The Amesbury Turnpike Trust
Disproving the Tollhouse Theory
The Amesbury turnpike certainly ran alongside the house, but when the trust was disbanded and the effects sold off in 1871, no mention was made of a tollhouse in Chitterne for sale, merely the two gates, boards and lamp.
Evidence collected from the Wiltshire and Swindon Record Office (WSRO), reveals that the Amesbury Turnpike Trust came into existence in an Act dated 1761-2. Ref. A1/100A1/329 ref.280 and 275
The accounts for the Amesbury Turnpike Trust show tolls collected from Chitterne until the early 19th C but by 1823 Heytesbury and Chitterne tolls are amalgamated and by 1825 Amesbury, Heytesbury and Chitterne are together. Ref. A1/280/1 WSRO
No turnpike is shown at Chitterne on the 1773 Andrews and Drury map. WSRO
A map dated 1822 of the Estates of Paul Methuen in Chitterne shows what could be a gate across the junction near Elm Farm where the Tilshead Road meets the Amesbury Turnpike (now B390). A thin black line intersected by two sets of two short lines at rightangles to it, is drawn across the road from Elm Farm corner to the Cut where the signpost stands. This seems a reasonable place for a gate if tolls were to be collected from those wishing to join the Amesbury Turnpike from the Tilshead direction. Ref. WSRO 135/28
Further study of the Methuen map disclosed a small building sited in the middle of the old Bath to Heytesbury Road, at the junction with the B390. This may have been a toll booth or small cottage where tolls were collected. It is ideally situated for this purpose. No remains exist today.
A house survey revealed that the round end of the Round House is far too grand in style for a toll keeper's cottage. Also, it faces the wrong way. Finally, the occupation of the inhabitant, Charles Morris, was that of Colonial Agent according to the 1841 census.
An undated, untitled, All Saints parish map clearly shows a tollgate in position where the Tilshead road met the Amesbury Turnpike. It also shows a possible tollkeeper's booth and a fence across the Cut (to deter any folk from taking a wet detour to avoid payment, no doubt!) CPC
Lastly, a quote from Hoare that clinches the site of the turnpike gate:-
"Chitterne All Saints, or Upper Chitterne, lies east of Chitterne St. Mary,....... the two parishes, however, lie so close together, that a stranger would discover no line of distinction between them, unless informed that the turnpike gate stands on the boundary."
The line of the boundary follows the middle of the Shrewton road, (formerly Bidden or Bitten Lane), case closed! SR