Ancient Monuments

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Haselbury Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Haselbury Plucknett, Somerset

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Latitude: 50.8957 / 50°53'44"N

Longitude: -2.7713 / 2°46'16"W

OS Eastings: 345850.689511

OS Northings: 110968.850502

OS Grid: ST458109

Mapcode National: GBR MH.RV0M

Mapcode Global: FRA 562Q.XVG

Entry Name: Haselbury Bridge

Scheduled Date: 31 May 1934

Last Amended: 5 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020497

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35305

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Haselbury Plucknett

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Church of England Parish: Haselbury Plucknett

Church of England Diocese: Bath and Wells


The monument includes the medieval Haselbury Bridge over the River Parrett
about 2.5km north east of Crewkerne. The stone-built bridge is believed to
date from the 14th century. It is built from local Ham stone ashlar and
has two pointed arches each with a 3m span and both formed with two
chamfered ribs. The arches are divided on both faces of the bridge by
projecting cutwater piers which are triangular in form and plain-topped.
The bridge is 4.1m wide including the parapet walls which are plain-topped
and stepped in height to accommodate the hill slope, and between 0.65m to
0.85m in height above the road surface. The parapet wall is splayed from
the south west corner to allow for the road junction and extends
southwards at the same height of 0.65m for approximately 3m and so forming
a revetment. The arches, cutwaters, and parapet walls, all appear to be of
one build from the same ashlar masonry. The bridge stands on the route of
the former Salisbury to Exeter road which had been established by 1675. It
once marked the boundary between the Chard and the Yeovil Turnpike Trusts
which were both formed in 1753 and more recently it marks the Haselbury
Plucknett and Merriott parish boundary.
The bridge is Listed Grade II*.
The modern road surfacing is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground and bridge fabric beneath it is included.

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 semicircular 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.

Haselbury Bridge survives particularly well in what is considered to be
its original form and retains its medieval masonry and features. Apart
from minor refurbishment there have been no known structural changes. The
bridge was constructed in a style which is rarely known in the west of
England and has been described by an historian and expert as the most
perfect medieval bridge in the region. It is believed to have been in
continual use since its original construction and it stands on a former
important routeway of the medieval period linking Exeter and Salisbury.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jervoise, E, The Ancient Bridges of the South of England, (1930), 98
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, (1958), 171

Source: Historic England

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