Rixton and Warburton Toll Bridge Act 1863

Rixton and Warburton Bridge Act 1863

Relevant sections of this act (or descriptions of a section) are transcribed below. Whilst efforts have been made to avoid errors, it's possible some have been made (the copies of the Act available are fairly poor reproductions).

A copy of the Rixton and Warburton Bridge Act 1863 is available here (1.3MB). This section should be read alongside a copy of the Act.

Where possible, capitalisation, italicisation, grammar and punctuation (or lack of) have been copied exactly (it really is this bad!)

Comments / points are made between lines, and in italic font

An Act for the making and maintaining of a Bridge over the River Mersey, to be called "Rixton and Warburton Bridge," with Roads thereto; and for other Purposes. [8th June 1863.]

The name of the Rixton and Warburton Bridge is defined in statute

  1. 5 The Capital of the Company shall be Five thousand five hundred Pounds in eleven hundred shares of Five Pounds each


  1. 9 All and every Part of the Monies raised by the Company by Shares and by borrowing under this Act shall be applied only for the purposes of this Act


  1. 26 The works which the Company are by this Act authorized to execute comprise the following; (that is to say,)

First Rixton and Warburton Bridge being a Bridge for Passengers, Animals, and Carriages across the river Mersey, with all necessary and convenient Abutments, Landing Stairs, Works and Conveniences in connexion therewith, from a Point on the North or Towing-path Side of the said River in the Township of Rixton in the Parish of Warrington in the County of Lancaster, Eleven hundred Yards South-westerly of the Ferry House at Hollins Green to a Point on the South Side of the said River in the Township of Warburton in the County of Chester, One hundred and eighty-five Yards or thereabouts to the Eastward of Warburton Church:

Secondly, a Road, Number 1, to the said Bridge on the North Side of the River Mersey, commencing in the Warrington and Manchester Turnpike Road in the Township of Rixton in the Parish of Warrington  in the County of Lancaster, Three hundred and thirty Yards or thereabouts Eastward of the Place where Back Lane End forms a Junction with the said Turnpike Road, and terminating at the said Bridge:

Thirdly, a Road, Number 2, to the said Bridge on the South Side of the River Mersey, commencing in the Township and Parish of Warburton in the County of Chester at  Warburton Cross, where Townfield Lane forms a Junction with Pullicar Lane and terminating at the said Bridge.


A. 27 … …and the Distance between the said Piers or Abutments shall not be less than One hundred and thirty Feet measured at Right Angles thereto, and shall leave a clear and available Space of One hundred and twenty-two Feet at the least for Waterway, and Eight Feet at the least alongside the said River Mersey, measured at Right Angles, for Towing-path; and the Abutments or Piers of the said Bridge shall be constructed so as to adapt and render them (without any Alteration being required to be made to such Abutments or Piers) applicable to a Bridge to be opened by Swivel, Bascule, or other Motion; and the said Bridge shall be constructed in such a Manner as at all Times to afford a clear and continuous Headway along the Course of the said River Mersey, of Twenty-eight Feet above the Surface of the Water in the Centre of the said River, according to the ordinary Mean Level thereof at the Place of crossing; and the Springing of the Arch of the said Bridge (unless the Underside thereof be made horizontal) shall not be less than Eighteen Feet above such ordinary Mean Level of the Water; a clear Headway of not less than Eight Feet shall be left above the said Towing-path, and a good substantial and sufficient Retaining Wall shall be erected underneath the said Bridge….


A. 28 The Works authorized by this Act to be made over or upon the River Mersey and the Towing-path thereof, or in connexion therewith, shall be executed and complete to the Satisfaction of John Frederick Bateman Esquire, or other the Engineer for the Time being of the Company of Proprietors of the Mersey and Irwell Navigation, or to the Satisfaction of an Engineer to be agreed upon by the said Company of Proprietors and the Company hereby incorporated, or if they disagree then to the Satisfaction of an Engineer to be appointed by the Board of Trade. 


A. 29 If the Company of Proprietors shall at any Time hereafter widen, deepen, change the Level, or divert the Course of or otherwise alter the Mersey and Irwell Navigation, or any Part thereof, so as to make it fit for the Passage of Sea-going Vessels, pursuant to the Powers vested in them, which Powers are hereby expressly intended to be fully reserved, or shall obtain an Act of Parliament for rendering the said Navigation navigable for Sea-going Vessels, or if in any Manner the said Navigation shall be made navigable for Sea-going Vessels, so as to render necessary, expedient, or desirable a free Passage through any Viaduct or Bridge constructed by the Company hereby incorporated across the Line of the said Navigation, then the said Company of Proprietors shall and they are hereby authorized at their own Costs and Charges after the Expiration of Three Calendar Months Notice in Writing served by them or on their Behalf on the said Company incorporated of their Desire to have such Conversion made, to commence and with all reasonable Diligence to complete the Conversion of any then existing Viaduct or Bridge authorized by the Act over the said River Mersey and Towing-path into or in lieu thereof to construct and for ever thereafter be entitled to maintain and work a Swivel or any other Kind of opening Bridge in the Place of such Viaduct or Bridge hereby authorized, of such Dimensions and Construction and in such Manner and Form as will allow the Passage of all Sea-going Vessels using the said Navigation at all seasonable and proper Times: Provided always, that such Swivel or other opening Bridge when constructed as aforesaid, shall at all Times thereafter be respectively worked and used for the purposes of the said Navigation by the said Company of Proprietors; and in case of the Company hereby incorporated being aggrieved by such Regulations then under such Regulations for the Protection of the Traffic as well of the said Navigation as of the said Road authorized by this Act, and for the Public Safety, so as not to offer any unnecessary Obstruction to the Passage of Vessels along the said Navigation or of the Traffic along the said Road, as shall be from Time to Time determined upon by the Board of Trade : Provided also, that the Expense of working, managing, repairing, and upholding the said Swivel or other opening Bridge shall be borne and paid by the Company hereby incorporated or, as the Case may be, shall be refunded by them to the said Company of Proprietors

***** so:

This section anticipates the Manchester Ship Canal or similar. If the Warburton Toll Bridge needs to be converted to an opening bridge, this section covers the work required, and states that the Warburton Toll Bridge Company shall fund the work, or reimburse the "Company of Proprietors" (of the Mersey and Irwell Navigation) be liable to maintain the opening bridge for ever. BUT… this section appears to never have been used:

  • The Manchester Ship Canal was built via a new company, the 'Manchester Ship Canal Company' that did not exist & had likely not been conceived in 1863,
  • The Manchester Ship Canal required the digging of a completely new path, with the section of the Mersey that the Rixton and Warburton Bridge crossed being subsequently filled in - which was not foreseen in this 1863 Act


A. 38 The Company shall make and maintain on each Side of the Bridge a good and sufficient Fence of not less Height than Four Feet.


A. 46 After the Bridge and Roads are completed the same shall be deemed a public Bridge and public Highways, and, subject to the Provisions of this Act, all Persons with or without Animals or Carriages shall have free Liberty on Payment of the Tolls by this Act granted to pass over the same without any Interruption whatever; but the Bridge shall not be deemed a County Bridge so as to make the Counties of Lancaster or Chester, or either of them, liable to repair, light, or watch the same, and shall be maintained and kept in repair by the Company.

*** makes this point clear; the last sentence is clear - SHALL be maintained and kept in repair (applies to the Toll Bridge & roads) ***

A. 48 The Company from Time to Time may demand and take for all Persons, Animals and Carriages, from Time to Time passing over, along, or upon the Bridge and Roads, or any of them, or any Part thereof respectively, any Tolls not exceeding the following; (that is to say,)

…For every Carriage drawn or propelled by Steam or any Means other than Animal Power, Two Shillings and Sixpence:

For every Foot Passenger (except the Person or Persons not exceeding One actually driving and accompanying any Waggon, Wain, Cart, or other Carriage) passing and repassing over the Bridge, One Halfpenny each Way:….

****so - The toll is optional - the current collection rules don't charge pedestrians & motorcycles (which they are entitled to do). Not clear if cycles are covered - probably not (& are not currently charged). ****

A. 49 The Tolls shall be paid before any Person, Animal, or Carriage shall be entitled to pass or repass through any Toll Gate, provided that only One full Toll (save as regards Foot Passengers) shall be demanded or taken for every Time of passing or repassing over, along, or on the Bridge or Roads, or any Part thereof, provided that no more than Two full Tolls shall be taken in response of any Animal or Carriage for passing or repassing the Bridge any Number of Times in any one and the same Day. 


A. 50 The Tolls by the Act granted are by this Act vested in the Company for the Purposes of this Act.


A. 51 The Company from Time to Time, with the Sanction of a General Meeting, may reduce all or any of the Tolls for such Time as they think proper, and again raise all or any of the Tolls, so that the Tolls never exceed the Amount by this Act limited, and the Tolls, whatever be their Amount, shall be collected, recovered, and applied as is by this Act provided.


A. 55 When any Toll Gate is provided under this Act, the Company shall put up, and afterwards continue at every such Toll Gate, a Table painted in distinct and legible Black Letters on a Board with White Ground, containing a List, distinguishing the several Tolls to be paid by virtue of this Act, and shall renew the Boards whenever any of the Letters or Figures thereon are worn out, defaced, or obliterated, and except during the Time necessarily occupied in the repairing or renewing of any Board, the Company shall not demand or take at any Toll Gate any Toll save while the Board so painted remains affixed to the Toll Gate.


A. 57 If any Person subject under this Act to the Payment of any Toll after Demand made thereof by any Collector appointed to receive the Toll fail to pay the Toll, the Collector by himself, or taking such Assistance as he think necessary, may stop and prevent the Passage of the Person so failing, and may distrain the Animal in respect of which the Toll is payable, with its Bridle, Saddle, Gear, Harness or Accoutrements (except the Bridle or Reins of any Animal separate from the Animal), and any Carriage drawn by the Animal.

***definition excludes anything that is not drawn by an animal from anything other than being stopped & prevented from passing. S.59 may be relevant but probably not***

A. 58 If the Toll and the reasonable Charges of the Seizure and Distress be not paid within Three Days after the Seizure and Distress, the Person so seizing and distraining may and shall sell all the Animals, Carriages, and Chattels so seized and distrained, or any Part thereof, returning the Overplus (if any) of the Proceeds of the Sale, after deducting the Toll, and the reasonable Charges of the Seizure and Distress and Sale, and what (if any) remains unsold, upon Demand, to the Owner thereof.


A. 62 Every Toll Collector shall place his Christian and Surname, painted on a Board in legible Characters, on the Front or some other conspicuous Part of the Toll House or Toll Gate immediately on this coming on Duty (each of the Letters of the Name or Names to be at least Two Inches in Length, and of a Breadth in Proportion, and painted in Black Letters on a Board with a White Ground), and shall continue the same so placed during the whole Time he is upon Duty, and if any Toll Collector fail so to do he shall for every such Offence forfeit any Sum not exceeding Forty Shillings.


A. 66 If any Person take off any Horse or other Beast from any Carriage at or near to the Bridge, or at or near to any Toll Gate provided under this Act, and afterwards put on the Horse or Beast after having passed the Bridge or Toll Gate with Intent to evade, and thereby evades or endeavours to evade the Payment of any Toll, or if any Person cause any such Act to be done, or aid or abet any Person so acting, every Person so offending shall for every such Offence forfeit not exceeding Forty Shillings.


A. 67 If any Person fraudulently or forcibly pass over the Bridge or through any Toll Gate without having paid the Tolls, or assault, obstruct, or interrupt any Person employed in the Collection of the Tolls, every Person so offending shall for every such Offence forfeit not exceeding Forty Shillings.

*** note the narrow definition - has to be "fraudulently or forcibly" - would not cover e.g. a vehicle driven through an open toll gate barrier.... ***


A. 68 If any Person commit any of the following Offences, every Person so offending shall for every such Offence forfeit not exceeding Forty Shillings; (that is to say,)

First, if any Person wilfully or negligently destroy, injure, or damage any Footpath or Causeway on the Side of any Part of the Bridge or Roads :

Secondly, if any Person ride or drive or lead any Horse, Beast, Cattle, or Carriage over or upon any such Footpath or Causeway :

Thirdly, if any Person wilfully obstruct the Passage of the Bridge or any of the Roads :

Fourthly, if any Drive or any Carriage wilfully or carelessly break or damage any of the Posts or Stones erected for the Security of any such Footpath or Causeway ;

Fifthly, if any Person scrape off any Mud, Soil, or other Thing from any Part of the Bridge or Roads so as to damage the same : ….


A. 70 - deals with toll collectors not abiding by the Act (displaying name etc.) shall for every offence forfeit not exceeding Forty Shillings


A. 73 all damages, charges, tolls and costs should be paid to the Company (other than 1/2 may be payable to an informer)


A. 75 All the Costs, Charges and Expenses of and incident to the preparing for, obtaining, and passing of this Act shall be paid by the Company.


2 years 7 months ago