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 at the beginning, with 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. Six were restored by The Milestone Society in 2017 with the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant. Four of them 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 six 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.

Unfortunately Storm Eunice in February 2022 caused damage to two posts, and we are now fundraising to restore them.

After the 2017 restoration a seventh post came to light, adorning a private garden in Kenilworth, and the owner very kindly gave it to The Milestone Society for restoration in 2019. It was finally returned to its historically correct site in June 2023, and more information about it can be found on its page ‘Honington Milepost’.