The Foolish Milestone
The Monday Photo
I thought this might have been just another milestone, but there’s something strange about it.
The nearest similar milestone, like most, is set at 45 degree angle to the highway. It says “London 39” twice, on both the faces that can be seen from the road. On one of those faces it also says “Missenden 8”, on the other, “Aylesbury 1”
But this milestone is square to the lane, and only engraved on the front face. It seems to say:
As it’s five miles from that other milestone, I think it once read:
If you don’t know Roman numerals, L = 50, X = 10, V = 5, and I = 1; there are other numerals. But the X is before the L, so that means 50 - 10; 40. The I before the V means 5 - 1; 4. So XLIV is 44 miles.
If instead the I was after the V to make VI, that would be 6; so XLVI is 46. I’ll do a post another day fully explaining Roman numerals.
There seem to be no other markings anywhere on this milestone, and no local examples use Roman numerals or say “miles to”; they just give a place name and a number.
This stone is also on a back lane that doesn’t seem to have been a turnpike, though it goes between a couple of them. Other than that the lane just goes between two small villages. Why would it be placed here? Well, it’s a private lane now, though there’s public footpath access along it.
The lane is the drive to the late 19th Century Eythrope Pavilion; I believe the stone was placed by the lane as a curiosity. Like Dinton Castle, it’s a folly.
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