Glossop Heritage Trust

The Glossop Turnpike Roads.

Before the Industrial Revolution the people of the townships in the Ancient Parish of Glossop could travel only by farm lanes, many of which still exist as footpaths or byways, and bridle or pack saddle road. One such road ran from Peak Forest to Woodhead. It entered Whitfield at Gnat Hole, came along Hague Street to Whitfield Cross, where there was a branch along Cliffe Road, Cross Cliffe, Milltown to (Old) Glossop. A branch road went down Whitfield Cross, Gladstone Street, Smithy Fold, Ellison Street, to Woodhead. At Freetown another branch road went down Hollincross Lane, Slatelands, and entered Simmondley at Bridgefield.

As with the rest of the country, the change to an industrial economy resulted in a demand for better transport facilities, the building of Turnpike Roads, run by Trusts (created by Acts of Parliament) empowered to collect tolls for their use, was the answer.

The Acts for the turnpikes from Manchester to Buxton (with a branch from Whalley Bridge to Chapel) and Manchester to Saltersbrook (via Ashton, Stalybridge, Mottram and Woodhead, to join roads in Yorkshire) were passed in 1724 and 1731 respectively.

Burdett's map 1791
Pigot's map 1840
Contrast between the absence of main roads in Burdett's map of 1791 and Pigot's map of 1840 showing the turnpikes.

The first turnpike road to actually come through Glossop, as we think of it today, was that from Chapel-en-le-Frith to Enterclough Bridge (where it met the Manchester to Saltersbrook road near Woodhead), enabled by an Act of 1792. The road had a branch (the current Cemetery Road) to Hadfield then on to Woolley Bridge and Clayland's Gate (Hollingworth). The petition, presented to the House of Commons on 1 March 1792, was from “the Gentlemen, Clergy, Merchants, principal Tradesmen, and Inhabitants, residing in or near the Towns of Chapel-en-le-Frith, Chapel Milltown, Chinley, Hayfield, Charlesworth, Chunal, Whitfield, Padfield and Glossop in the County of Derby, and of Huddersfield, and its Vicinity, in the West Riding of the County of York”. Included amongst the petitioners were Lord George Cavendish, Bernard Edward Howard of Glossop, Squire Frith of Bank Hall, Chapel and prominent men from Chapel, Hayfield and Glossop.

The Petition read: That the Town and Neighbourhood of Huddersfield, in the West Riding of the County of York, is very populous, and inhabited by a great Number of Persons employed in the Woollen Manufactory, which is carried on there in a very extensive Manner; and that the Woollen Manufactory is also carried on in and about the Towns of Glossop and Hayfield, and their respective Neighbourhoods, in a very extensive Manner; and that the Cotton Manufactory is also greatly extending into the several Townships of Glossop, Whitfield, Hadfield, Padfield, Charlesworth, and other places in their Vicinity; and that a great Part of the Lands lying within the several Townships of Huddersfield, Honley, Glossop, Whitfield, Chunal, Charlesworth, Simondley and Padfield are barren, and want much Improvement, and there is, in the Neighbourhood of Chapel, a great and almost inexhaustible Quantity of Lime, which would much conduce to the Improvement of the said Land; and that the Inhabitants of Huddersfield, Glossop, Hayfield and their respective Neighbourhoods, are principally supplied with Wool from the Southern Counties, which chiefly comes by way of Derby, and also with Corn, Malt, and other necessities of Life, from the Eastern Counties, and, for want of a direct Road to the several Places from which the said Commodities come, they are brought to the before-mentioned Townships, and their Vicinity, by several round-about Ways, whereby the Price of the Carriage is much enhanced, and great Delay is also occasioned in Receipt of such Commodities; and that the Petitioners apprehend, in case the Highways from Chapel aforesaid to, or near to, Enterclough Bridge, both in the County of Derby, and from the Village of Hayfield to Marple Bridge, dividing the Counties of Derby and Chester, and from the Village of Glossop to a certain Gate, called Clayland's Gate, on, or near to, the Side of the Turnpike Road leading from Mottram to Woodhead, in the County of Chester, were diverted, altered, widened, repaired, and amended, these Inconveniences, which the Manufacturers, Farmers, and others resident in or near to the aforesaid Townships, are now subject to, would be in a great Measure obviated, but that at present great Part of the said Roads, lying between Chapel and Enterclough Bridge, and from the Village of Hayfield to Marple Bridge, and from the Village of Glossop to Clayland's Gate aforesaid, is in many Places so narrow and confined, and in Winter and rainy Seasons so ruinous, as to be extremely dangerous for Passengers, and impassable for Waggons and other heavy Carriages, and the said Roads cannot be effectually widened, kept in Repair, and made fit for Carriages, and diverted where for the Ease and Safety of the Passengers it may be requisite, by the ordinary Course of Law: And therefore praying, That Leave may be given to bring in a Bill for diverting, altering, widening, repairing, and amending the said Roads, from the Town of Chapel aforesaid to, or near to, a Bridge called Enterclough Bridge, both in the County of Derby, and from the Village of Hayfield to Marple Bridge, dividing the Counties of Derby and Chester, and from the Village of Glossop to a certain Gate, called Clayland's Gate, on or near to, the Side of the Turnpike Road leading from Mottram to Woodhead in the County of Chester, by such Ways and Means as to the House shall seem meet.
The Bill went through the various stages and was passed by the Lords on 3 April 1792. The Act stipulated that “no victualler or retailer of ale or beer, cider, or spirituous liquors shall be capable of holding any place of profit under this Act”.
The first meeting of the trustees (who were required to defray their own expenses) was held, according to the Act, on the 7th day of May, 1792, at the home of Joseph Brocklehurst,The Pack Horse Inn, Hayfield. The trustees present, were Edward Bennett, Edmund Bradbury, Thomas Beard, Mr. Bowey, Charles Calvert, John Carrington, Henry Cardwell, Robert Cardwell, Wm. Gaskell, Joseph Garlick, George Hobson. Thomas Hadfield, Samuel Kinder, Rev. Ralph Kinder. Francis Marriott. Joshua Marriott, Samuel Oldknow, Matthew Rawlinson, Robert Thornley, Robt. Thornley, junr. They decided that the road from Hollingworth Head should be “the old road by the plantation (Chunal Moor), continuing that road by certain stakes now on the common, and so through the village of Chunal as the old road now runs......” and so in a direct line to Hollin Cross Lane and on that lane through Robert Fielding’s field on the Little Moor to Bridge End.”. The road then followed the line of the old road in front of what is now the Brook Tavern, crossing the Glossop Brook about where the Travelodge Hotel stands, up “Smithy Fowt” and along Ellison-street. The current line of the road, together with Victoria Bridge, was not made until 1837, which explains why the pub and other buildings are set back from the road. Along the road there were seven toll bars and five side gates. Two of the toll gates were Charlestown Bar and Smithy Bar. Charlestown Bridge was built by the Turnpike Trustees about 1793.

Woodhead Road Toll House
Woodhead Road Toll House

The trustees ordered that the road from Hollingworth Head to Enterclough Bridge, be made and carried on from the North side of the old road near the plantation, continuing that road by certain stakes now on the common and so through the village of Chunal, as the old road now runs to John Bramwell's Banks, and so through Joseph Bramwell's field and John Bennett's Rye Croft, by Mr. Charles Hadfield's mill, and so in a direct line to Hollin Cross Lane and on that lane through Robert Fielding's field on the Little Moor to Bridge End, and continuing the old road to the East side the Pitstead in the Royle Meadow, and thence in a direct line to William Bennett's field, and so cross the road in a direct line through certain fields to James Garside's house, and so over Winterbottom's Reddish Intacks to the old road that leads to the Low Quarry into Roger Goodison's field, and so to Runnat Intack near Thornley's sough, and so to Ogden Clough, and as the stakes are fixed at Torset above David Sykes house and under William Sykes following the old road, and so through the pasture wood and Kid Field Woods to Enterclough Bridge and that the road from Glossop to Claylands Gate be made and carried on continuing the old road over to the intended turnpike above the Smithy, and so as it is proposed to run as far as Winberry Hill, leaving the main line on the West side of Winberry Hill in a direct line to Alman's Heath old road, and continuing that road to Redgate Head, and thence through certain closes on the North side of the hill of Marley Brow, as the stakes are fixed on the old road at the bottom of Marley Brow, and thence following the old road through Hadfield to Woolley Bridge, and thence entering the Earl of Stanford's land as the stakes are fixed on the old road leading towards Claylands Gate and deviating from that road near the gate to a point opposite the Gun public house, where it is proposed to fix the gate in the turnpike road leading from Mottram to Woodhead.

Aitkin, in his Description of the Country Round Manchester published in 1795, said “A few years ago an act was obtained for the making a new turnpike road, from Buxton to Chapel-en-le Frith through Hayfield, by Glossop to the Wood-head. From Chapel-en-le-Frith to the Wood-head it is completed. The road skims along the side of the Derbyshire hills halfway betwixt their tops and the Mersey. This road is principally intended for the advantage of those passing to and from Buxton into Yorkshire, instead of the wide circuit through Manchester. It is already much travelled, and will be still more so on its being known. The extension of this road from Buxton to Chapel-en-le-Frith is not yet finished. A new turnpike road passes from Glossop to Mottram, through Hadfield, which by the effects of the cotton trade is much improved of late.”

Gamesley Road toll house
Woolley Bridge toll house
The toll houses at Gamesley Road (opposite The Plough) and Woolley Bridge.

An Act of 1803 enabled the road from Marple Bridge to Glossop (now Old Glossop). It ran roughly parallel to Glossop Brook for nearly two miles, providing a spinal road linking the mills along the brook to each other and the outside world (the present-day Glossop Road (Gamesley), Dinting Vale, High Street (West and East) and Manor Park Road). The road had subsidiary branches from Charlestown Bar to Dinting, and from the Plough Inn to the Spread Eagle Inn at Woolley Bridge, with toll gates at Woolley Bridge, Dinting Vale and Mill Town. In 1803, Shepley Mill and Corn Mill Bridges were built, in 1804 Dinting Mill and Primrose Bridges.
The road crossed the Chapel Turnpike near a farmhouse or inn which took advantage of the new roads to become a coaching house - the Howard Arms. This crossroads became an obvious location for the new Glossop of the 19th century.

The Howard Arms
The Howard Arms

The final turnpike in the area was that from Sheffield to Glossop via the Snake Pass, enabled by an Act of 1818. Most of the bondholders were Sheffield people who wished to have a shorter road to Manchester. At the time the route to Sheffield from Manchester was through Buxton and the opening of the Snake road cut the distance by 15 miles. On the 23rd August, 1821, Hugh Parker. Esq., J.P., and the Rev. John Lyne, J.P., viewed the Sheffield part of the road, and on the same day John White, Esq., J.P., of Park Hall, Hayfield, and George William Newton, J.P., Ollersett Hall, New Mills, proceeded from the Howard Arms Inn and viewed the Glossop portion, both parties certifying: “That the road was fit and commodious for the passage of carriages and travellers thereon.”
The advantage of the new Snake Road can be judged from an account by the Rev. James Everett, one of the early Methodist Circuit ministers who were stationed at New Mills when Glossop was in that circuit. In 1819 he was stationed in Sheffield. In his journal he wrote “Took the mail from Manchester, June 29 (1822). Passed through Woodlands, Glossop, Stalybridge and Ashton. This road had been but recently made. Three years ago I had great difficulty in crossing the moors on horseback. Carts had passed over it for some time, but the coach had only just begun to run this way. The road was rough, and the scenery over the moors was distinguished for savage wildness, forming a stern contrast to the cultivated parts of the district.” and “got into Sheffield a quarter before one. Threw the reins on the horse the moment I reached Tontine, took my portmanteau under my arm, ran up to the Commercial Inn, took my seat, found the driver on the box, whip in hand, ready for starting; drove off and arrived at Manchester by way of Glossop (37 miles) about half-past five in the evening”.

As mentioned, the trustees were empowered to collect tolls for use of the roads in order to repay the capital to build them and for their maintenance. They made orders as to where the toll gates were to be placed. Examples are:
27th February, 1793. Ordered that a chain be drawn across the road at or near Abraham Broadbent's on Allman's Heath, within Hadfield.
22nd April, 1793 Ordered that a chain be drawn across the road at or near the Fulling Mill in the Township of Glossop.
17th February, 1794. Ordered that a side gate be placed across a certain highway in Hadfield, called Moor Lane, from this day, and the tolls allowed by the Act be received there. Ordered that the river below Moodsbottom Bridge be piled to prevent carriages travelling to the coal pits.
6th July, 1795. Ordered that a gate be placed at Winberry Hill or Garsides near Glossop, for such carriages only as go to or from the Low Quarry.

The tolls for the roads were sold annually, by auction. The advertisements included the sums which the tolls were sold for at the last sale was always stated, a good indication of the amount of trade. Bidders were required provide sufficient sureties to the Trustees they could afford to pay for them and entered into possession of the Toll Bars on the 1st March. Israel Warrington, for Glossop Toll Bar, paid £91; G. Goodison, for Hadfield Bar, £61; John Collier, for Torside Bar, £30. Mr. Goodison failed to keep his agreement, and the tolls for Hadfield Bar were let to Abraham Clark for £54. Proceedings were ordered to be taken against Mr. Goodison.
There is some conjecture as to whether the buildings shown in the photographs are the original toll bar houses or not. They are, though, on or near to the sites of the toll bars concerned. As with many other buildings, alterations could have taken place over the years.

Milltown toll house
Woodcock Road toll house
The toll houses at Milltown and Woodcock Road.

The initial tolls for the Chapel-en-le-Frith to Enterclough Bridge road were: For every horse, or other beast of draught drawing any coach, landau, chaise, Berlin hearse, chariot, curriculey chair, or chaise marine, wain, cart or other carriage travelling the said whole road from Chapel-en-le-Frith to Enterclough Bridge, the sum of fourpence, from Hayfield to Marple Bridge, the sum of fourpence, and from Glossop to Clayland’s Gate the sum of four pence, and for every horse, mare, gelding, mule or ass, laden or unladen, and not drawing travelling the whole road from Chapel-en-le-Frith to Enterclough Bridge the sum of one penny, and from Glossop to Clayland’s Gate, the sum of one penny.
For every drove of oxen meat cattle travelling the said whole road from Chapel-en-le-Frith to Enterclough Bridge, the sum of one shilling and threepence a score, and so on in proportion for any less number, from Hayfield to Marple Bridge the sum of one shilling and threepence per score, and 50 in proportion for any less number, and from Glossop to Clayland’s Gate the sum of one shilling and threepence per score, and so in proportion for any less number, and for every drove of calves, sheep, swine, or lambs, five pence per score, etc.
An exemption from the toll was allowed for any wagon, wain, cart, or other carriage, or any horse or or other beasts, laden only with coal, and carrying such coal from Ludworth, Chisworth, and Simmondley Pits, in the Lordship of Glossop for the use of owners and occupiers of land in the said town of Glossop only, or within the precincts thereof.

The making of these roads caused the local authorities to make connections with other roads, and build footbridges. In 1821 the Old Town Hall, Old Cross, and Turn Lee Bridges were built. They also led to many public houses being erected, for example the Royal Oak which was opened in 1818 and the Snake Inn which was opened in September, 1821.

Royal Oak
Snake Inn
The Royal Oak and Snake Inn.

They also enabled faster coach travel for the carriage of both passengers and mails. The first regular coach to run from Manchester to Glossop commenced running in May 1821, but only on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The Stockport Advertiser of 24th May, 1822, reported: “We perceive a new mail coach will commence running on Monday next (27th), on the new line of road from Manchester through Hyde, Mottram and Glossop. This arrangement will give this populous district, through which the coach runs, every facility of communication desirable.”
The proprietor of the Royal Mail was John Lambert, Tontine Inn, Sheffield, who advertised “The New Royal Mail, on that beautiful road through Glossop, every day, leaves Manchester at 5.45 a.m., and arrives at Sheffield at 12.30 p.m.” A dinner was held at the Norfolk Arms; to celebrate the event. at which nearly all the local gentry were present.
It wasn't a complete answer for the people of Glossop. The mail coach was timed to leave Sheffield at 1 a.m., and this was inconvenient to Glossop's cotton masters, so Mr Joseph Oates, of the Norfolk Arms Hotel, started to run a light coach on Tuesdays and Saturdays. This began at 6-30 a.m. and returned at eight in the evening.
In 1825, there were two coaches, The Merry Tradesman and The Norfolk, fares 5s. each.
There were five mail coaches in 1840, from Glossop to Manchester: The Norfolk, every morning at eight, and afternoons at half past five; goes through Ashton Stalybridge and Mottram; To Sheffield, a coach, from the Commercial Inn, every morning (Sundays excepted) at a quarter past ten, and from the Royal Hotel every morning at half past ten; both go through Ashton, Mottram and Glossop; The Park Ranger, from the Swan, Market Street, every morning at a quarter past nine, goes through Ashton and Glossop; The Umpire, from the Swan and Eagle Hotels, every day at twelve noon, goes through Ashton and Glossop.
A coach left Glossop every Friday for Stockport at 8.30 a.m., returning from Stockport at 8.00 p.m.

Coach travel wasn't without danger though. On October 28th, 1829, the Umpire coach from Manchester was overturned at the Junction Inn Glossop, The accident was caused by a cart standing in the middle of the road opposite the Inn, and by turning off the centre of the road to avoid coming in contact with the cart, the centre pin of the coach broke. An outside passenger was injured and taken to the house of Mr. Oates, the Norfolk Arms, to recover.
Despite the new “beautiful road”, travel was disrupted, just as it is today, by snow in winter, it being reported quite regularly that the mails were delayed or that coaches were unable to proceed at all.
Letters were sent by mail coaches and mail gig until 1852, when on the 19th January, a great snowstorm made the roads impassable. The mail coach was snowed up at Woolley Bridge and could get no further, and ever afterwards letters were sent by rail.

Eventually the success of the railways spelled the end of the turnpike trusts. Profits declined, debts mounted and maintenance of the roads suffered. The Local Government Act of 1888 gave responsibility for maintaining main roads to county councils and county borough councils. That did not, of course, spell the end for the roads themselves. What started out as the turnpikes are still the main roads of Glossop – the A57, A624, A626 and A628.

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Page last updated: 11 January 2018.
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