Milestones & Boundary Stones

Moira MacQuaide’s history of Burpham

Turnpike roads were established by law from the 17th century, to allow the collection of tolls in order to maintain the roads. The first one through Guildford was in 1749, forming part of the London to Portsmouth route.

All Turnpike Trusts had to erect mile-stones every mile, to inform travellers how far they had to go. Tollgates were built so that Tollkeepers could collect the money.

In Burpham there was the Green Man Gate Tollhouse, located between New Inn Farm and the Anchor & Horseshoes pub on London Road, but it seems to have been demolished in the early 20th century.

The only surviving milestone near Burpham seems to be the one on the corner of London Road and Boxgrove Road, showing 1 mile to Guildford and 26 miles to Hyde Park Corner. But there was one between Orchard Road and Winterhill Way, showing 2 miles to Guildford and 27 to London – it was either lost during the building of houses, or is hidden under vegetation.

Boundary stones were used to mark town, or parliamentary, boundaries for tax and bye-law purposes. As boundaries changed over the years, so new boundary stones were put in place. The oldest stones in Guildford date back to the 18th century. In 1933 the Borough was made much larger, taking in what had been rural areas, and there is a stone outside Dillon Cottages, off Merrow Lane, that reads G.B.B. 1933.

Boundary stones were used to mark town, or parliamentary, boundaries for tax and bye-law purposes.

On London Road there is an early 19th century stone just after the Abbotswood estate, with a very helpful explanation attached to the fence behind it. This says that it marks the boundary between Guildford and Burpham, has been there since at least the 19th century and is shown on old maps as B.S. Pre-1920 it was the boundary between the Parishes of Stoke and Worplesdon, as the Parish of Burpham wasn’t created until 1922 (Parish of Burpham with Sutton Green). Looking very closely the words Stoke and Worplesdon can just be seen on either side of the stone.

The 1912 map shows the Parliamentary and Municipal Boundary lines, almost opposite the Primitive Methodist Church (now The Old Chapel) on London Road. It also shows boundary stones on either side of the road, but there’s only the one left now, at the end of Abbotswood.

Finally, a question. On the corner of the old London Road and Merrow Lane, by what is now a footpath but used to be the old London Road, a white stone can be found in amongst the vegetation. Is this another boundary stone? One day I’ll find out and let you know!

If you are willing to share your memories and/or photos to tell us more about Burpham then please contact Moira MacQuaide, either by e-mail ( or by phone or text (07963 756543). My two books (‘The History of Burpham Primary School’ and ‘Burpham – A Gateway to Guildford’) are still available from me for £10 (free delivery locally) or on Amazon.