A Review of The Resort of All Amorous Couples – Thomas Telford’s Toll-house at Alison’s Bank, Gretna

By V.E.Weighill  Published 2021 ISBN 978-I-80049-000-0

The tollhouse at Alison’s Bank, Gretna, long preceded the Old Blacksmith’s Forge in solumnising matrimony for those fleeing from England, where ‘clandestine’ marriages had been outlawed in 1753. Built in 1820 to Telford’s design, the tollhouse was the first house north of the border, the River Sark, on his Glasgow - Carlisle road. The marriage trade became a very lucrative business for the tollkeepers and their families, rivalling the area’s past illicit smuggling activities.

Working from original sources, the author traces in meticulously-researched detail the occupants, the owners and some of the thousands of the mostly working-class grooms with their intended brides. The fascinating story of the tollhouse also reflects the social and economic upheavals of Britain over more than 200 years.

The volume of 192 pages is copiously illustrated with maps, estate plans and photographs past and present. It is available from the author price £12.50 (£11.50 to Milestone Society members) + £2 p&p; email valerieweighill@yahoo.co.uk. Or pick up a copy from the tollhouse café!
Reviewed by Jan Scrine

Gretna book


A Survey of Historic Parks and Gardens in Worcestershire
Written by Richard Lockett and edited, compiled and designed by Jane Patton
Hereford and Worcester Gardens Trust, 2019

This second edition of a Survey first published in 1997, contains over two hundred illustrations in addition to 250 maps and plans. It highlights 226 of the County’s historic Parks and Gardens in the context of planning development, from medieval Deer Parks to major sites conserved in recent years such as Croome Court, Hagley Hall, Hanbury Hall and Hartlebury Castle, along with traditional amenity spaces such as bowling greens.

Available from the Trust at £25.00, post and packing £4

Cheques payable to: Hereford and Worcester Gardens Trust

Email: maggiharriss@gmail.com

An image of the front cover of tthe book "A Survey of Historic Parks and Gardens in Worcestershire"

Historic Worcester Streets

Award-winning Barbourne author Terry Wardle undertook his own six-year journey to uncover the secrets of Worcester’s roads from the earliest records up to 1940. The result is "Historic Worcester Streets", an A4 paperback giving details of 608 street names, copiously illustrated. Full of fascinating tales of days gone by, it is available from local booksellers and Amazon, £18.99. [photo: Worcester Observer 2014]

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