Ancient Monuments

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Monk's Bridge 320m south east of Farthwaite

A Scheduled Monument in Ennerdale and Kinniside, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.479 / 54°28'44"N

Longitude: -3.446 / 3°26'45"W

OS Eastings: 306402.681064

OS Northings: 510260.948372

OS Grid: NY064102

Mapcode National: GBR 4JCN.R5

Mapcode Global: WH70N.1P95

Entry Name: Monk's Bridge 320m south east of Farthwaite

Scheduled Date: 5 March 1958

Last Amended: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016552

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27850

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Ennerdale and Kinniside

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Lamplugh St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes a post-medieval single span packhorse bridge over the
River Calder situated above a rocky gorge 120m north of High Wath Ford.
Although traditionally said to be a medieval structure associated with Calder
Abbey some 4km downstream, Monk's Bridge is thought to be have been either
constructed or rebuilt in the 17th or 18th centuries. It is built of roughly
dressed red sandstone blocks rising to a single slightly pointed arch spanning
approximately 5.5m. The pathway measures about 0.9m wide with alternate rows
of stone slabs projecting outwards. Monk's Bridge is a Grade II Listed
All stiles and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

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

Medieval and early post-medieval single span bridges are structures designed
to carry a road or track over a river by means of a single arch, typically 3m-
6m in span. They were constructed throughout the medieval period, most
commonly using timber. Stone began to be used instead of timber in the 12th
century and became increasingly common in the 14th and 15th centuries. Many
medieval bridges were repaired, modified or extensively rebuilt in the post-
medieval period. During the medieval period the construction and maintenance
of bridges was frequently carried out by large estates and the Church,
especially monastic institutions which developed long distance packhorse
routes between their landholdings. Some stone built medieval bridges still
survive. These can be classified into three main types based on the profile of
the arch which is typically pointed, semi-circular or flattened. 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. Bridges were common and important features of medieval
towns and the countryside and allowed easy access along a well developed road
and trackway system. However, only around 16 largely unaltered medieval single
span bridges have so far been recognised to survive in England. All these are
considered to be of national importance. A larger number retain significant
medieval or post-medieval remains, allowing the original form of the bridge to
be determined. These examples are also nationally important.

Despite being traditionally associated with nearby medieval Calder Abbey,
Monk's Bridge is thought to have been either constructed or rebuilt in the
17th or 18th centuries. It is, however, a good and relatively rare surviving
example of a simple single span packhorse bridge, a type common in the region
during the medieval and early post-medieval periods, with the arch high enough
above the water level to protect the bridge from rapidly rising flood waters
which are a characteristic of rivers draining the Lakeland fells.

Source: Historic England


AM7, Monks Bridge,
DOE, List of Buildings of Historic & Architectural Interest,

Source: Historic England

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