Milestone (London 71)


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
London Road (west side), Daventry, Northants, NN11 4EA


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Statutory Address:
London Road (west side), Daventry, Northants, NN11 4EA

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Northamptonshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Milestone (London 71) on Thomas Telford's Holyhead Road, dating from 1832-33.

Reasons for Designation

The milestone (London 71) on Thomas Telford's Holyhead Road, dating from 1832-33, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it is a well-preserved and legible example of a milestone designed by the civil engineer Thomas Telford, and appears to be the sole complete survivor of the second type of milestone he designed for this route.

Historic interest:

* it is associated with the development of a major transport route in the early-C19, the first road in Britain since the Roman era to be publicly funded;

* it is one of only a few examples in the Midlands where Tarver’s name survives on the plate, enhancing its local significance, especially as the milestone is located within a short distance of Tarver’s Foundry, marked by the street names of Foundry Place and Foundry Court.

Group value:

* it has group value with the other original milestones along this route, many of which are listed.


Milestones, along with mileposts and guideposts, are one of the most widespread forms of street furniture. Roads undergo such considerable alteration that they can be of particular note as testaments to the development of our transport network, and as reminders of the different perceptions of distance in a pre-motorised age. Milestones became prevalent in the mid-C18 when turnpike trusts were encouraged to provide such markers. Initially they were carved out of stone and a variety of forms are still evident around the country.

The 1800 Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland placed increasing importance on the route between London and Holyhead, the main port for sea travel between Ireland and Britain. Thomas Telford (1757-1834), the versatile Scottish civil engineer whose crowning achievement was the design and construction (1819-26) of the Menai Bridge in Wales, was appointed to survey the route. In 1811 he presented his plans to Parliament and in 1815 funds were authorised for the construction of the route which was the first road in Britain since Roman times to be publicly funded. Some sections of the road used existing turnpikes, while others were new.

As was standard practice at the time, milestones were to be provided along the entire route. Telford's opinion of existing milestone designs was less than complimentary, and he commissioned a new standard design for the new road. Milestones between Holyhead and Shrewsbury were made from a particular Carboniferous limestone from Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey and had cast iron plates to give the mileages. It was Telford's intention that the same design should also be used from Shrewsbury to London but this was only achieved for five milestones along this stretch of the road. After that, a degraded design using other stone types and a smaller plate was used.

The milestone on London Road in Daventry was placed in 1832-33. The stone conforms to the dimensions of Telford’s original design but is pink granite rather than the Anglesey limestone. The cast iron plate is a smaller size than the original design, and has parallel sides as opposed to the batter of the original Telford plates. It retains the original plate, bearing the mark of the Tarver foundry which belonged to Nathaniel Tarver on Sheaf Street in Daventry, itself originally on the London to Holyhead road, and a short distance to the north of this milestone.


Milestone (London 71) on Thomas Telford's Holyhead Road, dating from 1832-33.

MATERIALS: pink granite with cast iron.

EXTERIOR: the milestone stands on the west side of London Road, just north of The Westway.

The milestone has gently battered sides which rise into a shallow pointed head. The cast iron panel, which bears the Tarver foundry mark, is recessed into the front and also has a pointed head. It reads: LONDON 71/ DAVENTRY/ ½/ TOWCESTER/ 11½/ MILES.


David Elis-Williams, 'Thomas Telford's Milestones', Milestones & Waymarkers, Volume 11 (2018-19)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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