The following is an extract from DerehamHistory.Com
“… To mitigate this injustice the turnpike system was evolved. Trusts were set up and appointed with powers to levy tolls from road users to be used for financing repairs. This required an Act of Parliament which, in respect of the Norwich-Swaffham turnpike, was passed in 1770.
Tollgates were set up at Etling Green, to the east of the town, and near the old gravel pit in Scarning to the west. There is an excellent chapter on the working of this system in Boston and Purdy’s “History of Dereham” and the following items augment their account.
Pikekeepers were initially appointed by the Trustees to collect the tolls, but human nature being what it is, before long some of the money was finding its way into the pikekeepers’ pockets. This led to the practice of ‘Letting the Gate’ or ‘Farming the Tolls’ for a fixed sum over a certain period, usually one or three years. This was regularised in an Act of 1773. The Etling Gate was let in 1781 for £137 and the Scarning Gate for £166.
Turnpike Trustees in some cases provided milestones. The massive and uniform stones along the old A47 from Norwich to Swaffham come from this source, but only two remain in the Parish of Dereham, and these, and the tollgate cottage at Etling Green, are the only visual reminders of the Turnpike.
The Tollage at Etling Green has windows at either side, giving views of the road in both directions. There is a gravestone in Dereham churchyard in memory of John Clarke, died 1827 aged 56, ‘many years the keeper of the Scarning Toll’.
Though the Scarning Gate stood less than a quarter mile, as the crow flies, from Dereham Parish Church, such are the peculiarities of the parish boundaries, that it actually was in Scarning. It stood near the bottom of Swaffham Hill.”