Ancient Monuments

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Devil's Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.1984 / 54°11'54"N

Longitude: -2.5909 / 2°35'27"W

OS Eastings: 361547.85032

OS Northings: 478236.108774

OS Grid: SD615782

Mapcode National: GBR BMBW.WR

Mapcode Global: WH94P.5QHS

Entry Name: Devil's Bridge

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1922

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007209

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 180

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Kirkby Lonsdale

Built-Up Area: Kirkby Lonsdale

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Kirkby Lonsdale Team Ministry

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


Devil’s Bridge.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 01 March 2016. 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.

The monument includes a multi span bridge of later medieval date, spanning the River Lune north east of Kirkby Lonsdale. The bridge is constructed from coursed dressed square stone blocks and has three unequal segmental arches, each with four large ribs and three chamfers. The bridge is topped by a parapet with a single string course and two semi-octagonal refuges on either side, which stand above two piers with triangular cutwaters. At the east end of the bridge a sundial bears an inscription with the date of 1663, however the bridge is understood to have been constructed in the 15th century or early 16th century. A grant of pontage was given for the site in 1275 and 1365; the current bridge was built to replace these earlier bridges. The bridge originally carried the Kendal to Skipton road but was relieved by a new bridge in the 1930s. Devil's Bridge is a listed building at Grade I.

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 semi-circular 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. Medieval multi span bridges must have been numerous throughout England, but most have been rebuilt or replaced and less than 200 examples are now known to survive. As a rare monument type largely unaltered, surviving examples and examples that retain significant medieval and post- medieval fabric are considered to be of national importance.

Despite some repairs the Devil’s Bridge is well-preserved and is one of the finest examples of a later medieval bridge in northern England. The structure of the bridge, including its footings, will contain archaeological deposits relating to its construction and use. The monument is a good example of its type and it provides insight into the importance of transport networks and river crossings during the late medieval period.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:- 43977

Source: Historic England

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