Historic toll bridge up for sale

In days gone by people used to pay a penny a wheel to be allowed to use the historic toll bridge that crossed over the River Wensum at Guist.Built in 1773, it was first owned by W E Norris, the lord of manor, who allowed his friends and the people of the parish to use it for free but charged others for the privilege.

IN days gone by people used to pay a penny a wheel to be allowed to use the historic toll bridge that crossed the River Wensum at Guist.

Built in 1773, it was first owned by WE Norris, the lord of manor, who allowed his friends and the people of the parish to use it for free but charged others for the privilege.

Now this grade II listed piece of Norfolk heritage, which

was part of an ancient road between Guist and Elmham, is up for sale, along with its toll house, also grade II listed, and the adjoining mill house,


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with a combined price tag of �825,000.

Eric Barrett, 80, chairman

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of Guist Parish Council, remembers paying to use the bridge.

He said: "I moved to Guist when I was a boy in 1928. We lived just outside the parish so I remember paying the toll.

"There was a big sign over the top of the bridge that gave all the details of how much you had to pay. They had horses and carts and it was a penny a wheel for people outside the parish. I don't think pedestrians were charged. There was a pool near the bridge where we used to bathe as children."

A history sheet written in the 1960s by a Mrs Bailey, who used to be headteacher of the local school, says vehicles weighing up to five tons were allowed to use the bridge for a charge, and that prior to the bridge being built people forded the river, which had a stony bottom.

The factsheet also states

the bridge was later bought by a Stephen Kendall.

People continued to pay to use the bridge until the 1930s when a new bridge was built. The ancient road was replaced by the B1110.

Records from www.norfolk

mills.co.uk show the bridge was at one time located next to Guist Mill which AElfric, the bishop of Elmham, bequeathed to Edwin (the monk) in a will dated 1489.

It is believed the mill was dismantled well before 1800.

Mr Barrett said the toll bridge was later turned into a restaurant owned by the Stark family.

The current owners converted the former mill house into a four-bedroom family home in the mid-1990s.

The property has been on the market with Abbotts Town and Country Houses since December.

Tracey Fisher, property consultant for Abbotts, said she was not sure whether the owners would still in principal be allowed to charge people to cross the bridge.

It is no longer joined to a road but instead leads to another area in the property's 1.5 acres of land.

Mrs Fisher added that the owners have rights to the water going under the bridge, which means the landowner has the right to make reasonable use of the water and can also charge people for the right to fish there.

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