Dungeon Wood Toll House, Lockwood

The Dungeon Wood Toll House or Dungeon Toll House was originally situated on the Lockwood and Meltham Turnpike, between Lockwood Viaduct and the access road to Dungeon Mill.


The original toll house was erected following the formation of the Lockwood and Meltham Turnpike Trust by an Act of Parliament in May 1818.

The 1851 Census records that 63-year-old Abraham Binns of Bingley was the toll collector and resided at the toll house with his wife Rose (58) and their grandchildren Sarah Haigh (14) and Oliver Haigh (8). By 1861, widower Joseph Hall (41) of Emley was the toll gate keeper, residing with his daughters Jane (12) and Elizabeth (8), and also his mother Ellen (72). In 1871, the toll bar keeper was widower Benjamin Woodcock (69) of Manchester.

The construction of the Meltham Branch Line through Dungeon Wood in 1865/66 resulted in several landslips, including one in February 1866 which caused the turnpike near Dungeon to become unstable:[1]

Slip of Foundations at Lockwood — The occupants of the houses on the roadside at Dungeon, abutting the fields occupied by Mr. Haigh and others, have been alarmed for several days by the jeopardy in which their dwelling-houses have been placed. In some of the inner walls of the houses cracks and fissures half an inch in width have appeared, while the doors which before shut easily, have had to be altered in order to make them close as before. The toll-house at Dungeon bar has suffered greatly, the collector and others consider it unsafe to remain within. Both gable ends, as well as the front walls have opened, and there are large crevices in the adjoining ground.

A further landslip in October 1866 caused the road to collapse as a horse and cab was passing over, although the horse was able to escape without injury. The Chronicle reported that the original toll house had remained uninhabited since the previous slip — the toll bar keeper instead using a temporary wooden hut[2] — and the building was left in this precarious state until the following February before being relocated:[3]

Dungeon Toll Bar — The Dungeon Toll Bar has just been removed from its old and dangerous site to a safe and eligible position ninety yards nearer Lockwood. The old toll house continues to jut outwards, and it is expected to soon fall. The road is still sinking, and materials have constantly to be deposited to fill up the excavation.

In May 1869, the Lockwood Local Board wrote to the Borough Surveyor requesting that Turnpike Trust remove the "old toll-bar house at Dungeon, it being in a dangerous condition." However, before the Trust could take any action, some of the locals seemingly took matters into their own hands:[4]

The Old Bar-House — For some months past the "old house at home," as the lads of Dungeon had denominated the abandoned and dilapidated tollbar-house at that place, has been fast falling to decay, and week by week some portion of the front has fallen down, until the building became dangerous to passers by. The railway company has been solicited, and the Huddersfield Town Council had been memorialised, with regard to the dangerous state of the building, but no steps for the protection of the public were taken. The old building has now disappeared, and the place is now fenced. It seems that on Thursday night week, a number of mischievous lads determined upon a lark, the consummation of which was the destruction of the neglected bar-house. Accordingly they battered down a few of the remaining stone which supported the roof, and, these being removed, the whole building fell with a crash into the field of Mr. Haigh.

What remained of the ruins were then cleared by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, who had become liable for both the toll house and Dungeon Cottages following the landslips that had occurred during the construction of the branch line.[5]

The forming of Huddersfield Corporation in 1868 meant that tolls could no longer be collected by Trusts within the boundary of the incorporated borough, which included Lockwood, and the Corporation became responsible for the upkeep of the roads within their boundary. The Trust accordingly moved the toll gate into South Crosland in August 1871:[6]

Removal of the Dungeon Wood Tollgate — On Tuesday, workmen were engaged in removing the Dungeon Wood toll-bar to a new position, beyond the limits of the borough of Huddersfield. The new position is at the bottom of the Big Valley, near the junction of the roads from Netherton to Huddersfield, and the former place to Armitage Bridge. The removal of the bar is one of the results of the recently obtained Improvement Bill by the Huddersfield Corporation. During the progress of removal many persons expressed a desire to know when a similar fate would befall the Lockwood bar, and also hoped the Corporation would not be partial in its action, but would compel the removal of every toll-gate to beyond the limits of the borough.


The location of the original toll house is shown below and was close to the location of the surviving milestone, as recorded on the 1854 Yorkshire 260 O.S. map:

1867 Relocation

If the report that the toll house was moved around 90 yards nearer to Lockwood in early 1867 are correct, then the approximate location would be near to the current bus stop before Lockwood Viaduct.

Notes and References

  1. Huddersfield Chronicle (10/Feb/1866).
  2. "Another Land Slip" in Huddersfield Chronicle (24/Nov/1866).
  3. Huddersfield Chronicle (02/Mar/1867).
  4. Huddersfield Chronicle (29/May/1869).
  5. "Meeting of the Town Council" in Huddersfield Chronicle (26/Jun/1869).
  6. Huddersfield Chronicle (02/Sep/1871).