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THE REBECCA RIOTS

REBECCA RIOTS

Toll gates were set up on roads that had been improved by Turnpike Trusts which were established after the Cardiganshire Turnpike Act of 1770.

Many road users had to pay a toll at the gates for using the Turnpike roads.

There were 22 toll gates in Ceredigion; these were further apart than in other counties.

The Act was amended in 1833 at which time tolls were raised and were, in some places, more efficiently collected.

Local people thought the tolls were unfair and from 1839 some rebelled by destroying the gates and attacking the gatekeepers. 120 gates in south-west Wales were attacked between 1843 and 1844. Many of the rebels were men dressed as women and were known as Rebecca's Daughters.

During the riots, troops and London Policemen were brought to the area to try to stop the riots and arrest those responsible.

Following a Government Inquiry, in 1844 the responsibility for roads passed to County Roads Boards and the number of toll gates was reduced. The tolls ceased when the County Council became responsible for road maintenance in 1889.

Lewis, W.J., (1990), The Gateway to Wales, a History of Cardigan, p. 125-8