Ancient Monuments

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Multi-span bridge called Clapper Bridge 520m SSW of Freeres Farm

A Scheduled Monument in St. Mellion, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4639 / 50°27'49"N

Longitude: -4.3236 / 4°19'24"W

OS Eastings: 235180.455763

OS Northings: 65251.094387

OS Grid: SX351652

Mapcode National: GBR NM.N58G

Mapcode Global: FRA 17TT.RF4

Entry Name: Multi-span bridge called Clapper Bridge 520m SSW of Freeres Farm

Scheduled Date: 16 January 1953

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004482

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 368

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Mellion

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Mellion

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a multi-span bridge over the River Lynher, known as Clapper Bridge. The bridge survives as a four-arched bridge with parapets and cutwaters with refuges above on the west side. Three of the arches are gently curved and the fourth has a flat granite lintel on the south side. The bridge was initially built from clapper stones which were incorporated into a 16th century rebuilding with 19th century additions. In 1480 during the Wars of the Roses, the Lancastrian Richard Edgcumbe of Cotehele referred to a problem encounter at 'Klaper Brygge' with Richard Willoughby, later Lord Broke of Callington. Norden also recorded it as 'Clayper Bridge' in 1584.

The bridge is Listed Grade II (61319).

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-436673

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Multi-span bridges are structures of two or more arches supported on piers. They were constructed throughout the medieval period for the use of pedestrians and packhorse or vehicular traffic, crossing rivers or streams, often replacing or supplementing earlier fords. During the early medieval period timber was used, but from the 12th century stone (and later brick) bridges became more common, with the piers sometimes supported by a timber raft. Most stone or brick bridges were constructed with pointed arches, although semicircular and segmental examples are also known. A common medieval feature is the presence of stone ashlar ribs underneath the arch. The bridge abutments and revetting of the river banks also form part of the bridge. Where medieval bridges have been altered in later centuries, original features are sometimes concealed behind later stonework, including remains of earlier timber bridges. The roadway was often originally cobbled or gravelled. The building and maintenance of bridges was frequently carried out by the church and by guilds, although landowners were also required to maintain bridges. From the mid-13th century the right to collect tolls, known as pontage, was granted to many bridges, usually for repairs; for this purpose many urban bridges had houses or chapels on them, and some were fortified with a defensive gateway. The original clapper bridge, built from large slabs of stone is still thought to be contained within the structure of the present bridge, and is a significant survival of this early bridge type. The later rebuilding and elaboration of the bridge demonstrate its continuing importance and add to its interest.

Source: Historic England

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