Deddington Turnpike & Toll House

Rob Forsyth

This article was occasioned by an email from Simon Roots of Nottingham whose family history included ancestors from this area "My 2xGreat Grandfather and family were from North Aston. The 1891 Census records my great uncle, William Lewis and his family, possibly living at the Toll House or Leaden Porch Farm. I have found information on Leadenporch Farm, but cannot find anything on the Toll House."

His email prompted a search only to find that there was no record on this website or any other source of the toll house & turnpike. So this article corrects that grave omission.

  • Martin Lipson (Steeple Aston Village Archive [SAVA]) who provided the extract from the 1821 Ordnance Survey map shown below
  • Miggy Wild (SAVA committee member) who sourced the newspaper references to the Turnpike and its former Toll House. 
  • Alan Rosevear (Turnpike Roads Around Oxford-RUTV8 [1994 rev.2003]) from whose publication I have sourced the information about The Kidlington & Deddington Turnpike.

The Toll Gate & Toll House location


This is an extract from the Ordnance Survey Map of that year. The Toll Gate location is indicated by the initials T.G. on the east side of the road close to where South Brook passes under the road to the south of the Brick Kilns.The land to the east through which the brook flows is Leaden Porch Farm.




This picture and description of the old Toll House -  described as a cottage because tolls ceased in 1876 and it became just a dwelling - was found by Joanna Cox Marshall in a local history book The Way it Was. She emailed it to me about an hour after I first published this article to see if it might be of interest! and so she provided a missing link.

The Fox & Crown public house became the Fox and is now a private house on the SE corner of the North Aston/Duns Tew crossroads at the top of Dane Hill.






The Turnpike

The Turnpike is shown on this map engraved in 1766/67 by Thomas Jeffreys, Geographer to King George III.

ThomasJeffreys,1766-1767The road  had been turnpiked as part of improvements to the Oxford to Coventry road in 1755 following a Petition to Parliament by a group of Warwickshire gentry for a turnpike road from Ryton Bridge* south to Banbury. The gentry of Oxford and the surrounding county seized the opportunity to add an extra road to the Bill. In support of the case for the Banbury to Oxford section, Mr Francis Edge (of the Three Tuns, Banbury) said that "the road is, from the number of heavy carriages passing along the same, and the nature of the soil, so ruinous as to be dangerous to travellers and almost impassable for carriages many months of the year". The final recommendation describes the road as being "from the Cross Hand near Finford Bridge* to Banbury and from the Guide Post near the vill (sic) of Adderbury to the Mileway leading to the City of Oxford"  The latter, referred to as the Kidlington & Deddington Trust, had jurisdiction from the Adderbury village as far as Parks Road on the Oxford Mileway.

* Finford Bridge was also known  as Ryeton/Ryton. Today's A45 crosses a tributary of the Avon to the SE of Ryton-on-Dunsmore. There is no trace of a hostelry called Cross Hand on-line so perhaps it has been  demolished.

Samuel Churchill of Deddington acted as clerk to the Trust. He was also clerk to the road from Enstone, over Heyford Bridge to Bicester and down to Weston on the Green and in addition he acted for the Burford & Banbury Trust.

1876 The Turnpike Trust was closed.


Toll Keepers
1851 Richard Busby (b.1804) Toll Gate Keeper and family
1857 Sarah Knibbs - her husband Edward collected tolls at Clifton Toll Gate
1861 Aima Allan (b.1822) Toll Collector. Enumerated as Wife but no husband of same name is enumererated
1871 George Skuce (b.1845) Agricultural Labourer and Toll Collector and family

Cottagers - Unlike the fate that befell many Toll Houses, Deddington's was not demolished until 1928 being used as a private house until then.
1881 Thomas Preedy (b.1848) Agricultural Labourer and family
1891 Frank Sykes (b.1862) Agricultural Labourer and family
1901 ??
1911 ??

WilliamLewis1891census,red 1891. This is the census that caused Simon first to think that his ancestor William Lewis (1837-1918) had lived in the old Toll House. The way the enumerator has entered the house name is ambiguous; nonetheless, it is probable that the Toll House was enumeration No 44 on the Oxford Road and that William and his family were living at No.45 on Leaden Porch Farm. 



Newspaper reports

While searching for evidence about the Toll Gate and its house, a number of newspaper reports were found giving a flavour of  interesting 'happenings' at the Gate.

Auction of Tolls
21 August 1784 The Oxford Chronicle & Reading Gazette announced that collection of tolls would be auctioned on 8 September at the Fox & Hounds Inn in North Aston and the terms of sale together with toll income from the previous years.


Dog Carts
5 October 1850 North Oxfordshire Monthly Times It seems there was some dispute as to whether dog carts required payment of a toll. They did.


 Apprehension of poachers 2.OCandRGEdandMarkLewisstealing-19.3.1864
19 March 1864 Oxford Chronicle & Reading Gazette reported that Edward and Mark Lewis, both of Deddington, had been apprehended in the vicinity of Deddington Toll Gate and had been charged with poaching; they were in possesion of eight dead rabbits and some nets. The presiding magistrates were the Rev. Cotton Risley and his son Holford.

The defence was that they had permission from Mr Hopkins, the landowner, to catch rabbits anytime on his land. The Bench decided it was a complcated case and adjourned it until the 1 April. The rabbits were to be sold and the money kept secure until the case was settled. 


3.OCandRG18.12.1866-incorrecttoll Illegal charging of toll
18 December 1866 Oxford Chronicle & Reading Gazette The Toll Collector's wife illegally charged a farmer a toll to pass through the Toll Gate. The Toll Collector was ordeed to repay the toll.


Carpet thief living in the old Toll House4.17.3.1883,HenryCastle-carpetsteal-liveatTollHouse
17 February 1883 Oxford Chronicle & Reading Gazette Henry Castle, carpenter, is charged is charged with stealing a carpet. When apprehended he had a suspicious bundle and said he had been given it by the housekeeper at Rousham House and was on his way home to Hempton and gave his name as Green. Further examination established his correct name and that he lived at the old Toll House. He was found guilty at trial and was sentenced to 21 days hard labour

Ed's note: He is not recorded in the 1881 census as living at the Toll House but a Henry Castle, Agricultural Labourer, was enumerated living with other Castles in Hempton. of Marlborough booked for speeding
27 August 1903 Banbury Advertiser. PC Baker gave evidence that PC Elderfield was 'stationed at the brickyard on top of the hill, being one end of a measured quarter mile and I was at the other end, beyond the bridge near to the spot known as "the toll-gate"'. By dint of signalling with a white handkerchief and use of a stop watch, they timed a motor car travelling towards Oxford at 20 miles and hour. The Duchess was in the car. On being shown the watch 'the Duchess gave me the name and address of her driver'. Ironically, as this article is being published (November 2023), a speed limit of 20mph has just been imposed within the village bounds.

6.OxChronandReadGazette173.1904-pttoptA Point to Point
17 March 1904 Oxford Chronicle & Reading Gazette The start for what was known as a "Grind" was from Mr Brian Millington's field "The Fishers" on Leaden Porch Farm 'close to the old toll-gate.' The races were to Hawke's Hill and back 'taking the brook several times.'

A digest of notices and reports (1753-1819 and 1850-1859
) of a non-routine nature in Jackson's Oxford Journal, unless otherwise stated.

Further reading

Turnpike Roads to Banbury