Mile-posts on the Harrogate to Ripon Road

This eleven mile piece of road (now the A61) was originally part of the Harrogate, Hewick, Ripon and Pateley Bridge United Turnpike which was an amalgamation of two Trusts in 1852.  Hewick to Pateley Bridge is the current B6265 which also runs eastwards through Boroughbridge to join the A59 at Green Hammerton.  

Harrogate had developed and grown throughout the 19th century because of its spa waters. What had been a small village was taking precedence over nearby Knaresborough with its castle.  Killinghall was at the end of the Dudley Hill (Bradford) and Killinghall Turnpike, at its junction with the Harrogate to Ripon one.

Although the West Riding extended to the north of Ripon the mileposts on this route are different to those found virtually all over the old County Council area. They do not have the backing stone but are cast in a simple V shape. The inscription is rather elegant. The places names with serifs on the letters curve round the numbers and a prominent raised hand points the way on each side.  On the top triangle is the distance to Leeds, with the mileages to Harrogate and Ripon and pointing hands on the two sides.  Underneath these, on both sides, is the name of the iron-founder: J Ingram / Maker / Ripon / 1822.  These details are not visible on all the mile-posts, but are clear on the one illustrated (picture by Christine Minto).

James Ingram is listed as a brass and iron founder in Baines’ 1822 directory, working in Kirkgate, Ripon.  The foundry was actually down Peacock’s Passage.  This was a very narrow covered ginnel between nos 13 and 15 Kirkgate (which leads from the Market Place to the Cathedral).  Ingram was born in 1773, and descendants (presumably) of his are listed at the same address in trade directories later in the century: John George in 1866 (White’s), and William in 1881 (Kelly’s).

Maybe the mile-posts were still in good condition when the County Councils were formed 60-odd years later and the prudent West Riding Highways and Finance Committees didn’t want to spend more than was necessary and replace them.

There is a good run of these posts with only the 7 and 9 miles from Harrogate 9 missing, while the 3-mile post, near the bridge over the River Nidd, is a modern replica.  When the Ripon bypass was built the 10-mile post was relocated near the traffic island. near the bridge over the River Nidd.

Source: a revised version of an article from the Milestone Society’s On the Ground, No. 5 September 2008, p 12.

RWH / August 2020

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