Ancient Monuments

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Packhorse bridge, Northbeck

A Scheduled Monument in Scredington, Lincolnshire

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Latitude: 52.9545 / 52°57'16"N

Longitude: -0.3685 / 0°22'6"W

OS Eastings: 509704.455063

OS Northings: 340922.092214

OS Grid: TF097409

Mapcode National: GBR GSK.PNT

Mapcode Global: WHGKF.9ZSX

Entry Name: Packhorse bridge, Northbeck

Scheduled Date: 11 April 1939

Last Amended: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018396

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22739

County: Lincolnshire

Civil Parish: Scredington

Traditional County: Lincolnshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lincolnshire

Church of England Parish: Scredington St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Lincoln


The monument includes a packhorse bridge located at Northbeck in the parish
of Scredington. Situated adjacent to the present ford, it is a small two-span
bridge constructed of limestone ashlar with a road surface of limestone
rubble. It is believed to be medieval in origin and has been altered in the
20th century by the addition of concrete supports. Also included in the
scheduling are parts of the adjacent banks which contain further remains of
the associated road surface. The bridge is also Listed Grade II.

The North Beck runs from west to east through Scredington. The small stone
bridge spans the beck at the hamlet of Northbeck, approximately 0.5km north of
the parish church. Aligned on a roughly north-south axis, the bridge is about
8m long and 3m wide and curves slightly westward at its northern end. It is
composed of two semicircular arches, each about 3m in width. The sides of the
bridge and the arches are constructed of dressed limestone blocks. The water
now passes under the arches through prefabricated concrete channels which have
been inserted during the 20th century to support both ends of the bridge and
the central pier. These supports are included in the scheduling.

The road surface of the bridge takes the form of rough cobbles constructed of
pitched limestone rubble. This surface extends over the banks at each end of
the bridge and these areas are also included in the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

The packhorse bridge at Northbeck survives well as a standing structure. It
is rare in being one of only a few packhorse bridges remaining in
Lincolnshire, and as such it represents a valuable indicator of the economy
and social organisation which distinguished the region in a particular
historical period.
As a result of consolidation in modern times, it now has a role as a public
monument and amenity.

Source: Historic England

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