Swinford Toll Bridge

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Swinford Toll Bridge
Oxfordeynsham5.JPG
Coordinates51°46′29″N 1°21′35″W / 51.7746°N 1.3596°W / 51.7746; -1.3596Coordinates: 51°46′29″N 1°21′35″W / 51.7746°N 1.3596°W / 51.7746; -1.3596
CarriesB4044 road
CrossesRiver Thames
LocaleEynsham, Oxfordshire
Characteristics
MaterialStone
Height14 feet 9 inches (4.50 m)
History
Opened1769
Statistics
Toll£0.05 per car (& others for larger traffic)
Location

Swinford Toll Bridge is a privately owned toll bridge across the Thames in Oxfordshire, England. It crosses the river just above Eynsham Lock, between the village of Eynsham on the north-west bank and the hamlet of Swinford on the south-east bank (in Berkshire until 1974). It carries the B4044 between Oxford and Eynsham, which was the A40 road until the north Oxford bypass was completed in 1936.

It is a Grade II* listed building,[1] and has been scheduled as an ancient monument.[2]

History[edit]

Swinford Bridge is an archetypal Georgian bridge built of local limestone which opened in 1769. It replaced a pre-existing ferry and its construction was funded by the then Earl of Abingdon.[3] The toll rights and concomitant duty to maintain are by Act of Parliament.[4][5] It also made the building of bridges across the river illegal for 3 miles (4.8 km) up or down stream. The bridge was completed two years later.[3][6]

If annual tolls outweigh annual maintenance the owners do not pay tax on that net income. This is a very rare perquisite agreed by Parliament and George III, rewarding the work of collecting the tolls in all financial circumstances.[7] It provides for a similar tax-free status of formal local authorities, on their surpluses, if any. It is one of the two remaining toll bridges that cross the Thames, the other being Whitchurch Bridge.

Since 1835, tolls for pedestrians have been abolished.[8] Cycles and motorcycles are also exempt from tolls. Other classes of traffic remain subject to tolls. The tariff starts at £0.05 in the case of cars (without other vehicle or trailer under tow). Campaigns have been occasional to make the bridge toll-free.[9] Oxfordshire County Council estimates that 10,000 motor vehicles cross the bridge each day.[10] Toll collection causes delays in the peak times of day. CCTV enables enforcement against evasion. An online poll in 2006 on the Witney Gazette website showed that 87.5% of voters wanted the tolls scrapped.

The bridge was put up for sale in 2009[7] and was sold at auction on 3 December for £1.08 million.[11][12] A campaign calling for Oxfordshire County Council to buy the bridge[7][13] was unsuccessful.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Swinford Bridge". National Heritage List for England. Historic England. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Swinford Bridge". National Heritage List for England. Historic England. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b Thacker 1968, p. 93.
  4. ^ An Act for building a Bridge cross the River Thames, from Swinford, in the County of Berks, to Eynsham, in the County of Oxford, 7 George III, c.63 / XVIII dated 1767 (National Archives Reference: HL/PO/PU/1/1767/7G3n22).
  5. ^ The statutes at large, from Magna Charta to 1869 Publisher: Cambridge, Printed by Joseph Bentham in 105 volumes https://archive.org/details/statutesatlarge13britgoog/page/n678/mode/2up
  6. ^ Jervoise 1930, p. 4.
  7. ^ a b c Qureshi, Huma (17 November 2009). "Tax-free Thames toll bridge for sale". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2011. Swinford toll bridge near the village of Eynsham in Oxfordshire is for sale at auction with a guide price of £1m-£1.25m. [...] Tolls were last [uplifted] in 1994, but local residents are calling for the charges to be scrapped.
  8. ^ Baggs et al. 1990, pp. 98–110.
  9. ^ Miles, Rosalind (26 April 2006). "Campaigners want 5p bridge toll scrapped". Witney Gazette. Newsquest.
  10. ^ Scrap the Toll on Swinford Bridge in Oxfordshire
  11. ^ Turner, Lauren (3 December 2009). "The 5p toll bridge is sold for £1.08m". The Independent. Retrieved 13 July 2011.
  12. ^ "catalogue". Allsop Auctions. Archived from the original on 4 September 2011.
  13. ^ Vennin, Loic (2 December 2009). "English bridge for sale amid toll rumpus". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 July 2011. Tomlinson wants the local government authority, the Oxfordshire county council, to buy the bridge [...]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Next crossing upstream River Thames Next crossing downstream
Pinkhill Lock (pedestrian) Swinford Toll Bridge A34 Road Bridge (road)