Early 19th Century milestone restored
A milestone dating back to the early 19th century was discovered by contractors working for Yorkshire Water whist they were renewing 3.75km of water main near Langtoft, north of Driffield.
The milestone was found in an overgrown verge alongside the B1253 (High Street) by Tony Watson of Morrison Utility Services whilst his team were laying the new water main.
Milestones are markers, usually placed at intervals of one mile along a road, or sometimes parts of a mile to show the distance to a town or village.
They told travelers how far they had travelled and the remaining distance to their destinations. It’s quite common to find old milestones in hedgerows, verges and roads which follow the routes of eighteenth and early nineteenth century turnpike roads.
This milestone is one of a small group of stones along the B1253, recorded by the Milestone Society as a ‘Sledmere Plate’ type. This stone shows it’s 11 miles to Bridlington and in the opposite direction 5 miles to Sledmere. 3 others survive, one near Octon, one just west of Bridlington and a 3rd on High Street in Old Bridlington.
The milestone was recorded on the Ordnance Survey First Edition map of 1854. There is also graffiti carved into the back with the date 1909 and it is still shown on the 1911 map revision.
Recently, members of the Milestone Society have restored the milestone to its former glory. It’s had a full make-over. The stone was cleaned after its many years under the ground. The surface of the metal plate was stripped of remnants of paint and rust, and then an anti-rust undercoat and two top coats of white paint were applied before the inscription was picked out in black.
Jeremy Howat, of the Milestone Society, said: “This is an exciting find and a great example of a 19th century milestone. These milestones are an important part of our heritage and the history of roads and transport so it’s always a pleasure to restore them so they visible again.”
The milestone was recently placed back in the verge and overseen by members of the Milestone Society, Morrison Utility Services, Yorkshire Water and Northern Archaeological Associates.
The Milestone Society is a national organisation recording and caring for milestones and way markers throughout England, Wales and Scotland. In Yorkshire there are over 1,450 milestones and guide stones still known to be by the roadside or on ancient moorland tracks. More information can be found on their website.