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The Old Tollbar Cottage, Dinwoodie

A Category B Listed Building in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.1975 / 55°11'50"N

Longitude: -3.4087 / 3°24'31"W

OS Eastings: 310430

OS Northings: 590151

OS Grid: NY104901

Mapcode National: GBR 48MB.TN

Mapcode Global: WH6X5.MM1D

Plus Code: 9C7R5HWR+XG

Entry Name: The Old Tollbar Cottage, Dinwoodie

Listing Name: The Old Toll Cottage, Dinwoodie, near Lockerbie

Listing Date: 3 August 1971

Last Amended: 15 December 2016

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 406595

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB3327

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Applegarth

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Parish: Applegarth

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

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A single-storey, 3-bay, rectangular-plan former toll bar cottage, built in 1822-23 by mason John MacDonald to designs by the civil engineer and architect, Thomas Telford as part of his Carlisle to Glasgow road improvements (1820-1825). The cottage is constructed of squared and tooled sandstone ashlar, painted white, with raised quoins and window margins. The east (road-facing) elevation has a bowed bay to the right with an iron lamp bracket above a timber door which is flanked by two windows. The north elevation has three windows in round-arched surrounds and the central window is the largest. It has a shallow piended roof with broad eaves and exposed rafter ends. There is a central chimney stack pierced by a gothic quatrefoil opening and it has four clay cans. There is a slightly lower outshot to the south elevation, also with a piended roof.

The windows are mostly a 4-pane glazing pattern in timber sash and case frames. The roofs are slated and the rainwater goods are cast iron.

The interior was not seen in 2016. Photographs taken in 2016 show timber panelling to the front porch recess and a timber-lined segmental arch above one internal doorway.

Statement of Interest

The Old Toll Cottage at Dinwoodie is a largely unaltered example of an early 19th century toll-bar cottage, built to a standard design by the eminent civil engineer, Thomas Telford. The cottage was built to serve an important early 19th century road from Glasgow to Carlisle, now a local access road. The cottage has a number of distinguishing features including the bowed front and pierced chimney stack. It is the least altered of the three listed toll houses by Telford on the former Glasgow to Carlisle road.

Age and Rarity

The Old Toll Cottage at Dinwoodie was built between 1822 and 1823. The rectangular-plan footprint of the property, with bowed bay on the east elevation and an outshot to the south elevation, is evident on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1864, published 1867).

During the 18th century, the road between Glasgow and Carlisle was funded by public subscription and controlled by the Turnpike Trusts. As mercantile Glasgow continued to expand, the need to improve the mail route between Glasgow and England became a necessity. In the early 19th century, works were carried out using a Parliament grant of £50000, by the nationally important civil engineer and architect Thomas Telford in his capacity as Engineer to the Highland Roads and Bridges Commission. Tolls were also considered necessary to fund the maintenance of the roads. A physical barrier or 'toll-bar' across a road or a bridge was raised when the toll was paid. These toll bars were usually accompanied by a purpose-built dwelling to house the operator. Telford's assistant William Provis surveyed the Glasgow to Carlisle route in 1814-15, with the agreed works implemented by 1825. The new road constructed by Telford was 69 miles long, improving sections of the earlier Roman Road covering the same route. According to Telford's biographer, Samuel Smiles, it 'was probably the finest piece of road which up to that time had been made' (Smiles, p.247).

The tollbar cottages ceased to operate after the passing of the Roads and Bridges (Scotland) Act in 1878. Telford's road was bypassed fully by the B7076 and the 6-lane A74(M) during the 20th century.

In our current knowledge, seventeen Telford bridges and three of eight toll-bar cottages survive on Telford's Glasgow to Carlisle route. The eight toll houses along the route were at Hamilton, Lesmahagow, Abingdon, Douglas Mill, Beattock, Dinwoodie, Gretna and Kingsmuir. All are understood to have featured bowed porch fronts. The examples at Hamilton (LB12517) and Gretna (LB9943) are listed.

The Old Toll Cottage at Dinwoodie is a good example of a former toll-bar cottage, built to a standard design by Thomas Telford, and associated with an important early 19th century road development. The cottage has a number of distinguishing architectural features and is the least altered of the three listed toll houses by Telford on the former Glasgow to Carlisle road.

Architectural or Historic Interest


The interior was not seen in 2016. Sales particulars produced for the sale of the property in July 2016 and photographs from the owner show that the hall, living room, kitchen and bedrooms have few fixtures or fittings relating to the building's early 19th century date of construction. All fireplaces are later replacements.

Plan form

The small-scale, rectangular plan form with a bowed frontage is typical of a toll house of this date. Information from the 2016 sales particulars and 2016 planning application, indicates that the early 19th century room layout has not been altered.

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

The building is built in good quality squared sandstone and has some early 19th century toll cottage features such as the bow-fronted entrance. The round-arch window openings, shallow roof, quatrefoil piercing to the chimney stack and raised quoins framing the principal elevation are all characteristic of the style of domestic architecture produced by Thomas Telford during that period.

Telford was Scotland's greatest civil engineer of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, renowned for his ability to solve complex problems. His work started with surveys for the British Fisheries Society of harbours and piers for the fishing fleets, followed by surveys of more than 1000 miles of road, with 17 large bridges and over 1000 minor bridges built to his designs.


The cottage stands within its own plot of land, largely surrounded by trees, beside a truncated section of the former Glasgow to Carlisle road. This is now a cul-de-sac for local access traffic. The toll bar itself that would have accompanied the cottage no longer exists.

The immediate setting of the cottage, particularly the proximity of its bowed entrance to the road evidences the original function of the cottage and in turn, aids our understanding of road communication in Scotland during the 19th century.

Regional variations

There are no known regional variations.

Close Historical Associations

This cottage is built to a standard design by Thomas Telford, a civil engineer of national importance and is associated with a historically significant road improvement scheme of the early 19th century, also by him.

Change of category from B to A 22/02/1988

Statutory address, category of listing changed from A to B and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as 'Old Tollbar Cottage at Dinwoodie'.

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