The Parish Council would like to thank local resident Jeremy Daw for the time and dedication taken to write the below article and for restoring the Milepost for future generations to enjoy:
I have a keen interest in history especially local history and I noticed this iron milepost near the Hereford Garrison main gates. The milepost dates from around 1840 and was slowly being smothered by road debris and foliage and at some point would be lost to view.
After some research I found out that all these old mileposts and milestones are grade 2 listed monuments and come under the care of the County Council highways department. Unfortunately, not much attention or money has been spent on the care and upkeep of these important monuments. They may not look very interesting to the passing traveller these days but when they were set up they were very important.
Most of the stone mile markers date from around the 1700’s and the iron posts to the 1800’s.
Soon after the civil war in the 17th century it became apparent that transport and communications links in Britain were extremely poor. In winter time whole towns and communities could be completely isolated for weeks if not months. The government did not have the money or resources to maintain the roads so a vast system of toll roads called ’Turnpikes’ were established. These ‘Turnpike Trusts’ were run by groups of local (mostly ‘well-to-do’) people who were allowed by an act of parliament to adopt a section of road, set up barriers, charge road user to use it, and in turn use the money to improve and maintain that section of road. This was before canals or railways.
This Turnpike roads were remarkable successful. You could get on a stagecoach in Hereford (albeit very early in the morning) and get to London the same evening. Many businesses, banks, solicitors and doctors relocated themselves to Hereford due to the improved transport system. Many wealthy landowners also felt that Hereford was the place to be to be able to conduct their business. There are many elegant town houses built by these people that can still be seen today, in St Owens Street for example.
I found a registered charity that attempts to care for and maintain mileposts called the ‘Milestone Society’, they have a very interesting web site. I also contacted the relevant authorities and asked for, and was granted, permission to clear the debris from the Credenhill milepost and to clean and repaint it using the Milestone Society guidelines and recommendations. It was very labour intensive but the results were well worth it. You can also see the makers mark on the base of it, ‘C Hodges and son, Hereford Foundry’, which was located in Friars Street. After being rescued from obscurity, this important reminder of the history of Herefordshire once again stands proud on the roadside.
I think you will agree that Jeremy has done a fantastic job!