The Long Compton ‘Gas Lamp’ Mileposts

by Robert Caldicott

Two of the posts are listed by English Heritage. The first was north of Tredington at Grid Ref. SP2535 4536 but was damaged some years ago and is now in private storage. The other, almost complete except for wooden direction board, is north of Broadmoor Lodge near Little Wolford at SP26456 36203, and was listed as a result of my application to English Heritage. The listing text says that it was “erected c. 1825”. When asked for the evidence for that date, English Heritage referred me to an Act of 1825 for “for repairing the Road from Bridgetown in the County of Warwick to the Top of Long Compton Hill in the same County, and a certain other road in the Counties of Warwick, Worcester and Gloucester and for making a new Branch of Road from the Village of Long Compton aforesaid, into the Turnpike Road leading from Long Compton Hill to Woodstock in the County of Oxford”

I have obtained a copy of the Act from Parliamentary Archives. It goes into great detail over many things, but does NOT mention mileposts OR milestones anywhere! However it does mark changes in the route and length of the Turnpike, so new mileposts could well have been part of what was done. No evidence though!

I have twice read through all six Minutes and Accounts Books of the Stratford on Avon to Long Compton Turnpike Trust in Warwick Record Office and apart for entries such as that in July 1771 “Paid Wm. Clark the Balance of a Bill for digging of Stones at the Milestone in Newbold Field….”, the only direct and specific reference is in a Minute dated 13th March 1790, “Ordered that Triangular Mile Posts be set up along the road with two iron plates to each of them setting forth the distance from London and Oxford” This obviously does not describe the mileposts in question, and I have not found any other helpful mention of them. At least we can say they are later than 1790. There is some material in Gloucester Record Office which I have yet to look at.

I sent a photo of a post to The Victoria and Albert Museum for dating, and they reported “the acanthus leaf decoration would suggest a Regency or George IV dating and therefore made between c. 1800-1830. This is judgement on stylistic grounds which can only be fairly imprecise”

It is a fine mystery so far, and our next plan is to write to all the local History Groups and Societies in the hope that someone has been here before and come up with an answer.

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