Ancient Monuments

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Pill Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Ilchester, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.0077 / 51°0'27"N

Longitude: -2.714 / 2°42'50"W

OS Eastings: 350004.742985

OS Northings: 123392.067371

OS Grid: ST500233

Mapcode National: GBR MK.JXXK

Mapcode Global: FRA 566G.2HY

Entry Name: Pill Bridge

Scheduled Date: 17 November 1948

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006214

English Heritage Legacy ID: SO 186

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Ilchester

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


Multi span bridge called Pill Bridge.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 30 July 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a multi span bridge which crosses the River Yeo (Ivel) carrying the Pill Bridge Drove. The bridge survives as a stone built structure measuring approximately 16m long with three semi circular arches, two piers on each side, splayed abutments, parapets standing up to 1m high and a narrow 1.3m wide walkway. There are buried cobbled approaches to the bridge and a cobbled ford nearby. Pill Bridge was built in the 13th century although the present bridge is of 17th century date. The lessees of Brook Ilchester in 1530 agreed to maintain the bridge during their tenancy, and their successor in title was required to make repairs in the mid 18th century. In 1699 a warehouse was built close to the bridge together with a house. A building known as the ‘Pill Bridge House’ survived until around 1805. The Lockyer family are documented as leasing the house and warehouse and they took tolls from all traffic between their wharves below the bridge and the town of Ilchester until the end of the 18th century.

The bridge is Listed Grade II.

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 multi span bridge called Pill Bridge survives well and has an important place in the social and economic history of this area.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-196532

Source: Historic England

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