1775 - Turnpike Road

The Kimbolton Road Act 1755, a private Act in the reign of George II, established a Trust to operate a Turnpike (Toll) road between the North End of Brown's Lane in Great Staughton to a way post by the bridge at Wellingborough, via Higham Ferrers.

The original Act lasted 21 years (in common with most other Turnpike Acts), but was continually extended by successive Acts (1774, 1798, 1819, 1857 & 1876), usually with increased powers for tolls.

The Kimbolton Turnpike Trust in 1836 records a Benjamin Welstead as the Treasurer and William Day (solicitor) of St Neots as the Clerk and by 1840 it controlled 24 miles of toll road (including braches) with 3 main tollgates and 1 branch or side gate.

However the Trust often borrowed money to finance repairs to the roads, wages, etc. and the accounts for 1834 show the Trust's debts were £4,578, whilst the income was only £758.

The arrival of the railways hastened the demise of toll roads in general and the private Act was allowed to expire in 1887. The following year the Local Government Act 1888 passed control of the remaining turnpike roads to the County Councils.

The road became the A45 (Birmingham to Ipswich) from 1923 until 1994 when the new A14 took over as the main route between the Midlands and the Haven ports, after which it was downgraded to the B645.

The tollkeeper's (aka pikekeeper's) house that served the Hargrave Gate still remains beside the B645 next to the junction with Church Lane, Hargrave (now called Turnpike Cottage).