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Kelso, Bridge Street, Bridge End Cottage

Toll House (19th Century)

Site Name Kelso, Bridge Street, Bridge End Cottage

Classification Toll House (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Kelso Bridge, Tollhouse; River Tweed

Canmore ID 145876

Site Number NT73SW 110

NGR NT 72823 33669

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Kelso
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Roxburgh
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Accessing Scotland's Past Project

The existing bridge over the River Tweed at Kelso, dating from around 1800, replaced an earlier bridge that was weakened by a storm in 1797 and collapsed the following day. Unlike the old bridge, the new crossing was equipped with a toll-gate, and a toll-house.

John Rennie of Haddington designed both the bridge and toll-house, which lies on the Kelso side of the crossing. Rennie's single-storeyed toll-house with basement was built in the Classical style popular at the time and reflected that of the bridge itself.

While much admired by the people of Kelso, the new bridge had cost #17,800, with #15,000 borrowed from the government. To repay the loan, tolls had to be levied. Over 50 years later there was growing dissatisfaction amongst the people of Kelso about the tolls, and a belief that the loan had long since been repaid. The refusal of the trust managing the bridge to publish any accounts, as well as provocative reporting by the local press, sparked riots in Kelso that led to an assault on the wooden toll-gates. Such was the situation that soldiers were summoned from Edinburgh to bolster the burgh police and order was eventually restored although none of the leaders of the riot were ever identified. The end of 1854 finally saw the abolition of the tolls.

Text prepared by RCAHMS as part of the Accessing Scotland's Past project

Architecture Notes

NT73SW 110 72823 33669

Formerly entered as NT 0000 984.

For associated Kelso Bridge (adjacent to S), see NT73SW 64.01.

Bridge End Cottage [NAT]

OS (GIS) MasterMap, July 2010.

The tollhouse was designed by John Rennie, engineer and was presumably built in 1800-1803. It is now in use as a dwelling, and named Bridge End Cottage.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

(Location cited as NT 728 336). Kelso Bridge and tollhouse. The tollhouse is a delightful single-storey 3-bay building in the same style as the adajcent Kelso Bridge (NT73SW 64.01).

J R Hume 1976

The Toll-House stands one-storey to the carriageway, three-storey to the river.

C A Strang 1994.


Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding building.

Information from Scottish Borders Council.


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