Milestones were introduced into Britain (though not Mann) by the Romans - the word mile comes from 'mille' (thousand) paces of 1640 yards.

The illustration is from one in Carlisle Museum. The stone carries the name of the Emperor who in this case was a usurper who was executed and the stone turned over and the new Emperor's name inscribed .

Roman Milestone

Old Milestone

An English Act of Parliament of 1754 required that trustees of turnpikes (for which tolls were charged) erect milestones at roughly one mile intervals though it was many years before all such roads had milestones. A previous act of 1698 required them to be erected at all crossroads.

In 1798 John Feltham wrote "The roads are good; on the latter [road from Douglas to Castletown] milestones are placed, the only road so adorned" . These milestones supposedly utilised spare stone left over from building the Red-Pier in Douglas in 1793.

A slightly different style can be seen in this milestone 1 mile outside of Peel

old style mk2

with heritage marker

The adjacent modern mile stone has been honoured by a millennium heritage marker.

Airey in his notes to the Manx Society reprint of Feltham in 1861 adds "If our milestones can indeed be called adornments, every road of any consequence in the Island is now 'so adorned'."

However the older milestones have now mostly disappeared and the newer and quite distinctive Manx milestones can now be seen on most roads.

current Manx Milestone

replica on Douglas harbour bridge

A replica of an early Manx milestone has recently been placed near the new lifting bridge (and half tide barrage) at Douglas.

Since writing this page the family of the late Stuart Slack have issued a book using his text with many excellent photographs

S. Slack Manx Milestones Douglas: Manx Experience 2003 (ISBN 1-873120-58-3

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see for various UK designs

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefullyreceived The Editor
© F.Coakley , 2001