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Panters Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in St. Neot, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4831 / 50°28'59"N

Longitude: -4.5964 / 4°35'47"W

OS Eastings: 215896.432949

OS Northings: 68025.034266

OS Grid: SX158680

Mapcode National: GBR N8.LTC6

Mapcode Global: FRA 178S.74T

Entry Name: Panters Bridge

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1928

Last Amended: 6 December 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020894

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15562

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Neot

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Neot

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a later medieval bridge known as Panters Bridge,
crossing the River Bedalder 2.5m west of St Neot in south east Cornwall.
The present bridge largely dates to the early 15th century but its western
abutment incorporates an abutment from an earlier phase. Panters Bridge is
a Listed Building Grade II*.
Panters Bridge spans the River Bedalder, north east-south west, by two
arches as the river flows through the dissected terrain south of Bodmin
Moor. It lies at a point where a small tributary stream joins the river
from the west, immediately upstream from the bridge. The arches are
slightly pointed, each about 4.25m across and with double arch rings of
slate, the inner slightly recessed from the outer. The arches spring from
a relatively low level above the riverbed on both the pier and abutments,
with the abutment walls carrying the bridge across both riverbanks for
several metres. The pier separating the arches is about 2.5m wide with
pointed cutwaters, the cutwater faces continued into the parapet as
triangular refuges alongside the road at the highest point of the bridge.
Elsewhere, the sides of the bridge rise above the carriageway as parapets
about 0.3m wide and from 0.45m-0.9m high, continuing also above the
abutments and reducing in height: the north western parapet, 22.4m long,
terminates on the abutments at each end while that on the south east,
44.5m long, extends beyond them to flank the approaches to the bridge.
Most of the masonry facing the arches, pier and abutments is of slatestone
rubble, together with a small proportion of granite slabs. Variations in
the size and thickness of slate rubble and amount of granite content in
the wall fabric reveal some patches and areas of later rebuild, for
example along the outer face of the south east parapet over the south
western abutment and part of the adjacent south western arch. The parapets
have iron-cramped granite coping slabs, varying considerably in length and
thickness; most have a slight chamfer along each upper edge but some are
flat-topped or rounded in section. The lowermost metre of the south
western abutment's southern face incorporates the south east side of an
earlier bridge abutment, visible as a wall of coursed large granite blocks
now bonded into the face of the 15th century abutment but projecting up to
0.4m from it. The wall ends abruptly as a rough edge facing the river,
from which it slopes south west, visible for 5.5m before fading into the
rising bank with its wall-courses dipping more steeply than the slope of
the later bridge parapet and carriageway. The bridge's carriageway
narrows to 2.6m wide alongside the refuges above the pier. From there its
width increases slightly to 3m over the abutment faces, then it flares
along both approaches to the bridge, reaching 8m wide by the south western
end of the south east parapet. The north east abutment and approach curve
eastward, the carriageway enlarging to 6.7m wide but reduced again to 5m
wide by the low wall of a small enclosure, largely beyond this scheduling,
opposite the end of the south east parapet.
Although on a minor road in the modern highway network, Panters Bridge is
situated on the medieval main route linking the important market towns of
Liskeard and Bodmin. The present bridge has a form and construction
typical of the early 15th century, bearing close similarities to other
bridges of that date elsewhere in south west England, including parts of
another bridge, Treverbyn Bridge, 4.5km to the east along the same route
and documented as being rebuilt in 1412-13: as here, that bridge also
retains parts of its stone-built predecessor.
Panters Bridge appears in the name of a nearby tin working site, the
`Pontwysebrygge work' documented in 1514, this earlier form of the name
also preserved as `Pontwise Bridge' in a document of 1613 reciting the
Bounds of St Neot Parish. It has also been considered that the name may
originate in the `Pontiesu' place-name included in a charter of 1241,
though if so that would relate to a predecessor of the present bridge. The
road carried by Panters Bridge lost its importance in the early 19th
century when it was replaced by a new, more direct, turnpike road 2.75km
to the south, passing through the Glynn Valley, the A38 trunk road in the
modern network. By the mid-20th century, the bridge had become totally
unsuited for the growing quantity and size of traffic even on such minor
roads. Consequently in 1968 it was replaced by a new bridge, beyond this
scheduling, which crosses the river about 15m downstream, leaving the
medieval bridge used only by pedestrian and light traffic.
The modern sign, its granite plinth, all modern fencing and railing, and
the telegraph pole and its guys and fittings 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.

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.

Panters Bridge survives very well, retaining its medieval structure
extensively intact with only limited later alteration mostly attributable
to necessary maintenance of its fabric. The bridge is unusual in retaining
the visible remains of an earlier bridge abutment built into its fabric,
giving clear evidence for the medieval development of this bridging point.
The presence of Panters Bridge on what is now a minor road, and largely
by-passed by a modern bridge, illustrates the historical importance of
this route and the evolution of the highway network since the medieval

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Henderson, C, Coates, H, Old Cornish Bridges and Streams, (1928)
Henderson, C, Coates, H, Old Cornish Bridges and Streams, (1928)
Austin, D, Gerrard, G A M, Greeves, T A P, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Tin And Agriculture Landscape Archaeology In St Neot Parish, , Vol. 28, (1989), 5-251
Austin, D, Gerrard, G A M, Greeves, T A P, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Tin And Agriculture Landscape Archaeology In St Neot Parish, , Vol. 28, (1989), 5-251
Austin, D, Gerrard, G A M, Greeves, T A P, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Tin And Agriculture Landscape Archaeology In St Neot Parish, , Vol. 28, (1989), 5-251
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry PRN 17181 Panters Bridge, (2000)
List Entry for SX 16 NE St Neot 9/144 Panter's Bridge, (2001)
List Entry for SX 16 NE St Neot 9/144 Panter's Bridge, (2001)
Ministry of Works, AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 64 Panter's Bridge, 1928,
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map SX 16 NE
Source Date: 1983

Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map SX 26 NW
Source Date: 1983

Source: Historic England

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