The Bolney Tollhouse was an octagonal building between Hickstead and Bolney crossroads on the east side of the road (see inset photo below). Its location being so close to Hickstead that might suggest that it was a replacement for the gate there, which we will feature shortly.
According to Rev Cooper's' A history of the parish of Cuckfield' of 1912 (P183):
An Act (6) passed in 1825 by George IV for improving road repairs between Brighton and Crawley via Cuckfield and the turnpike at Bolney started in 1808 and repealed in 1876.
Another curious snippet from this book:
The Turnpike Trustees were empowered to take land and road materials from commons without any compensation, though they had to make any pits safe for passengers and cattle. They could also take lands and materials under an order of justice from any owner whose property lay in a parish through which the road passed, but satisfaction must be given under award. They were to measure the road and set up milestones and direction posts, and to make fences, walls, or quickset hedges.
The map reference for its original location is TQ 265215. And, as it was not located at a crossroads, it would have controlled a single gate across the turnpike.
Dr Brian Austen in his series of articles in Journal of the Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society in 2011, suggested that it may have been relocated because the Castle Inn, which would have provided fresh coach horses, objected to the presence of a toll gate so nearby. More on this when we consider the Hickstead tollhouse. The Bolney gate does not appear on early surveys of the road but can be found on the Bolney tithe award map of 1842 on a site 'of five perches' (125 sq metres).
The house was stuccoed and the windows had gothic heads. The roof was slated and had a single central chimney stack. By the 1930s it had a small wooden front porch with lattice sides.
It was very much in the style of the cottage ornée so liked in the Regency period. The house survived in its original location until c1990 when alterations to the A23, which we now regularly travel down, led its demolition.
Today a lodge to Eastland House
It was re-erected as a lodge to Eastland Park, along Warninglid Lane (the Warninglid to Horsham road) leading to Plummers Plain (B2114). It's on the west side of the road.
It was built in the 1990s at the time of the demolition of the toll house on the A23. Was it faithfully rebuilt brick-by-brick (without the porch) or a delightful and nostalgic replica? The turnpike was wound up on 1 November 1876 and the tollhouse was probably then used as a private residence until its relocation to Warninglid.
Contributed by Malcolm Davison.
Based on the comprehensive research by Dr Brian Austen in: ‘Turnpikes To Brighton’ P39 in Sussex Industrial History, Journal of the Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society, No 41, 2011 http://sias2.pastfinder.org.uk/sih_1970_2008/41-2011.pdf
'A History of Crawley' by Peter Gwynne, Chichester 1990 (p94)
'A history of the parish of Cuckfield' by Rev James Hughes Cooper, 1912
Photograph of Bolney tollhouse c.1940 (Sussex Archaeological Society)
Photograph of Eastland House lodge, by the author.
Location map by Malcolm Davison. Map data with open database licence from openstreetmap.org. Copyright link.