I caught up with Philip Dennis to find out a little more about him and why he has started repainting the local Ceredigion milestones.
Philip a former Head of Maths at Penglais school, has lived in the area for 21 years. A former Chartered Surveyor, he moved down from Harrogate. Having being educated in Cardiff, Philip had a desire to return home to Wales. He became interested in the milestones on his daily commute to and from school, often seeing them in hedgerows, looking neglected and over grown. It was these that started him looking for more. Slowly but surely Philip is uncovering some forgotten milestones along the B4337.
Philip has painted 8 milestones to date, with more being rediscovered in various forms of a state of neglect.
After carrying out some research I was a bit disappointed to find these are not as early as I had expected, I thought they would have dated to the turnpike days, 1790s, but it looks like these were replaced in 1896 by the council at that time. These were made by a firm in Llanddewi Brefi, possibly made of concrete rather than stone. This could be why parts of the face of the milestone’s flake off.
Philip is interested to know if Llanrhystud had a tollgate, which controlled the coast road, possibly somewhere where the B4337 meets the now A487. Aberystwyth tollgate is now relocated at St Fagans museum, Cardiff, and there looks like, what appears to be a tollgate as you enter Aberaeron, coming from the north of the county.
I understand there are ten milestones between Llanrhystud and where the road meets the A482, Aberaeron, Lampeter road at Temple Bar.
Philip would like to find and paint the ten.
Philip first painted the one in Cross Inn some 16 years ago, and just before the Corona Virus lockdown he painted that one once again.
Using a stiff brush, I take the moss of to create a sound foundation, I’ve found them very difficult to paint, though the white coat only takes 5-6 minutes, I find the brush tends to stutter as you go along the surface of the stone. When dry I go back and paint the lettering which can take up to three quarters of an hour. So, between cutting back the overgrowth and painting each milestone, these can take up to one and half hours in total.
Ceredigion Milestone History
In 1896, the committee for the north of the county agreed to order 44 new milestones from Messrs Rees Edwards and Co. of Llanddewi Brefi at 25 shillings each (£1.25) including engraving and delivery. A few earlier stones survive, in addition to the cast-iron posts made in 1894.
There were around 200 milestones erected in Ceredigion, erected along roads that were improved or established by the Turnpike Trustees, formed by acts of Parliament for Cardiganshire in 1770, 1791, 1813, 1833 and 1835.Presumably milestones were erected at every mile along these Turnpike roads.
There were 22 toll gates at the time of the Rebecca Riots (1843-1844): these were reduced to 16 by 1864. The collection of tolls ceased on the 1st April, 1889.
There are now around 100 milestones left in the county of Ceredigion.
Reference: Ceredigion Milestones