As well as the turnpike milestones on the road to Otley, another set of stones on the same road is extremely interesting and unique in the county. There is no word to accurately call them by. They are often referred to as mileposts as they show distances, in miles and furlongs. But they occur at road junctions rather than at one-mile intervals. Here we call them guide-stones, as they list many nearby places. But although places are listed in a logical sequence they do not appear to show actual directions.
The places named are often towns and villages, but more frequently they are individual buildings, especially churches – around ten of these – and other landmarks.
Some towns beyond the area are mentioned, once: Bradford, Ilkley, Skipton. Otley is named once, and its church on four stones. Leeds itself is not named, but Leeds Bridge, the ultimate end of the turnpike, is listed on eight stones. Other villages named, both on the line of the road and off it, include Burley, Chapeltown, Meanwood, Old Bramhope and Tinshill, again usually just once.
More common than the actual villages, however, are their churches, of which 15 are named, from Addingham to Yeadon. Other landmarks include Otley Chevin (spelt as a rather Germanic Schevin), Pool Bank, Woodhouse Moor; also Bolton Bridge (near Bolton Abbey) and other bridges at Horsforth, Kirkstall and Leeds. Some houses of local bigwigs are named, though the average traveller was probably not heading for them: Arthington Hall, Cookridge Hall and Kirskill Hall. The last-named is now known as Creskeld Hall, and has featured as a location in Emmerdale and other TV programmes. Adel School is listed, sometimes in preference to its notable Norman Church.
Arthington Station is named on several stones, as is Carr Bridge Station. These stations, part of the original Leeds and Thirsk Railway, now the Harrogate Line, opened in 1849. The name Carr Bridge Station appears to have been very short-lived: the Ordnance Survey map published in 1851 refers to it as Horsforth Station, and the bridge (over Moseley Beck) is called Horsforth Bridge. An official accident report of 1849 refers to the station as “Carr Bridge or Horsforth Station” and the accompanying plan names the bridge as Carr Bridge. The name survives in a couple of nearby, much more recent streets, Carr Bridge Avenue and Carr Bridge View. [Not to be confused with Carrbridge in Perthshire, whose station did not open until 1892.]
Another transport-related destination was Carlton Bar: the old turnpike went through Carlton township, and the bar and toll-house were at the crossroads with the Dudley Hill – Killinghall road.
The stones are large, with anything up to ten places named, such as one opposite the (currently closed) Dyneley Arms – pictured. This has the destinations listed on just the front, but others have places listed on two sides One of these, for example, can be found near the church in Bramhope: it has four on the front, facing the road, and four more on the right-hand side facing up Church Hill. There are also places where two stones can be found on opposite sides of the road, facing each other; an example is in Bramhope at the crossroads with Breary Lane.
Thus the second stone at the Breary lane crossroads lists, all south and west down Breary Lane:
- Bramhope Cross
- Old Bramhope + (ie Cross)
- Otley Schevin
- Carlton Bar
- Guiseley Church
and all north up Breary Lane:
- Kirkskill Hall
- Arthington Hall
- Castley Ford Lane
- Arthington Station
The peculiar thing about all these stones is that there appears to be no indication of the direction the traveller needs to take to reach the place named. There is, however, a certain logic to it: places are listed in roughly increasing distance, first towards Otley, and then towards Leeds. Where there is a pair of stones this is at a crossroads; one stone will list destinations on the main road, and the other destinations on the minor road. Thus the second stone at the Breary lane crossroads lists:
Places in Adel are named on eight stones. The school is on four; this is presumably the small building marked ‘Village School’ on the Ordnance Survey map of 1851, and actually on the turnpike road. A brick yard is on two: White’s 1853 directory of Leeds lists a Samuel Whitaker, brick and tile maker, and the OS map shows a tile yard in an area now occupied by housing. The beautiful Norman church is mentioned on only one, as is the bridge, about one third of as mile beyond the church over the relatively insignificant Adel Beck.
Since the stones are sited in all the townships through which the road passed they are unlikely to have been put up by the townships, and we presume that they were the brainchild of the Turnpike Trust. Sources (Wikipedia and others) indicate that the mileposts were erected in 1850, but without specifying which type is meant. This is probably true for the so-called “tombstone” guide-stones since they cannot have been earlier than 1849 (the date of the stations), and the guide-stones do not appear on the first OS maps (based on surveys begun in 1847). The turnpike milestones are shown, however, and were probably in position when the road opened in 1842.
RWH / Jan 2022