KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY  -- RESEARCH   Studying and sharing Kent's past      Homepage

     Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 73 - 1959 page 188
More Notes on Kentish Roads. By F. C. Elliston-Erwood, F.S.A.  continued

railway. Nevertheless local interests were active and in 1826, by the Act 6 Geo. IV. c.25 the construction of a Turnpike Road from the existing Turnpike between Maidstone and Wrotham to Strood was sanctioned from Strood Cross Roads via Cuxton Hailing Snodland Birling and Leyborne to the old Hythe Road about five miles west of Maidstone. Unfortunately only one minute book belonging to this Trust has survived and this is now among the Kent Archives at Maidstone. It contains the minutes from Mar. 21st 1836 to the extinction of the Trust in 1878, the last entry being Oct. 8th. 1878. Thus the early history of the Trust is missing which is rather a pity for undoubtedly there would have been some account of the making of the road from Snodland to Leyborne, the present highway.
   Reading however between the lines a little may be gathered about the early activities of the Trust. The prime mover of the scheme appears to have been Sir Joseph Hawley whose house was the now vanished ‘Grange,’ shown on the map in Hasted as being west of Leyborne Church and Castle in Leyborne Park. The approximate site is now the Mental Hospital near Ryarsh. The only available road from Malling to Snodland (shown on the accompanying plan) left the road some half mile or less west of the present road, passed in front of the gates of Sir Joseph Hawley’s park and thence to Birling, Ham Hill and Snodland. This road was abandoned in favour of the

present highway through Leyborne, and while it can be conceded that it would give a more direct road, it must be asked whether there was sufficient traffic to justify this alteration or whether the proximity of the older road to the ‘Grange’ might not have been an equally important consideration. This is, of course, a common charge levelled against the Turnpike Trusts by their detractors, that Trustees used their powers for their own benefit. The author’s limited experience of Trusts other than those in Kent, would not allow of any definite criticism of this charge, but it is decidedly rare in this County, and were the earlier books available, another construction might be placed on this particular matter.
   By the time the history can be based on existing documents the road was in being and this account can therefore only deal with the last forty-two years (out of fifty-three) of its short life.
   Toll Gates, the main source of the life blood of any trust, existed on this road at Temple Farm just outside Strood and at Snodland, though another was proposed in 1845 at Ham Hill at the end of Long Meadow near the Mill on the road to Lunsford, but this proposal came to naught as did a later suggestion (1859) to place bars or chains across side roads to catch intermediate traffic, but it is evident that the amount of such use was not considered worth the expense and trouble of a side gate and a collector,

Page 188

Previous page    Back to Page Listings     Next page     

For details about the advantages of membership of the Kent Archaeological Society   click here

 Back to Contents Page   Back to Arch. Cant. List   Back to Publications On-line  Back to Research Page  To Homepage

  Kent Archaeological Society is a registered charity number 223382
© Kent Archaeological Society July 2004     

This website is constructed by enthusiastic amateurs. Any errors noticed by other researchers will be to gratefully received so
 that we can amend our pages to give as accurate a record as possible. Please send details too research@kentarchaeology.org.uk