The Stratford upon Avon to Long Compton Turnpike and its unique cast iron Mileposts

Among the many tasks defined by the Turnpike Acts was the provision of roadside mile markers, usually stone in the first place, with the carved information of destination and distance, and then stones with cast-iron plates bolted to them, carrying the information. Finally, when the technology allowed it, markers were wholly cast iron. It gave designers the freedom to incorporate decorative designs of all sorts.

At some time, and we still do not know exactly when, the Stratford to Long Compton Turnpike Trustees installed a series of tall, lamp-post like mileposts, ornately cast with acanthus leaf mouldings and arms, dated by the Victoria & Albert Museum to “between 1810 and 1840”. The arms were designed to support large boards, easily visible to passing traffic, bearing distances to towns in each direction. They are nationally unique, and the survivors were restored by The Milestone Society in 2017 with the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant.

Four were still in position, in varying states of dilapidation, and two others were known, one completely shattered after an encounter with hedge cutting machinery (the nemesis of many a milestone). All of the survivors were restored by a specialist and returned to their original positions along the highway, providing guidance and information to passers by, as they had been doing for so long. Historic England listed all six as a group at Grade II.

Since the restoration a seventh post has come to light, adorning a private garden in Kenilworth, and the owner has very kindly given it to The Milestone Society for restoration (2019). An historically correct site has been found for it, and more information will be posted here later.