|Administrative / biographical background:
The Chester and Whitchurch turnpike road was one of several turnpike roads radiating from Chester. The first stretch of this road, between Hatton and Barnhill, was turnpiked in 1705, the remainder by an Act passed in 1759, which stated that the turnpike road would extend from the Bars at Boughton to Whitchurch, co. Salop, and from Whitchurch to Birmingham, via Newport and Castle Bromwich. The records listed below relate only to the Chester and Whitchurch road.
Turnpike Trusts developed mainly in the eighteenth century, because the system of road maintenance, based on the Highway Act of 1555 2 and 3 Philip and Mary, c.8, and subsequent Acts which placed responsibility for road maintenance on individual parishes, had broken down. Turnpike Trusts were established to assume responsibility for a specific stretch of road. Each Trust was empowered by its own Act of Parliament to erect gates and toll houses, and to charge tolls for certain kinds of traffic. The powers of Turnpike Trusts were generally granted for twenty one years, and could be renewed by the granting of a new Act.
By the beginning of the nineteenth century Turnpike Trusts had become semi permanent local authorities, and an attempt was made to rationalise turnpike legislation by the General Turnpike Road Act of 1822 3 Geo. IV, c.126. By the 1840s Turnpike Trusts were in decline. They had lost much of their traffic to the railways, many trusts went bankrupt, and riots in South Wales against excessive tolls resulted in the Act of 7 and 8 Vict. c.91, which abolished trusts in South Wales in 1844. Turnpike Trusts in the English counties were never abolished by Act of Parliament. Instead, their duties were gradually assumed by other authorities, and trusts were allowed to expire. The last Turnpike Trust was dissolved in 1895.
The situation was, however, different in municipal boroughs established by the Municipal Corporations Act of 1835 5 and 6 Will. IV, c.76. In many cases the powers of Turnpike Trustees were abolished by Improvement Acts. The Trustees of the Chester and Whitchurch Road lost their powers within the city boundaries in 1845 with the passing of the Chester Improvement Act 8 and 9 Vict. c.15. Section 9 of this Act required Chester to appoint a surveyor to assume responsibility for roads within the city boundaries, and section 52 expressly forbade Turnpike Trustees from collecting tolls or repairing roads in Chester. In 1871 the Chester and Whitchurch Turnpike Trust amalgamated with the Farndon and Worthenbury Turnpike Trust, and the combined trust was dissolved in 1877. There are at present 1972 three authorities responsible for the road from Chester to Whitchurch, Chester City Council and Cheshire and Shropshire County Councils.
John Finchett Maddock, Town Clerk from 1817 to 1857, was also Clerk to the Trustees of the Chester and Whitchurch road and this probably explains why the records listed below are in the custody of Chester Corporation. The minutes of this trust have not been located. The records of Henry Moss, solicitor of 12 Abbey Square, Chester, last clerk to the Trustees, and therefore responsible for the minutes, have not been traced. The surviving records of the Chester and Whitchurch Turnpike Trust have been classified as transferred records, because of the abolition of the powers of the Trustees in Chester, and the transfer of their duties to the City Surveyor, by the Improvement Act of 1845