158 HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
These tolls were considerably increased in after years, for some vehicles had to pay as much as eighteenpence.
Among the vehicles exempted from tolls were those which carried fish; road-mending material; manure for local land; bricks or timber for local buildings; hay, corn or straw during harvest time; agricultural implements ; vagrants sent by legal passes, and persons going to or from an election.
In 1850 occurs the first mention of horseless vehicles, the Sussex and Surrey Roads Act (13 and 14 Victoria) fixing these tolls for East Grinstead:—
For every carriage with four or more wheels, not drawn by any
horse or other beast, but propelled or moved by machinery 2 0
For every carriage with three or a less number of wheels, not drawn by any horse or beast, but propelled or moved by machinery.......................................... 1 0
The first steam plough passed through the town on April 18th, 1864, and its passage, without horses, excited intense interest.
The instances in which the Turnpike Trustees themselves managed the toll-gates were comparatively few in number. They farmed the tolls, the same being disposed of, at a properly convened meeting, by public auction. Parliament itself laid down the conditions of sale, which included the following:—
To prevent fraud or any undue preference in the letting thereof, the Trustees are hereby required to provide a Glass with so much Sand in it as will run from One End of it to the other in One Minute; which Glass, at the Time of letting the said Tolls, shall be set upon a Table, and immediately after every Bidding the Glass shall be turned, and as soon as the Sand is run out it shall be turned again, and so for Three Times, unless some other Bidding intervenes: And if no other Person shall bid until the Sand shall have run through the Glass for Three Times, the last Bidder shall be the Farmer or Renter of the said Tolls.
On February 15th, 1809, the Trustees of that portion of the turnpike road running from Godstone to Highgate, Forest Row, petitioned Parliament for an enlargement of the powers given them under three previous Acts, as the money already borrowed on the security of the tolls was not sufficient to keep the road in decent repair. The expedition with which Parliament dealt with the matter