Swinford Toll Bridge

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Swinford Toll Bridge
Oxfordshire, Berkshire
Carrying: B4044 road
Crossing: River Thames
Location: 51°46’29"N, 1°21’35"W
Material: Stone
Built 1769

Swinford Toll Bridge is a privately owned toll bridge across the River Thames. It crosses the river just above Eynsham Lock, between the village of Eynsham in Oxfordshire on the west bank and the small settlement of Swinford in Berkshire on the east bank. It carries the B4044 road from Oxford to Eynsham, which was the main A40 road until the Eynsham bypass was completed in 1936.


The bridge, a Georgian structure built of local limestone, was opened in 1769. It replaced a pre-existing ferry and its construction was funded by the Earl of Abingdon.[1] The bridge is governed by its own Act of Parliament.[2] It allows the bridge owner to collect tolls and makes the building of bridges across the river illegal for three miles either way up or down stream from Swinford. By repute, the owners do not pay tax on the revenue from the tolls as a perquisite from King George III. It is one of the two remaining toll bridges that cross the Thames upstream of London, the other being Whitchurch Bridge.

In 1835 tolls for pedestrians over Swinford bridge were abolished.[3] Pedal cycles and motorcycles are also exempt from tolls. Other classes of traffic remain subject to tolls, which are £0.05 in the case of cars. Despite this small toll there is (as of 2006) a campaign to make it toll-free.[4] Oxfordshire Council estimates that 10,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day.[5] Toll collection causes significant delays and air pollution. An online poll in 2006 on the Witney Gazette website showed that 87.5% of voters wanted the tolls scrapped.

The bridge was put up for sale in 2009[6][7] and was sold at auction on 3 December for £1.08 million.[8][9] A campaign calling for Oxfordshire Council to buy the bridge[10][7] was unsuccessful.

See also


  1. Fred. S. Thacker The Thames Highway: Volume II Locks and Weirs 1920 - republished 1968 David & Charles
  2. An Act for building a Bridge cross the River Thames, from Swinford, in the County of Berks, to Eynsham, in the County of Oxford, 7 George III, c. 63. dated 1767 (Ref No HL/PO/PU/1/1767/7G3n22).
  3. Crossley, Alan; Elrington, C.R. (eds); Baggs, A.P.; W.J., Blair; Chance, Eleanor Chance; Colvin, Christina; Cooper, Janet; Day, C.J. et al. (1990). A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 12: Wootton Hundred (South) including Woodstock. Victoria County History of the Counties of England. pp. 98–110. ISBN 0-19-722774-0. 
  4. Witney Gazette, 26 April 2006
  5. Scrap the Toll on Swinford Bridge in Oxfordshire
  6. Daily Mail retrieved 16 November 2009
  7. 7.0 7.1 Qureshi, Huma (2009-11-17). "Tax-free Thames toll bridge for sale". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group). https://www.theguardian.com/money/2009/nov/17/swinford-toll-bridge-for-sale. Retrieved 2011-07-13. "Swinford toll bridge near the village of Eynsham in Oxfordshire is for sale at auction with a guide price of £1m-£1.25m. [...] Toll charges on the bridge were last raised in 1994, but local residents are calling for the charges to be scrapped." 
  8. Turner, Lauren (2009-12-03). "The 5p toll bridge is sold for £1.08m". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/the-5p-toll-bridge-is-sold-for-pound108m-1833601.html. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  9. Allsop auction catalogue
  10. Vennin, Loic (2009-12-02). "English bridge for sale amid toll rumpus". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/6710397/English-bridge-for-sale-amid-toll-rumpus.html. Retrieved 2011-07-13. "Tomlinson wants the local government authority, the Oxfordshire county council, to buy the bridge [...]" 

Further reading

  • de Villiers, E. (1969). Swinford Toll Bridge 1769-1969. Eynsham: Eynsham History Group. 

Outside links

Bridges and crossings on the River Thames
Newbridge Hart's Weir Footbridge Pinkhill Lock Swinford Toll Bridge A34 Road Bridge Godstow Bridge Medley Footbridge