Littleborough’s History



In the early 18th Century there was concern that poor quality roads were holding back the UK’s development with the result that a network of Toll Roads operated by Turnpike Trusts were introduced for long distance journeys. Trusts obtained Acts of Parliament which enabled them to build and repair roads and collect tolls from users at Toll Houses and Bars (or Gates). Mile posts were provided and relevant tolls were displayed. Tolls generally varied by animal and vehicle with the width of tyre being important – the narrower the tyre the higher the toll as indicated on the Toll Board (right) now located in the History Centre. Inhabitant of parishes through which the Turnpike passed still had to provide Statute Labour to help to repair the road (and other roads) or pay a fee, a requirement not abolished until 1835.

 All Turnpikes were abolished by Act of Parliament in 1883. Whilst tolls are no longer collected many of the old Toll Roads shown on the adjacent map (right) remain in use to this day.

More details on the Public Houses and Inns referred to in the following pages are included in “A History of Littleborough Pubs” now at a special price of £6.99

Acknowledgement is given to Mr A Rosevear and his website for his assistance and provision of details and clarification; to “A Lancashire Lion” by James L Maxim; to West York's Archaeological Services, Report on the Blackstone Edge ‘Roman Road’, To Halifax Antiquarian Society – papers by J H Priestley 1952 & 1953 and to Pennine Turnpike by Gledhill 1952.

Updated February 2019

Map of roads based on Open Street Map


Most of the main roads in use today were once Turnpike Toll Roads. Those in and around Littleborough and their dates were:

1. 1734 Blackstone Edge Turnpike – Old and New Roads covered Smallbridge (later Rochdale) to Halifax;

2. 1759 Whitelees to Doghills (Dean Head) via Calderbrook;

3. 1777 (road completed by 1786) Dean Head (Doghills) to Todmorden;

4. 1824 Steanor Bottom to Littleborough - Todmorden Road Turnpike;

Other Toll Roads:

Hollingworth Private Road;

Hollingworth to Rakewood Road;

Hollingworth Lake track;

Mr Entwistle’s Road;

The Society has published a report detailing current knowledge on all local turnpike roads revealed by our investigations are included with the Booklet:-

Littleborough’s History

 Turnpike and other Toll Roads in and around Littleborough

 by Bernard Pratt

Available from the History Centre priced £3.50 ea