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12 Jan 2022

The College Archives present many surprising secrets, some of which require researching at different periods in history in order to fully understand and catalogue – like now! In a box labelled ‘Master’s Photos 2014-15’ are 16 colour photographs of Trinity Hall milestones. They show milestones on the old London Road, from Cambridge to Barkway, all of which carry the Trinity Hall crescent. The first is on Trumpington Road facing Brooklands Avenue, and the last 16 miles away in Barkway village. You may already know about the Trinity Hall milestones, but if not, read on…

The milestones were the creation of William Warren, and he describes how he measured out the miles, and then commissioned and set the stones between 1725 and 1740, in his history of the College which he compiled and prefaced in 1730. The history was never completed and he retired from the College in 1743 and died in Kent in 1744. Warren’s Book was subsequently collated, edited and completed by Alfred Dale much later, in 1910 (Dale had migrated as an undergraduate from Trinity College to Trinity Hall in 1877, and was a tutor here from 1899).

William Warren arrived at Trinity Hall to study Law in 1700. Ordained in 1709, he was elected Fellow in 1712, and in 1717 admitted to the degree of Doctor of Law. He became Bursar and was also Vice-Master at a time when the Master, Nathaniel Lloyd, was not permanently lodged in the College, so his duties probably covered those of the absent Master. The idea of creating the milestones was in line with a responsibility the College had assumed in maintaining the roads and pathways (causeways) leading into Cambridge. The ‘Causey Accounts’ were inaugurated by Dr Mouse (later referred to as Mowse). Robert Hare was Mouse’s executor, a Fellow of Gonville Hall who continued to donate to the fund. Mouse died in 1588 and Hare in 1611. Later Causey accounts from 1743 to 1849 can be accessed in the College archives.

Warren’s history of the College is detailed in terms of its early lists of benefactors, properties and accounts, Masters and Fellows, and Latin inscriptions on its earliest College charters and documents. His own account of the erection of the milestones is very detailed:

‘July 2, 1725. I took two men along with me, & with a Chain of 66 feet in Length, we measur’d five miles from the Southwest Buttress of Great St Maries Church Steeple in Cambridge towards Barkway…’

A circular engraving on the south side of the Great St Mary’s still marks the starting point. After the miles had been measured, Warren commissioned the carving from various stonemasons, as shown in the table below.

‘The 1st stone has Dr Mouse’s Arms, and 16th stone has Mr Hare’s…Stones 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 are small stones with only the miles cut… Stones 5, 10 & 15 have “Miles to Cambridge AD MDCCXXV” cut in them.’

Warren set small stones on the right hand side of the road as one leaves Cambridge, at each mile, and then between 1728 and 1730 replaced the small stones with taller Portland stones. The 16th and final stone in Barkway village was set on the anniversary of the birth of Charles II and the restoration of the monarchy, on 29th May 1728.

Warren’s Milestones

1. Road to Barkway

Measuring Cutting Story £ s d
1725/07/02 Measured from Great St Mary’s 5 miles to Barkway 00 03 00
1st – 5th milestones erected
1725/10/29 Paid Mr Woodward for the 5 mile stone and for cutting letters on the others 02 12 00
1726/04/29 Paid for measuring 5 miles further 00 03 00
6th – 10th stones and also the stone directing the road to Royston erected
1726/08/06 Paid Mr Woodward for the 10th stone and erected the 6th– 9th 00 03 00
6th – 10th milestones and the stone directing the road to Royston erected
1727/05/02 Paid Henry Bridges & Thos: Milton (who had measured the former miles) for measuring the 11th – 16th milestones measured 00 05 00
Paid Mr Woodward for the 15th stone, and for erecting the 11th – 14th stones 03 10 00


Date Story
1728/04/25 1st milestone a larger stone replaced smaller one
1728/05/29 16th stone in Barkway (on the anniversary of birth of Charles II and Restoration)
1729/05/06 11th and 3rd milestones erected replacing smaller ones
1729/05/29 4th milestone set up to replace a smaller one
1730/05/29 6th, 7th, 8th & 9th milestones replacing smaller ones
1731/08/25 11th & 12th milestones between Fowlmere & Barley
1732/10/04 13th & 14th milestones replacing smaller ones
1732/10/19 Great St Mary’s steeple buttress marker cut

A further five milestones were erected on Huntingdon Road, and ten on the road to Haverhill, and the project completed in 1740.

2. Road to Haverhill

Measuring Erecting Story
1731/05/11 To Gogmagog hills
1736/09/23 4 miles further on towards Haverhill
1736/10/26 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th milestones erected
1740/08/02 5 more miles measured and 6th – 10th stones erected


3. Huntingdon Road

Measuring Erecting Story
1735/05/15 1st  mile measured
1735/05/19 2nd – 5th miles measured
1735/05/29 5 stones erected

During World War 2, when signposts were removed in anticipation of a German invasion, the stones were carefully taken out and laid down in the ground. They were re-erected in 1946.In 2005 several College Fellows cycled the route to Barkway to check that the milestones were all present and correct, and the photographs in the ‘Master’s Photographs 2014-15’ box were probably taken then. However, that was 17 years ago and it would be useful to check they were still there. A new milestone was cut at the Cardozo Kindersley workshop and erected in the beech hedge on Storey’s Way in 2006 to commemorate the completion of the Wychfield buildings. The term ‘milestones’ has further meaning to the College, being used for various fundraising schemes. For example, the ‘Milestones to the Future’ project was launched in June 2006 to finance the regeneration of rooms in the central College site and bolster the College Endowment fund. Fundraising and philanthropy have always been, right from the beginning, an integral part of the College’s existence, and account for many of its successes.

Top image: Four Trinity Hall milestones to Barkway. The stones all bear the Trinity Hall crescent. The first also bears the arms of Dr Mouse and the last, the arms of Mr Hare. Mouse and Hare kept the ‘Causey Accounts’, philanthropic donations to maintain paths and roads into Cambridge.


Crawley, C., Trinity Hall,  CUP 1976 & 1992

Warren, W., Warren’s Book, ed. Dale, A., 1910

Front Row, Issue 13, Summer 2007

Causey Accounts, 1743 – 1849, THAR/2/2/7, College Archives