FROM THOMAS PICKEN’S PAPERS

‘A relic of Newport’s Old Corporation

Through the courtesy of a friend I have been shown a most interesting article connected with the history of our ancient town in times long past.

A thick Copper bowl of fluid capacity of one and a half pint. The inside painted a brilliant red and on this the letters of Gold use the words “Ancient Newport Toll Metre”. In olden days the Burgesses of Newport by Royal Charter for the repairs of the streets and other matters had the privilege of market and fair days of exacting toll from all kinds of produce and merchandise brought into the town.  A very old inhabitant long passed away informed me that he could remember when sacks of Wheat, Barley, Oats, Groats, Oatmeal and other produce from the neighbouring farmers was exposed for sale in the streets, looked after by the wives of the owners and mostly placed in the square at the top part of Wm Adams old Town Hall opposite what is now known as Stafford Street.’

The History Society members are not clear why a bowl should have the words ‘Toll metre’ on it. Anyone have any ideas?