The launch of the Trail

The Toll House is the most distinctive house in this part of the village. Its porch sticks out onto the pavement so that the toll keeper had a good view of any traffic on the road. Notice that the chimney for the porch is right above the main door.

The exact date of the building is not known and is assumed to have been built in the early 19th century. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1791 to allow tolls to be charged on both the Balfron to Glasgow road and the Killearn to Finnich Toll road. Tolls were charged until 1881. During that time there was a gate across Balfron Road and there was also a weighbridge for weighing vehicles (to establish the correct toll due) in front of the Toll House. The collection of tolls was ‘let’ with advertisements placed in the Glasgow papers and prospective collectors bidding for the contract. Presumably the contracts went to the lowest bidder.

Several people mill around in an otherwise deserted Killearn Main Street in the early 20th Century
Looking from the Kirk towards the Toll House. Notice the children walking in the road and the butcher standing outside his shop. (From the All Killearn Archive collection.)

There used to be a carved stone sign on the Toll House wall listing the charges but by 1932 it had weathered so badly that it was not possible to preserve it. The current sign (erected in 202) reproduces the charges that were made in 1841, as they were recorded in the Minute Book of the Turnpike Trust. This is the earliest date for which the charges are known. At that point the charges were as follows:

For every Horse or Beast of draught drawing any Coach, Barouche, Berlin, Chariot, Chaise, Calash, Chair, Hearse, or other such carriage, or any Stage Coach, Long Coach, or Diligence, or carriage of a like kind, the sum of sixpence.

For every Horse or Beast of draught drawing any two wheeled van, caravan, waggon, wain, cart, or other such carriage, and where any such carriage and the loading thereof taken to-gether shall not exceed twenty-five hundredweight imperial, the sum of sixpence

and

For every hundredweight or part of a hundredweight which such carriage with the loading thereof shall weigh above twenty-five hundredweight, the sum of twopence

and

For every van, caravan, waggon, wain, cart, or other such carriage drawn on more than two wheels if not more than one Horse or Beast of draught is drawing the same, the sum of sixpence.

For every Horse or other Beast of draught that shall be drawing the same more than one, the sum of eightpence.

For every coach, carriage, waggon, or other conveyance whatever drawn or propelled otherwise than by animal power, when such a carriage with the loading thereof, and Engine or other power drawing or propelling the same taken to-gether shall not exceed twenty hundredweight imperial, the sum of two shillings

and

For every hundredweight imperial which such carriage with the loading thereof, and Engine or other power drawing or propelling the same taken to-gether shall exceed twenty hundredweight, the sum of twopence.

For every horse or mule laden or unladen and not drawing, the sum of twopence.

For every ass laden or unladen and not drawing the sum of one penny.

For every head of oxen or neat cattle the sum of one penny.

For every head of calves, hogs, sheep, lambs, or goats the sum of one halfpenny.

For horses or fillies unshod, one penny per head.

Glossary of unfamiliar vehicles in the toll notice

Coach: a large, closed, four-wheel carriage.

Barouche: a double-seated, four-wheeled carriage with a falling or folding top.

Berlin: an old-fashioned, four-wheeled covered carriage with a seat behind covered with a hood.

Chariot: a four-wheeled pleasure or State carriage.

Chaise: a light, one-horse open carriage for one or more persons.

Curricle: a two-wheeled open carriage drawn by two horses.

Calash: a light, low-wheeled carriage with a folding top.

Chair: a portable covered vehicle for carrying one person.

Diligence: a French or continental stage-coach.

Wain: a wagon, especially in farm use.

After the tolls were abolished in 1881, the Toll House became the property of Stirlingshire Council, and for many years it was occupied by the Road Surfaceman for the area. The Council then sold the building and it is now a private house. It is a listed building