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History and Recollections

Janet Dandy
Published in 1985 By Carnegie Press Copyright © Janet Dandy
Reproduced for reference only


In the Middle Ages the roads were muddy tracks full of ruts or dusty tracks, which made travelling very difficult. Seldom were they fenced, so they tended to get very wide.

In 1771 an Act of Parliament enabled the formation of the Liverpool to Preston Turnpike Trust. The petition had been supported by townships all along the route which was described as 'the Great Northern Road from Liverpool to the Northern parts of the Kingdom [which] is, from the narrowness thereof in many places, the nature of the soil, & the many carriages of Burthen passing thereon, become very deep and ruinous & almost impassable'.

The Toll Gate was across the road at Wingate Corner (the new road to Southport had not been constructed), and the Toll House was on the north side of the road. The next toll gate was at Bretherton, near Carr House. Farmers journeying from Sollom to Preston could bypass the Wingate Toll by travelling along Back Lane, entering at Sollom and joining the main road opposite Oak Cottage.

In 1774 the first Liverpool to Preston coach passed through.

An old picture postcard of Hesketh Lane, Tarleton. This lane used to be the route for travellers wishing to use the old crossing over the Ribble at Hesketh Bank
Hesketh Lane, Tarleton

A toll board found at Bank Cottage states:

'A man a halfpenny, a horse a penny. Double horse two pence, a cart four pence. A coach a shilling besides every man and horse.'

Southport New Road was constructed in 1928.

Before the railway from Preston to Southport was opened, people wishing to travel to Preston from Tarleton had the choice of:

  • Walking to Croston Railway Station via the Crossfords, i.e. the Carriage Drive and Back Lane in Bretherton
  • By carrier's cart, once or twice a week
  • Use their own traps and go by road.

The roads were not tar-macadam, and got very dusty in the summer, so the dust cart went along sprinkling water to allay the dust.

The following is an extract from Tarleton Parish Magazine, written by Rev. Fosse about 1945.

Coe Lane. 'We are old fashioned enough to regret the passing of the one country lane that our village possesses. Unlit from end to end with a good road surface, without side paths and edged with stately trees and hawthorn hedges, it was the ideal country lane. Now, alas, it will be no different than any other road in Tarleton or elsewhere. Cupid, who has haunted it so long, will find a more attractive trysting place, and its pristine beauty will become the background of many an old wives' tale'.


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