestones that still survive today in the UK are in remote rural locations.

16th Century Milestones:

An Act of Parliament in 1555 made local parishes (or often called townships in the North of England ) responsible for their upkeep and hence boundary markers became important.

17th Century Milestones:

In 1635, Mathew Simons published a guide entitled "Directions for English Travillers" of 1635 in which he stated that many “ways” of the English countryside were still uncertain. However it was not until 1698 during the reign of William III that all parishes in England were required by law to erect guideposts at all cross roads.

18th Century Milestones:

Some 18th century guideposts remain today – short, stone pillars indicating distances in miles to the nearest towns and villages. Among the more picturesque features of British roadsides, they are known as milestones, a term first coined in 1746.

Later milestones include those that were either made of metal or constructed from stone with metal letter plates and the term itself has entered the vernacular. It has come to indicate a key event in life’s journey, one’s personal ‘milestones.

A proliferation in road signage is one of the less remarked upon features of the 18th century. Throughout the Georgian period, road transport increased as a result of nationwide growth in manufacturing industries and burgeoning overseas trade. With it arose a need to move both finished goods and raw materials swiftly.

Charles I had spearheaded a postal service in the same year that Simons’s Directions was published: its expansion in the next century and a half lay behind the introduction of the first mail coach, in 1784. However, road quality continued to be atrocious.

Successive 18th-century governments disdained to provide public funding for anything approaching an upgrade, but they did insist that local turnpike trusts should provide milestones at every turnpike and, from 1773, guideposts (which, being taller, were more easily visible to coach and carriage drivers and their passengers). See below for greater details on Turnpike Road systems.

Today, whereas wooden guideposts have perished, many milestones survive as they are very weather resistant. The Milestone Society claims about 9,000 of survive from the 20,000 miles of roads that were once marked in this way.

19th Century Milestones:

The milestone’s heyday proved brief. Changes in modes of transport and their speed account for its declining fortune from the middle of the 19th century. Often low in height and marked with small-scale lettering, milestones were ideally suited to those travelling on foot or slowly. The popularity of the railway and, later, the invention of motorised road transport effectively called time on these historic markers.

The railways dealt a body blow to an old-fashioned road network that had been characterised by turnpikes and tolls and administered by turnpike trusts. Rail transport contributed in large measure to the bankruptcy of a number of these trusts. With their demise – and the transfer to county councils of the responsibility for maintaining roads in the Local Government Act of 1888 – disappeared their legal requirement to erect milestones.

Later, the ubiquity of cars inspired new road building and the enlargement of existing roads. Milestones were either left behind, on byways superseded by newer, wider, faster routes, or else cleared out of the way for road improvements.

Turnpike Road Systems

Milestones as they exist today were a by-product of the Industrial Revolution, which in the early eighteenth century brought about the growth of the Turnpike Road System. Up to this time the medieval system of highway maintenance was still in operation, whereby each Parish was bound by law to 'preserve the means of passage for the King, his officers and all his subjects'. To carry this out each Parish had annually to elect a surveyor who was empowered to extract labour on four, and later six, days a year, from all able-bodied persons and to call upon farmers and certain others for horses, carts and materials. This antiquated organisation, as the Industrial Revolution gathered momentum and the use of the roads increased, began to break down, largely through neglect on the part of the Parish surveyors. As a result of years of such neglect the roads were in a very bad condition, and many were, in winter, almost or entirely impassable. In 1706 an attempt to rectify this unsatisfactory state of affairs was made by the setting up, under a private Act of Parliament, of the country's first Turnpike Trust, which was responsible for the maintenance of the road between Fernhill in Bedfordshire and Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire. A Turnpike Trust was a corporate body consisting usually of local gentry and landowners , created by a Private Act of Parliament, whose purpose was to maintain in good order a given stretch of road, and empowered to levy a toll on all travellers for the purpose.

Most Acts passed after 1744 also required the trust to measure the road, and set up milestones or mile posts along its length together with direction posts to be situated at cross roads. A local example of this is the Act setting up the Reading to Shillingford Trust in 1763. This Act, however, not only provided for the erection of stones but also for their preservation, the penalty for defacing or damaging the same being a fine of forty shillings or one-month imprisonment. Private Acts of Parliament for setting up Trusts ceased to be used after the passing of the General Turnpike Act of 1766 but this like its successor, the General Turnpike Act of 1773 also provided for the setting up of milestones. There was however no provision for milestones in the latter Turnpike Roads Act of 1822 .The heyday of the turnpike trusts was reached in 1838, when there were 1,116 turnpike trusts operating in England and these trusts employed 23,500 people. .The 22,000 miles of toll roads associated with these trusts generated an income of £41,458,000 with an expenditure of £51 per mile on road maintenance. But from 1838 onwards the Turnpike Trusts were to become victims of the progress that had brought them into being, and by 1850 receipts from tolls had fallen by a third and by 1892 only two turnpikes remained. The cause of this decline was the coming of the railway, the first line being opened in 1830 from Liverpool to Manchester and by 1850, 6,621 miles of railway had been laid. The Turnpikes had relied mainly on passenger traffic for their revenue, most goods vehicles being exempt from tolls, and it was the passengers who took first to the new railway travel, it being both quicker and cheaper than the coaches, for each coach would pay some £17.00 a mile per year in tolls, the greater part being borne by the customers.

The end came on 15th October 1895, a fortnight after the first organised display of the motor car in England, when the last remaining Turnpike Trust, that for the Anglesey section of the London-Holyhead road collected its final toll. The new horseless carriages had little use for the milestones and were soon travelling too fast to give them even passing notice, so that they have become monuments of a past and more leisurely age.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, travel by road was slow and difficult. The sunken lanes became quagmires in wet weather and occasionally both horses and riders were drowned. For example, it took 16 days for coaches to cover the 400 miles from London to Edinburgh, which meant that coaches only covered 25 miles in a day . In order to improve poor travelling and road conditions Turnpike trusts were set up .These trusts by Acts of Parliament between 1706 to the 1840’s gave groups of local worthies (local dignitaries or land owners) the powers to build stretches of new roads and then charge users a toll fee for using it – just like the ‘M6 Toll’ today. The money collected from road tolls would be used for the maintenance of the principal highways during the 18th and 19th centuries as well as giving worthies (gentry and landowners) a return on their investment.

The name ‘turnpike’ comes from the spiked barrier at the Toll Gate or Booth. The poor bitterly resented having to pay to use the roads and there were anti-turnpike riots.

In England milestones were associated with former turnpike roads. A turnpike being another term for a toll road and historically the term for a toll gate or barrier.

Milestones did not come into general use until the Turnpike Act of 1766 made them compulsory on turnpike roads, these roads were built by private enterprise under licence from the Government and maintained by tolls on those who used them. Before this Act milestones were put up occasionally, often as charitable acts and commemorations. Many Turnpike Act stones still exist. They are usually 2-3 ft high, with the initial letter or abbreviation of the nearest market town show on two faces, and the distance from it.

Turnpikes close to Hungerford:

Because of its geographical location Hungerford was associated with four of these turnpikes which were:

The Speenhampland to Marlborough Turnpike:

This originally was the London to Bath road which ran east to west.

Notes on the The Bath Road (A4) Reading—Newbury—Hungerford:

Although, in the eighteenth century the Bath Road was one of the most important in the country, it did not all become turnpiked at the same time. The section to Puntfield, a spot just beyond Theale, became a Turnpike in 1714 and the stretch of road from Speenhamland to the county boundary at Hungerford became one in 1726; the date on which the centre section was taken over by a Trust has not been established. The whole stretch of road, on which twenty-four milestones or iron mile posts still remain, can for the purpose of this survey be divided into two sections, the first from Reading to Beenham, and the second from Beenham to Hungerford.

1. Reading—Beenham:

On this first section there are seven cast iron mileposts all sited on the north side of the road. These posts are all cast in the form of triangular prisms standing on end, the tops being inclined planes on which is cast the makers' name of "T. & J. Perry—Reading". The back of the post extends vertically above the body of the post and on this is given the distance to London, the mileage from Reading and Newbury being on the upright sides of the prism. The two best preserved examples of these cast iron mileposts are to be found within the Reading boundary at SU 687723 and SU 696725 and are both in near perfect condition. There is in Beenham parish an eighth milepost made of sheet mild steel painted white with black painted-on lettering; this is probably of fairly recent manufacture to replace a missing original.

2. Beenham—Hungerford:

On this section of the road there remain sixteen milestones, some on the north side of the road and some on the south. Out of this number, fourteen stones comprised a set, each having a rectangular prism as its bottom half and a triangular for the upper half, but the stones east of Newbury have rounded tops.

The Besselsleigh to Hungerford Turnpike:

This originally was the Oxford to Salisbury road which from north to south from Oxford to Hungerford.

The Hungerford to Leckford Sousley Water Turnpike:

This originally was the Oxford to Salisbury road which from north to south from Hungerford to Salisbury.

Notes on the Hungerford—Wantage—Fyfield (A338)

This road enters the county just south of Hungerford, and runs northward to join the Oxford—Faringdon road near Upwood Park, No date had been found for this road being turnpiked, but there are fourteen milestones left along its length, which can be divided into two sections, Hungerford to Wantage and Wantage to Fyfield.

1. Hungerford to Wantage:

The first three stones are all sited in Hungerford Parish. All are rectangular in plan, with all four sides curving up to a pointed top. The two stones south of the town give mileages to Hungerford and Sarum, the one on the north side to Hungerford and Wantage, with the unusual information of fractional mileage, i.e. half a mile to Hungerford. The next six stones are also rectangular but unlike the first three only the sides curve over the top. Distances are given to Hungerford and Wantage.

2. Wantage to Fyfield:

The first two of the five stones along this section of road are square prisms with the front inclined backwards. The remaining three are cylindrical with domed tops. All are in bad condition, having grooves worn in them, caused possibly by a chain, used in the wartime removal. All five stones give mileages to Oxford and Wantage.
This was part of the Oxford to Salisbury road and covered the section from Hungerford to Collingbourne Ducis. Today this route is known as the A338.

The Swindon to Hungerford Turnpike:

This originally was the Swindon to Hungerford road which ran from north to west

Details of Hungerford Milestones on the Turnpike Roads of Hungerford:

The reference numbers to the photographs milestones are as follows:

  • Hungerford to Leckford Sousley Water Turnpike Milestones HL1 to HL12
  • Besselsleigh to Hungerford Turnpike Milestones BH1 to BH11
  • Speenhamland to Marlborough Turnpike Milestones SM1 to SM13
  • Swindon to Hungerford Turnpike Milestones ST1 to ST2

Some of the remaining milestones found along these turnpikes are described below.

Hungerford to Leckford Sousley Water Turnpike Milestones:

Milestone HL1

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of HUNGERFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Salisbury Road; 100m south of Beacon Farm; South of The Holdings, on steep grass bank under hedge, on west side of road. Hungerford tombstone Erected by the Leckford or Sousley Water turnpike trust in the 18th century.
Inscription reads: TO / HUNGERFORD / 1 / SARUM / 26 / OXFORD / 27 / : : The milestone has a carved benchmark on top.

Milestone HL2

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of HUNGERFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), High Street; Three Swans Hotel, opposite. Town Hall, on wall of Inn, on east side of road. Erected by the Leckford or Sousley Water Turnpike Trust in the 20th century.
Inscription reads: To / Oxford / 26 / Sarum / 27 /

Milestone HL3

Hungerford tombstone by the UC road, in parish of Grafton (Kennet District), Grafton Down, south of chimney vent and 200m south of farm track, in front of hedge on grass verge.

Milestone HL4

Hungerford tombstone by the UC road, in parish of Collingbourne Ducis (Kennet District), 300 m uphill from Shears public house crossroads, on high bank under hedge.

Milestone HL5

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of HUNGERFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Salisbury Road; lay-by nr Hollytree Cottages, N of Prosperous Farm, , on wide grass verge at northern entrance of lay-by, on East side of road. Hungerford tombstone Erected by the Leckford or Sousley Water turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: TO / HUNGERFORD / 2 / SARUM / 25 /. Carved benchmark with a rivet on top.

Milestone HL6

Carved stone post by the bridleway, in parish of BULFORD (SALISBURY District), N of Bulford Camp; 100m south of MOD red gate, 230m along byway from junction of Sheepbridge Road, on east side of road. Marlborough gable Erected by the Marlborough & Salisbury turnpike trust in the 19th century.
Inscription reads:- : To / Salisbury / ??¦ / To / Marlbro / XVII : : : (JWS recorded the bottom legend as Strai up ye Hill to Hungerford). Now visible: Su..III-/ Hill / to Hungerford More likely to be a location?. ; .

Milestone HL7

Hungerford tombstone by the A338, in parish of Grafton (Kennet District), North Hill, near the junction of the lane to Hillbarn Farm; before Windmill Public House, in dense, wide hedge back from road side.

Milestone HL8

Hungerford tombstone by the UC road, in parish of Grafton (Kennet District), Rookery Nook, North of Wexcombe, on a lawn, behind a new barbed wire boundary fence of garden.

Milestone HL9

Hungerford tombstone by the A338, in parish of Shalbourne (Kennet District), Eastcourt Farm, between Bagshot turn and new bridge, on grass bank in front of hedge.

Milestone HL10

Hungerford tombstone by the A338, in parish of Shalbourne (Kennet District), south of Newtown Store, 10 m north of footpath sign, on nettle covered bank in front of hedge.

Milestone HL12

Hungerford tombstone by the UC road, in parish of Collingbourne Ducis (Kennet District), 200 m South of old railway line, halfway to junction with A346, on top of bank in a new hedge.

Besselsleigh to Hungerford Turnpike Milestones:

Milestone BH1

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of GREAT SHEFFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Trimbledown Farm; 150m north of Buckham Hill junction , within hedge behind on grass verge, on East side of road. Besselsleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: To / WANTAGE / 7 / HUNGERFORD / 6½ / . Carved benchmark on top of face, rivet on top.

Milestone BH2

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of WANTAGE (VALE OF WHITE HORSE District), Manor Road; 20m S of Manor Road Farm, on grass verge, beside fence of field to S of farm, on East side of road. Besselsleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: WANTAGE / 1 / HUNGERFORD / 12½ .

Milestone BH3

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of HUNGERFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Eddington Hill; 100 m south of Folly Farm gate, among bushes and ivy behind footpath, on East side of road. Besselsleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: 13 / TO / WANTAGE / HUNGERFORD / ½ /. Carved benchmark with a rivet on top.

Milestone BH4

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of WANTAGE (VALE OF WHITE HORSE District), Manor Road; Black Bushes and Angel Down; opp. lane to Letcombe Bowes Farm, on open on grass verge, in front of wooden fence post of field boundary, on East side of road. Besselsleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: - : WANTAGE / 3 / HUNGERFORD / 10½ / . Carved benchmark on lower right face.

Milestone BH5

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of GREAT SHEFFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Wantage Road; opp. bungalow "Meadowside", on steep grass bank by wire fence, on East side of road. Besselsleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: -: To / WANTAGE / 8 / HUNGERFORD / 5½ / . Carved benchmark & rivet on top.

Milestone BH6

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of CHADDLEWORTH (WEST BERKSHIRE District), South Fawley, south of junction . to village, on grass verge against edge of open field, on east side of road. Besselsleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads:- : To / WANTAGE / 5 / HUNGERFORD / 8½ Carved benchmark & rivet on top.

Milestone BH7

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of GREAT SHEFFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Hungerford Hill; halfway up, within a hedge on a very steep and narrow bank, on East side of road. Besselsleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: -: To / WANTAGE / 9/ HUNGERFORD / 4½ . Carved benchmark bottom face.

Milestone BH8

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of FAWLEY (WEST BERKSHIRE District), 20m S of N Fawley Farm turn, on grass verge against edge of open field, on east side of road. Besselsleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: To / WANTAGE / 4 / HUNGERFORD / 9½ /. Carved benchmark on top.

Milestone BH9

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of WANTAGE (VALE OF WHITE HORSE District), Manor Road; 30m South of Court Hill junction , north of hill crest at Red House, on grass verge below bank of poor hedge, on East side of road. Besseleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.
Inscription reads: WANTAGE / 2 / HUNGERFORD / 11½ / : : : . carved benchmark lower left face.

Milestone BH10

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of GREAT SHEFFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Watcombe, South of lane to Henley Farm, on very steep narrow grass bank, on East side of road. Besselsleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: To / WANTAGE / 6 / HUNGERFORD / 7½ /: : : . carved benchmark on top.

Milestone BH11

Carved stone post by the A338, in parish of HUNGERFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Eddington House; north of entrance to The Warren, below bushes among ivy on wide verge, on east side of road. Besselsleigh tombstone Erected by the Besselsleigh turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: 12 / WANTAGE / HUNGERFORD / 1½ / .Carved benchmark & rivet on top.

Speenhamland to Marlborough Turnpike Milestones

Milestone SM1

Carved stone post by the A4, in parish of HUNGERFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Strongrove Hill; north of lay by, on wide grass verge just over halfway up hill, on north side of road. Bath Road limestone shoulders Erected by the Speenhamland to Marlborough turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: - To / NEWBURY / 9 /: To / LONDON / 65 / : To / MARLBRO / 10 / : : . ;

Milestone SM2

The milestone is set slightly back from the A4 as you head towards Hungerford from the west.

Milestone SM3

Most of the inscription on the stone has worn away with the passing of time. For a wider view SU3168 : Milestone near Hungerford

Milestone SM4

Carved stone post by the A4, in parish of KINTBURY (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Bath Road; Benham; west of junction . to Elcot Park Hotel, on wide grass verge, on north side of road. Bath Road limestone shoulders Erected by the Speenhamland to Marlborough turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: To / NEWBURY / 5 / : To / LONDON / 61 / : To / Hungerford / 4 .

Milestone SM5

Carved stone post by the A4, in parish of SPEEN (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Bath Road; Benham Park, 300m W of main East Gate Lodge, on wide grass verge, on North side of road. Bath Road limestone shoulders Erected by the Speenhamland to Marlborough turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: - To / NEWBURY / 2 /: To / LONDON / 58 / : To / Hungerford / 7 / : : . ; .

Milestone SM6

Carved stone post by the A4, in parish of WELFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Bath Road; Benham Grange, Stockcross, 200 m East of Halfway Inn public house, on wide grass verge, on north side of road. Bath Road limestone shoulders Erected by the Speenhamland to Marlborough turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: - To / NEWBURY / 4 /: To / LONDON / 60 / : To / Hungerford / 5 / . Carved benchmark bottom right side.

Milestone SM7

Carved stone post by the A4, in parish of KINTBURY (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Bath Road; Norland’s College & Nursery (was Denford Park), on grass lawn to the left of entrance to the College with flint wall behind, on nesorth side of road. Bath Road limestone shoulders Erected by the Speenhamland to Marlborough turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: - To / NEWBURY / 7 / : To / LONDON / 63 / : To / Hungerford / 2 / .

Milestone SM8

Carved stone post by the A4, in parish of KINTBURY (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Bath Road; west of junction . to Barton Court Farm, on wide grass verge, on north side of road. Bath Road limestone shoulders Erected by the Speenhamland to Marlborough turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: - To / NEWBURY / 6 /: To / LONDON / 62 / : To / Hungerford / 3 / : : . carved benchmark bottom rt. face & left side at bottom; .

Milestone SM9

Beside the A4, the Old Bath Road, at the hamlet of Halfway in between Newbury and Hungerford.

Milestone SM10

Carved stone post by the A4, in parish of SPEEN (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Bath Road; Marsh Benham, at Milkhouse Lane crossroads, in hedge on bank east of crossroads, on north side of road. Bath Road limestone shoulders Erected by the Speenhamland to Marlborough turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: To / NEWBURY / 3 /: To / LONDON / 59 /: To / Hungerford / 6 /: : . carved benchmark right side.

Milestone SM11

Carved stone post by the A4, in parish of HUNGERFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Bath Road; Cake Wood, between lay-by and E of Highclose Farm, on wide grass verge, on north side of road. Bath Road limestone shoulders Erected by the Speenhamland to Marlborough turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: To / Hungerford / 1 / : To / LONDON / 66 / : To / MARLBRO / 9 /.

Milestone SM12

Carved stone post by the A4, in parish of HUNGERFORD (WEST BERKSHIRE District), Bath Road; Eddington, East of Bath Road Nursery, beside deep ditch behind wide on grass verge and footpath, on North side of road. Bath Road limestone shoulders Erected by the Speenhamland to Marlborough turnpike trust in the 18th century.

Inscription reads: To / NEWBURY / 8 /: To / LONDON / 64 / : To / Hungerford / 1 / : : . carved benchmark lower left side.

Milestone SM13

Milestone on the A4, near Cobham Frith, Marlborough,Wilts.
Facing east north east, the next town along the A4 from here is Hungerford.

Swindon to Hungerford Turnpike Milestones

Milestone ST1

This early 19th century Grade II listed limestone milestone on the B4192 Swindon to Hungerford Road incorporates a benchmark and also gives the mileage to London .On the side of the heading towards Aldbourne.

Milestone ST2

Carved stone post by the B4192, in parish of LIDDINGTON (SWINDON District), Shipley Bottom lay-by at start of tree line, on grass verge, on West side of road. Swindon half-round with base Erected by the Swindon and Hungerford turnpike trust in the 19th century.

Inscription reads: - painted "SWINDON" but engraving starts at "Miles : : painted "HUNGERFORD" but engraving starts at "Miles : : TO / LONDON / 75 Miles /. carved benchmark and rivet on top.

Milestone ST3

Swindon half-round with base by the B4192, in parish of Liddington (Swindon District), Hungerford Road, between the M4 bridge and the turn for Liddington village, between footpath and metal rail fence on a grass bank.

20th Century Milestones:

Towards the end of 19th century and the start of the 20th century county councils were given responsibility for main roads and rural district councils for minor routes. As faster motorised transport developed so the importance of the milestones waned such way markers are fast disappearing; only around 9000 are thought to survive in the UK. Most were removed or defaced in World War II to baffle potential German invaders and not all were replaced afterwards. Many have been demolished as roads have been widened, or have been victims of collision damage, or have been smashed by hedge-cutters or flails.

Nowadays, roadside milestones generally fall within the remit of the local Highways Authority or the Highways Agency and their contractors.

The Milestone Society:

In May 2001 the Milestone Society was formed and its principal aims are to identify, record, research and interpret for the public benefit the milestones and other way markers of the British Isles.

A major concern of the Society was the loss of our milestone heritage through deliberate theft, which in view of the massive weight of stones or posts most often involves the plates recording mileages attached to the stones. Mile markers in place are the property of the authority responsible for the upkeep of the road and unauthorised removal of any part of them therefore constitutes a crime.

The information on this website can help to identify stolen material which may appear at car-boot sales, antique fairs, private properties, etc and even advertised on commercially based websites. The fact that reliable records with photographs are now being made and an inventory of the nation's milestones collected and recorded on searchable computer databases should help to deter future losses, since identification and proof of provenance should be a straightforward matter.

Members who are aware of theft of a milestone or milepost are urged to report the theft to the police and, importantly, to get a crime number. Also, it is useful to report it to Salvo, where a register of such stolen items is advertised

Hungerford Milestones in the 21st Century and Milestone Protection:

Hungerford is VERY lucky to have milestones on its doorsteps and to be mentioned on these historic monuments. These milestones are protected by law.

Approximately half the milestones in England & Wales are listed. The great majority of these are listed as historic buildings, although a few are scheduled as ancient monuments. Under the Planning (listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 a milestone may be listed in its own right if it has been in situ since before 1 July 1948. However, stones may also be listed by virtue of being within the "curtilage" (immediate setting or grounds) of a listed building, whether physically fixed to it or not. Milestones may also be protected if they fall within a ‘conservation area’, responsibility for the declaration and control of which (S.69 of 1990 Act) lies with the local authority. Conservation Area designation introduces control over demolition and provides local authorities with the basis for developing policies to conserve or enhance historic character. The listing of a milestone places a general duty upon its owner to keep in good repair and this is enforceable by local authorities & central government agencies through the Repairs Notice procedure, with owner liable to pay, and - in extremis - through Compulsory Purchase Order. The legislation assumes that local authorities and central government agencies, which already own the majority of milestones, will set a good example!

Photo Gallery:

BH1
BH1 BH1
BH2
BH2 BH2
BH3
BH3 BH3
BH4
BH4 BH4
BH5
BH5 BH5
BH6
BH6 BH6
BH7
BH7 BH7
BH8
BH8 BH8
BH10
BH10 BH10
BH11
BH11 BH11
HL1
HL1 HL1
HL2
HL2 HL2
HL3
HL3 HL3
HL4
HL4 HL4
HL5
HL5 HL5
HL6
HL6 HL6
HL7
HL7 HL7
HL8
HL8 HL8
HL10
HL10 HL10
HL12
HL12 HL12
SM1
SM1 SM1
SM2
SM2 SM2
SM3
SM3 SM3
SM4
SM4 SM4
SM5
SM5 SM5
SM6
SM6 SM6
SM7
SM7 SM7
SM8
SM8 SM8
SM9
SM9 SM9
SM11
SM11 SM11
SM13
SM13 SM13
ST1
ST1 ST1
ST2
ST2 ST2
ST3
ST3 ST3

See also:

- Coaching

- Turnpike Trusts (including Milestones)

- Longer article on Coaching

- Details of Stage Coaches and Mail Coaches passing through Hungerford, 1836

- Various notes and abstracts about coaching, Bath Road, inns, carriers, etc

- The Great Road from London to Bath and Bristol c1800?

- The Canal in Hungerford

- Inns & Alehouses

- Turnpike Trusts (including Milestones)

- Postal History of Hungerford - much linked to the Coaching History

- The Price family (including Obituary of Mr Enos Price), who ran a coaching business to Hungerford in the mid 19th century

- "Thousands at historic run of Mailcoach", NWN 7 Aug 1984.

- Coaching [HHA Archive A63]