Sunday, 3 April 2016

Red Posts

There are various theories about why some signposts were historically painted red: 
  • To help illiterate prison guards escorting convicts to ports for transportation to Australia to find their way to places to stay for the night.
  • To mark the site of a gallows or gibbet.  
However if either of these theories was right, wouldn't red posts be much more common than they are?

There are 3 red signposts that I am aware of in Somerset:
  1. On the A358 at the junction with unclassified roads to Crowcombe Heathfield and Triscombe.
  2. On the A39 at the junction with an unclassified road to West Luccombe
  3. On an unclassified road between Chard and Wambrook.
There is also a Red Post Cross on the A372 to the south of the village of Kingsdon. However there is no longer a red signpost there. 

A few other places, mainly in the West Country, also have red posts:

Dorset has three red posts:
  1. On the A31 between Bere Regis and Wimborne Minster at Winterbourne Tomson. There is a Botany Bay Barn half a mile to the south of this red post, which would support the theory of the prison guards escorting prisoners from Dorchester Jail to Portsmouth for transportion to Botany Bay in Australia.
  2. On the B3145 between Sherborne and Charlton Horethorne and to the south west of Poyntington
  3. On an unclassified road between Benville and Evershot, just to the east of Benville Bridge
Cornwall has one - It is located on the A3072 between Stratton and Holsworthy.

London has one in Dulwich.

Devon has a crossroads named Red Post Cross but there is no longer a red post there.  It is on the A381 between Totnes and Ipplepen.

The only Somerset red post that is painted entirely in red with white lettering is this one on a quiet narrow lane between Chard and Wambrook:

Red Post near Wambrook

 Red Post at the turning off the A39 for West Luccombe
This one could do with repainting.

 Red Post near Crowcombe Heathfield
This one could do with a clean!

This is one of the Dorset Red Posts 
 - the one between Evershot and Benville

1 comment:

  1. My understanding as a lad who grew up in Wambrook in the 1950s was that the red post between Chard and Wambrook was a place that Judge Jeffries carried out hangings possibly from the Monmouth Rebellion