Benjamin Manning and The Toll Gate

Map showing Maer Top

Captured Google Map of Pilton,

with some text added.

 Maer Top and Westaway Plan on the map are in the top of the right hand corner. We don't know where the toll gate was but it was probably close to there.  Presumably Maretop was the road we now know as Maer Top.

Benjamin Manning was living in Pilton Street at the time of this the newspaper report (below).  He had a butcher and grocers shop there, in what is now No 29 Pilton Street.

North Devon Journal of May 13, 1847

"Benjamin Manning, of Pilton, butcher, was summoned by the Collector of turnpike tolls at the stop-gate of Mare-top, charged with an evasion of toll under the following circumstances:- Mr Manning had purchased a calf and two or three lambs, which he drove in a cart from Sherwill to Westaway corner, about a quarter of a mile short of the toll-bar, where he dropped the cart, rode the horse, and drove the calf and lambs all which paid the respective tolls, but the cart did not pay, not having passed through the gate. The gatekeeper held this to be a fraud, and summoned defendant accordingly. - Mr Manning denied all fraudulent intention: he had dropped the cart in the road because he had no place to lodge it on his premises, and because it would be convenient in that place to be driven back again to Sherwell in the evening: he had no idea of evading the toll, in proof of which he said that when he knew from his son that complainant considered the toll to be due, he sent it to him, but he refused to receive it, and persisted in his refusal when it was offered to him two or three times afterwards. - The bench thought the evasion made out; but being willing to believe that defendant acted without fraudulent design, they mitigated the penalty to 6d and expenses, besides the amount of toll evaded (3 1/2d)."