IN 1755, an act was passed to establish a Turnpike Trust for the road from Basingstoke to Stockbridge, the A30. The distance covered was 27 miles seven furlongs 200 yards and contained three toll gates and bars.

The trustees first met to agree to a gate to Basingstoke Down and tolls were to be taken immediately after its erection in 1756.

In 1757, John Sabine, surveyor, was ordered to purchase land along the whole route and submit a list of parishioners, whose properties bordered the road, for the purpose of ordering them to carry out repair work on the road. For Basingstoke it was one day annually, but for Kempshott two days.

Also in 1757 William Stevens, the first gatekeeper at Kempshott was allowed 40s for the building of a well next to the Turnpike House. Repairs were carried out from Kempshott to the Wheatsheaf.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Position of the first turnpike

The following year, in 1758, Kempshott High Road was widened from Basingstoke to Popham Lane.

In 1761 the Turnpike gate moved to the end of Basingstoke town near the chalk pit and a house built for the gatekeeper.

The farmers of Basingstoke refused to do their statutory labour and the Mayor of the town was asked to execute the Law against them in 1762.

Three years later, in 1765, there was a violent assault on the gatekeeper at Popham by a person unknown driving a wagon loaded and refusing to pay.

In 1773, weighing engines were introduced to weigh all loaded carriages for the purpose of extracting extra tolls if overweight. There was one positioned at Basingstoke and another at Stockbridge.

The Trust treasurer was ordered to contract for a cottage situated at the entrance to Basingstoke Town to interrupt the road in 1778.

Years later, in 1793, Basingstoke “Inclosure” resulted in a road being opened which gave an opportunity for people to avoid paying the tolls. A committee was formed to find a proper spot to which the Turnpike House could be moved.

In 1795, Basingstoke Down Gate was to be let by auction to the highest bidder for 1 year. The gate collected £251.10.3d. during the year Sept. 1794 - Sep. 1795. William Hillier won for the yearly sum of £366.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Turnpike No.29 Stockbridge to Basingstoke 1756

The next year, in 1796, A clause was inserted into the Turnpike Act: all horses, mares, geldings and mules drawing through the turnpike be charge 3d. and half again if drawing wagons, carts, etc with narrow wheels.

Every drove of oxen or other neat cattle was to be 5d. a score in 1798, whilst every drove of calves, sheep, lambs or swine was to be 3d a score.

In 1805, a warrant was issued to summons Peter Forsbury, keeper of the turnpike gate near Kempshott Lodge to answer the complaint of John Hanson, Esquire of neglect of duty on 26 April, and refusal to open the gate for them.

Repairs were then carried out from Kempshott to Popham Lane in 1807. Payment of tolls only had to be made once a day at any one Turnpike or Toll Gate on production of a note or ticket.

Four years later, in 1811, Mr. Thomas Rogers, a Basingstoke saddler was stopped, robbed, stripped and left for dead by 2 footpads. Several volunteers searched for the culprits without success

In 1834, Charlotte Milford, a child about 9 years of age fell from a wagon and under wheels. She was taken to Winchester Hospital, but died just as she reached the gates.

Decades later, in 1868, Brothers James and William Richards were found guilty of assaulting Tollkeeper Charles after refusing to pay the tolls.

In 1878, canals and then railways took over shipments of heavy loads, so toll roads became unprofitable and eventually uneconomic.

This article was written by Jane Hussey from the Kempshott History Group.