Wakefield and Austerlands Turnpike Road

The route from Oldham to the county boundary at Austerlands (Saddleworth) was turnpiked after the granting of an Act in 1735. It was then joined circa 1760 by the Wakefield and Austerlands Turnpike, which passed through Huddersfield.

An ingroſſed Bill for repairing and widening the Road from Wakefield, through the Townſhips of Horbury, Netherton, Overton, Lepton, Almondbury, Huddersfield, Marſden, and Saddleworth, to Auſterlands, in the Weſt Riding of the County of York; was read for the Third time.
Journals of the House of Commons, 27 March 1759

Leeds Intelligencer (21/Jun/1763)

The bulk of the first turnpike from Huddersfield to Austerlands followed the route of existing tracks and roads[1], with the Act empowering the Turnpike Trust to lay down a more hard-wearing surface and to widen the route were necessary. Civil engineer John Metcalf — better known as Blind Jack of Knaresborough or Blind Jack Metcalf — undertook the construction of the road, including the laying of a stable surface across half a mile of boggy land to the west of Thieves Bridge near Marsden.

A subsequent Act was granted in 1777 which saw improvements to the route:

  • a new road from Oldham to Austerlands, replacing the earlier Greenacres Road
  • a new road from Austerlands to the east of Delph (now the A62 Huddersfield/Oldham Road), replacing the earlier route along Thorpe Lane to Delph Lane
  • a new road from Standedge Foot which ran to the south of Redbrook Reservoir and avoided passing through the centre of Marsden by approaching along Mount Road, replacing the former route which took a more northerly route across Thieves Bridge and descended into Marsden along what is now Old Mount Road

This latter section was constructed first, again by John Metcalf, with the other sections completed circa 1815, by which time the Turnpike Trust had begun drawing up plans for further changes.

A third Act granted in 1820 saw the building of the current route, with the following major changes:

  • a new road between near Bleak Hey Nook and Marsden, which initially took a more southerly route before swinging north to take a more level route around the northern side of Pule Hill
  • a new road between Marsden and Huddersfield (now the A62 Manchester Road), replacing the earlier route that climbed from Marsden to Holt Head (along Chain Road) and then approached Huddersfield via Blackmoorfoot, Longroyd Bridge and Outcote Bank

In 1840, the Parliamentary Commissioners for Inquiring into the State of the Roads in England and Wales reported the following details of the road:

  • 27 miles 598 yards with 11 toll-gates
  • "The general condition of the road is good, and no part under indictment for want of repair."
  • "The whole of the road is repaired by the trustees."
  • "...we beg to observe that, although the present income of the road is not affected by railways, we expect that, so soon as the Manchester and Leeds Railway is opened, a considerable amount of traffic on this road, west of Huddersfield, will be taken therefrom by the railway, and the securities may then be affected thereby. And they also may then be affected by the abolition of statute labour to the amount stated in our Answer to the Seventh Question [£500 to £600 per annum], if, by reason of such loss of traffic, the income of the trust should prove inadequate to the payment of the interest on the securities, in addition to the other outgoings."

The Act expired on 1 November 1882 and the Turnpike Trust was wound up.

The tollhouses at Milnsbridge[2] and at Marsden were sold at auction on 30 November:[3]


LOT 1. All that Valuable FREEHOLD GOTHIC BUILDING, situate at Spring Mill, Milnsbridge, and recently used as a Tollhouse, with the Outbuildings adjoining thereto. The House contains living room, bedroom, kitchen, and coal place on the ground floor, with outbuildings in enclosed yard. The Building is substantially erected, in good repair, and situated in a neighbourhood where tenants can be readily obtained.

LOT 2. Also the BUILDING MATERIALS, comprising the old Tollhouse, situate at Marsden, and lately occupied by Widow Garside, consisting, outside and inside, Wallstones, Grey Slates, Flags, Fixtures, Flooring, &c.

Toll Points

The toll points that lay within the Parishes of Almondbury, Huddersfield and Kirkheaton from west to east are recorded on the 1854 O.S. map as follows.

Austonley towards Huddersfield
Huddersfield towards Wakefield

An earlier toll house survives on Rowley Lane suggesting that the original turnpike route meandered through Lepton but was later replaced with a more direct new road (Wakefield Road).


The milestones that lay within the Parishes of Almondbury, Huddersfield and Kirkheaton from west to east are recorded on the 1854 O.S. map as follows.[4]

Austonley towards Huddersfield
  • Huddersfield 9 / Manchester 15 — at Gilberts Toll Point, Rebrook, Marsden
  • Huddersfield 8 / Manchester 16 — near Owlers, northwest side of Pule Hill, Marsden
  • Huddersfield 7 / Manchester 17 — at Clough Head, Marsden — this appears to have been replaced by 1906 with a mile post erected by Brayshaw & Booth of Liversedge which reads "HUDDERSFIELD 7 MILES. OLDHAM 10½ MILES." and is situated nearer to Huddersfield
  • Huddersfield 6 / Manchester 18 — near to Stubbing, Marsden and removed by 1906
  • Huddersfield 5 / Manchester 19 — near to Blue Bell, Lingards and removed by 1906
  • Huddersfield 4 / Manchester 20 — Linthwaite
  • Huddersfield 3 / Manchester 21 — above Low Westwood Bridge, Linthwaite
Huddersfield towards Wakefield
  • Huddersfield 1 / Wakefield 12 — just beyond Almondbury Road junction, Dalton, later moved further away from Huddersfield
  • Huddersfield 2 / Wakefield 11 — Greenside, Dalton, later moved nearer to the Waterloo junction
  • Huddersfield 3 / Wakefield 10 — Cowmes, Lepton
  • Huddersfield 4 / Wakefield 9 — near Lepton Cross, Lepton
  • Huddersfield 5 / Wakefield 8 — near Lepton Edge, Lepton
  • Huddersfield 6 / Wakefield 7 — near the Kayes Arms Inn, Whitley Upper
  • Huddersfield 7 / Wakefield 6 — near Overton, Whitley Upper


Huddersfield to Austerlands

The western section between Austerlands and Huddersfield is shown below, based on O.S. maps and the description contained in Huddersfield Highways Down the Ages (1949):

  • First Turnpike (1759) — red
  • Second Turnpike (1777) — green
  • Third Turnpike (1820) — blue

Huddersfield to Wakefield

The eastern section between Huddersfield and Wakefield is shown below, based roughly on the 1854 O.S. maps of the route.

The existence of a toll house on Rowley Lane, Lepton, shows that the original turnpike took a more meandering route from Huddersfield. Jefferys' Map of Yorkshire (1771) suggests that the original route was: Huddersfield, Moldgreen, Almondbury Bank to Almondbury, Fenay Lane to Fenay Bridge, Highgate Lane to Lepton, then onwards to Horbury and Wakefield. It is believed that this route was replaced with the construction of the new Wakefield Road circa 1777.

See Also...

Further Reading

  1. According to Huddersfield Highways Down the Ages (1949) by W.B. Crump. Writing in the Saddleworth Historical Society Bulletin (Spring 1999), Eric Watson suggests that Crump's description of the three turnpike routes may contain errors.
  2. This tollhouse is not marked on the available O.S. maps.
  3. "Sales by Auction" in Huddersfield Chronicle (25/Nov/1882).
  4. It seems that none of the original milestones have survived.