Ancient Monuments

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Single-span bridge called Horse Bridge 260m WSW of Chase Hill House

A Scheduled Monument in Wickwar, South Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.5984 / 51°35'54"N

Longitude: -2.3944 / 2°23'39"W

OS Eastings: 372774.456745

OS Northings: 188909.269184

OS Grid: ST727889

Mapcode National: GBR 0MR.MH4

Mapcode Global: VH95M.G300

Entry Name: Single-span bridge called Horse Bridge 260m WSW of Chase Hill House

Scheduled Date: 27 May 1975

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004520

English Heritage Legacy ID: SG 164

County: South Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Wickwar

Built-Up Area: Wickwar

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Kingswood St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a single-span bridge which crosses the Little Avon River, close to its confluence with the Saltmoors Ditch, just to the north east of the settlement of Wickwar. The bridge survives as a fully standing stone-built structure with a single rounded arch and plain parapets which still carries vehicular traffic.

A bridge was mentioned at this location, called 'Horseforde Bridge', in a document of 1363 and it is shown on a 17th century estate map. A watching brief carried out in 2005 suggested the original medieval bridge site was probably slightly further to the south (upstream) and suggested an 18th or 19th century date for the current construction, possibly indicated by the presence of a date stone bearing the legend '1815' although this could also refer to a campaign of repair.

Sources: PastScape 205105
South Gloucestershire HER 2065 and 14877

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval and early post-medieval single span bridges are structures designed to carry a road or track over a river by means of a single arch, typically 3m- 6m in span. They were constructed throughout the medieval period, most commonly using timber. Stone began to be used instead of timber in the 12th century and became increasingly common in the 14th and 15th centuries. Many medieval bridges were repaired, modified or extensively rebuilt in the post- medieval period. During the medieval period the construction and maintenance of bridges was frequently carried out by large estates and the Church, especially monastic institutions which developed long distance packhorse routes between their landholdings. Some stone built medieval bridges still survive. These can be classified into three main types based on the profile of the arch which is typically pointed, semi-circular or flattened. 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. Bridges were common and important features of medieval towns and the countryside and allowed easy access along a well developed road and track way system. The single-span bridge called Horse Bridge 260mWSW of Chase Hill House survives well and may retain features of an earlier bridge in its construction and indicates the continued importance of the river crossing in this location through time.

Source: Historic England

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