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Round House

The Round House, Toll-House, Newmarket Road

The History of the Round House

Royal Commission Survey of Cambridge 1959: the Round House, former toll-house, on the N side of Newmarket Road, originally of one storey … the decision to build a new toll-house at the end of the turnpike at the ‘Paper Mills’ is recorded in the Cambridge Chronicle 29 Aug. 1828. 

1817: it was reported in the Cambridge Chronicle 26.9.1817 a farmer of Little Wilbraham was riding home from Cambridge market when he was attacked and robbed of nearly £100 on the outskirts of town, not far from Alderman Burleigh’s house.

1849: in the Cambridge Independent Press 5.5.1849 there was reported the courageous story of the Mrs Page who with her daughters kept the toll-house on the Newmarket Road.

A Heroine

On Thursday night, about 12 o’clock, Mrs. Page and her two daughters, who reside at the Paper Mills Turnpike Gate, saw two or three suspicious looking men loitering near the turnpike ; two Bottisham gentlemen afterwards came up, and Mrs. Page informed them the of the circumstances; they remained with her some time, and eventually left, fancying that a tempest was coming over, and that her suspicions were unfounded. About half-past one o’clock, an excellent time for an attack on the house, in as much as no mail cart would go through for an hour, a voice called “Gate” and Mrs. Page proceeded to open the door. There are to the house, a door and a half-door, the latter being outside ; and as soon as Mrs. Page opened the door, she was confronted by two men ; one had large stick, and without waiting to see if she would open the half-door he struck at her head. She drew back and the blow struck her below the neck, which was well protected by a thick shawl; she endeavoured to retreat and close the door, but the ruffian forced the stick in and prevented her. One of Mrs. Page’s daughters, a perfect heroine, seized two pistols loaded with large shot, and requested the assailants to depart or she would shoot them. Affecting to despise a woman’s threats, the fellow continued to force the door with his stick, when the bold maiden placed the muzzle of a pistol underneath the stick, and fired ; the stick dropped, the hand that held it evidently being rendered powerless, either by wounds in the arm or body—a groan followed ; and there being now no obstruction to closing the door it was speedily fastened, and no further attempt was made to molest the inmates ; nor has anything been heard of the villains, although it is suspected they passed through the gate the next day. 

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