Ancient Monuments

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Multi-span bridge known as Respryn Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Lanhydrock, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4405 / 50°26'25"N

Longitude: -4.6781 / 4°40'40"W

OS Eastings: 209933.903693

OS Northings: 63494.325676

OS Grid: SX099634

Mapcode National: GBR N4.PQ5Q

Mapcode Global: FRA 172W.RB1

Entry Name: Multi-span bridge known as Respryn Bridge

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1928

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006701

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 63

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Lanhydrock

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Winnow with St Nectan's Chapel

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a multi-span bridge, crossing the River Fowey to the east of Lanhydrock House. The bridge survives as five-arched structure with the arches being of differing sizes, shapes and dates. The eastern arch is round-headed and dates to the 16th or 17th century; the second, of similar date, is wider and segmental. The central arch appears to be 15th century and is asymmetrical whilst the fourth and fifth arches are wider, constructed of coursed and dressed stone, and date to the 19th century. The bridge has four triangular refuges above the cutwaters on the upstream side, whilst on the downstream side there are only two refuges with cutwaters. The parapet walls are low with chamfered granite coping. The bridge measures approximately 40m long and 3m wide.
The pass at Respryn was one of the most strategically important in Cornwall and the name 'Res' refers to a ford which presumably predated the bridge itself. The earliest reference to a bridge here was in 1300, and there are charters of the 12th century which refer to the Chapel of St Martin standing at 'Richbrene'. Chapels were commonly associated with bridges as a means to collect taxes to pay for the upkeep of the bridge. Respryn Bridge was guarded by Royalists at the outbreak of the Civil War and played an important part in the Siege of Lostwithiel in 1644.
The bridge is Listed Grade II* (60642 and 67543).
It lies within the registered park of Lanhydrock (1417).

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-431472

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. 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 known as Respryn Bridge has early references and was of strategic importance over a considerable period of time. Its clear signs of constant repair and re-development highlight its important history for communication, transportation and social significance.

Source: Historic England

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