Ancient Monuments

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Waymarker and clapper bridge 130m south of Barbrook Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Holmesfield, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.2993 / 53°17'57"N

Longitude: -1.5875 / 1°35'15"W

OS Eastings: 427586.623284

OS Northings: 378120.940341

OS Grid: SK275781

Mapcode National: GBR KZC9.30

Mapcode Global: WHCCW.LB7H

Entry Name: Waymarker and clapper bridge 130m south of Barbrook Bridge

Scheduled Date: 23 May 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010183

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23341

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Holmesfield

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire

Church of England Parish: Dronfield St John Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Derby


The monument is situated on Big Moor in the East Moors of the Peak District
and includes a freestanding waymarker and the adjacent clapper bridge over Bar
Brook. The waymarker comprises a rough-hewn gritstone shaft of rectangular
section wedged into the ground by packing stones. At the base it measures 45cm
north-south by 24cm east-west but tapers to 30cm by 15cm at the top. It stands
145cm high and is undecorated. Clearly its main purpose was to mark the
location of the bridge for travellers crossing the moor. Probably it
originated as a wayside cross because, although there is no cross head, it is
broadly similar in dimensions and appearance to other wayside crosses on the
East Moors and is intervisible with a known wayside cross, known as Lady's
Cross, which lies c.400m upslope to the north west. The lack of a cross head
may be due to damage or may be a feature of the monument's simplicity. It
stands on the east bank of the brook 1m south of the clapper bridge which is
an antecedent of present day Barbrook Bridge. The clapper bridge consists of
two massive gritstone slabs of which the larger lies to the west, where it
straddles the main flow of the brook, and the smaller to the east where it
spans a narrower tributary. The former measures 55cm by 240cm and the latter
75cm by 155cm. Both are supported by drystone culverts, approximately 2m wide,
built into the banks of the stream. A sunken track extends between the bridge
and Lady's Cross and represents a medieval or post-medieval trail across the

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Clapper bridges are structures designed to carry trackways across rivers or
streams by means of one or more large flat slabs of rock either resting
directly on the river banks or supported on drystone piers. They were being
constructed and used from the late medieval period, around 1400, to the
19th century and were used both by pedestrians and pack-horse traffic. The
clapper bridge across Bar Brook is a well-preserved example located on an
ancient route across open moorland. Its association with a probable wayside
cross adds to its importance.
Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the
medieval period, mostly from the 9th to the 15th centuries AD. In addition to
reassuring the traveller and serving the function of reiterating and
reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross, wayside
crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and
otherwise unmarked terrain, and were found on regularly used routes linking
ordinary settlements and on routes having a more specifically religious
function, such as pilgrim routes and those used in funeral processions.
Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, most being found in Cornwall
and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small
group occurs on the North York Moors but relatively few examples have been
recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland
locations. Outside Cornwall, almost all wayside crosses take the form of a
Latin cross in which the cross head itself is shaped with the projecting arms
of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall, wayside crosses vary considerably in form
and decoration, with the commonest type including a round or `wheel' head on
the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were incised or
carved in relief. With this type, the spaces between the cross arms were
sometimes pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure
of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common
forms in Cornwall include the Latin cross and, much rarer, the simple slab
with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and
slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors group. Most wayside
crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate
base at all. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of
medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of
medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive
as earthfast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed
from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

Source: Historic England

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