The toll houses that survive on the roadsides of Britain are usually quite humble affairs. After all, they were nothing more than ticket booths, where travellers handed over their coins to travel along to their next destination and the canny road owners rarely spent much on the toll houses.
However, whoever built the one in the tiny community of Ringinglow, on the very outskirts of western Sheffield, and right smack bang on the Yorkshire-Derbyshire border, had rather more ambitious plans, for in 1778, up went this octagonal turret, of three stories and in the Gothic style of the period. It is now Grade II listed, and sits on the junction of what was the turnpike route from Sheffield to Chapel-en-le-Frith and Buxton. How many tolls were taken, and how many carts and horses passed this way over the centuries? And, after paying the builder’s bills, when did the owner finally break even?