Ancient Monuments

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Malmsmead Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Oare, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.2159 / 51°12'57"N

Longitude: -3.7311 / 3°43'51"W

OS Eastings: 279193.054774

OS Northings: 147723.275465

OS Grid: SS791477

Mapcode National: GBR L5.3QM3

Mapcode Global: VH5JT.8PWR

Entry Name: Malmsmead Bridge

Scheduled Date: 17 February 1927

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006229

English Heritage Legacy ID: SO 35

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Oare

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Church of England Parish: Brendon St Brendon

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Multi span bridge called Malsmead Bridge.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 22 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 Badgworthy Water in the settlement of Malmsmead. The bridge survives as a stone built structure with two semicircular headed arches, central triangular cutwater buttresses on both sides, rubble coping to the parapets and splayed abutments. It dates to the 17th century and also crosses the county boundary between Devon and Somerset. It carries a road. A ford also crosses the river beside the bridge but this is not included in the scheduling.

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 Malsmead Bridge survives well and retains its original features and form despite restoration through a long period of continued use as a vehicular bridge.

Source: Historic England

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