A REAL rarity was offered by Sussex saleroom Tooveys of Washington on July 15 when this toll pass from 1744 came up for sale. Beautifully preserved in the original shagreen slipcase, this pass would seem to apply particularly to roads that fell within royal estates or administration rather than to a wider system of turnpike and toll roads.
It was something of considerable novelty which drew London and
provincial dealers amongst the seven telephone bidders. It was
bought at £1800 by the collector Gavin Littaur. The owner of a
major collection on postal history, the new bearer of the pass
intends now to do some thorough research into its origins.
On one inner cover of the folding calf gilt pass it bears the
words 'The Kings Private Roads', the royal cypher G II R,
the date in roman numerals and the number 1020.
On the other side is pasted a paper slip headed 'Gate-Keepers
Orders', which reads as follows:"You are not suffer any led Horses
to pass thro' the Gate you are in Charge of, except those of the
Royal Family. You are not to suffer any Stage or Hackney Coach,
Drays, Carts or Waggons to pass thro' your Gate, except such
Carriages as belong to the Proprietors of Lands laying in those
Roads and have a right to go to the same. You are not to admit any
Person to pass in Coaches or on Horse-back without seeing they have
a proper Ticket; and if you have any just Reason to doubt their
being counterfeited, you may compare them with your Book. If any
disturbance is at your Gate, you are forthwith to make it
At the bottom appears the signature of a Thomas Ripley, which
could be the name of the bearer of Pass no.1020, or that of the
official issuing the instructions.
The pass was entered for sale by a descendant of the
(un-hyphenated) Tyrwhitt Drake family, whose ancestral home was
Shardeloes near Amersham, but some readers will also recognise the
name, in hyphenated form, as that attached to the Maidstone
An assemblage of over 60 vehicles, from royal carriages and
sedan chairs to Victorian growlers, governess carts and gigs, this
was the collection formed by Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake, who was 12
times mayor of Kent's county town.
Opened in 1946 and housed in the 14th century stables of the
medieval Archbishop's Palace complex, the collection that Sir
Garrard gave to the town was the first of its kind in England and
remains one of the finest in Europe.
By Ian McKay
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