Cymdeithas Hanes Brynmawr
BRYNMAWR. IMPORTANT TOLL CASE.
Eifion Lloyd Davies
Whichever way you came into Brynmawr you would have to pay a toll for using the road. Coming up Black Rock Road, as you enter the town near the Bridge End Inn there was a toll gate and as you left towards Beaufort there was another near to where ATS Garage stands.
Today, there is a house on the corner which is named Beaufort Gate. Animals were also charged to pass through the toll gate as the story below illustrates.
At the petty-sessions on Monday before Messrs Lancelott Powell, G. W. Walters, and B. Jayne, Mary Ann Jones, toll collector at the Beaufort Gate, charged David Stephens, in the employ of a brewery company from Merthyr, with evading the payment of toll. Mr G. Albert Jones, instructed by the lessee of the tolls, appeared for the complainant, and Mr Plews, instructed by the defendant's employer, defended. On the 3rd of January the defendant drove three horses and a dray from Rhymney to within about 400 yards of the Beaufort Gate, when he unhooked the front horse and drove through the gate with two horses.
(As the horses were pulling a dray full of beer barrels three horses were needed to draw the heavy dray up Beaufort Hill. Once through the gates it was downhill into Brynmawr and coming back up the dray would have empty barrels so two horses could pull it easily).
The complainant, who had previously cautioned the defendant about this practice, demanded toll for the three horses but defendant refused to pay it. It was shown that the defendant had travelled over the part of the road belonging to the Merthyr Trust and that at the place where he unhooked the third horse he was on that part of the road belonging to the Abergavenny Trust and therefore was liable to pay for the three horses. In defence, Mr Plews contended that no fraudulent endeavour to evade the payment of toll had been shown as required by the Act. The defendant, when he got to the top of the hill on the Rhymney side of the gate had no further use for the third horse which had done its work, so he innocently and honestly unhooked it as two horses for the remainder of his journey to Brynmawr, were much easier to control than three. It must be proved that the evasion was wilful before a conviction could be sustained. In answer to this Mr Jones contended that the defendant had travelled off the Merthyr Trust upon the Abergavenny Trust to within 400 yards of the gate. After a good deal of contention on the case, Mr Powell said:
“We have earnestly considered our decision in this case, and we think that if the defendant had taken the horses to within 100 yards of the gate he would be liable to pay the toll for the third horse, but having taken them to within 3OO or 400 yards of the gate and left the third horse there, we consider he is not liable to pay toll for that horse therefore we dismiss the case".
Brynmawr and Toll Gate problem. The Cardiff Times 5th February 1876
A PDF file of The Beaufort Toll Gate can be downloaded, by clicking on the following link