Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Baysdale Abbey Bridge, 460m east of Baysdale Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Westerdale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4526 / 54°27'9"N

Longitude: -1.0446 / 1°2'40"W

OS Eastings: 462041.278945

OS Northings: 506774.608192

OS Grid: NZ620067

Mapcode National: GBR PJ4Y.MN

Mapcode Global: WHF8S.XBQX

Entry Name: Baysdale Abbey Bridge, 460m east of Baysdale Farm

Scheduled Date: 13 August 1982

Last Amended: 15 July 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021020

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34723

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Westerdale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Westerdale Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a single arched bridge across Black Beck that was
originally built to provide access to a Cistercian priory, the site of
which is now occupied by a farm, Baysdale Abbey. The bridge is Listed
Grade II*.

The Priory of St Mary was granted land in Baysdale by Guy de Bovincourt,
and the community of nuns moved here in circa 1189 from Nunthorpe.
Baysdale Abbey Bridge is believed to have been built in the following
century to provide access to the priory from the north. After the priory
was suppressed in 1539, the bridge continued in use for Baysdale Abbey,
the farm that replaced the priory.

The single arch is two-centred, built in finely dressed ashlar and is
supported by four ribs that spring from a roughly coursed plinth. The side
walls are less finely dressed and may be a later cladding. The parapets,
of herringbone tooled stone, are thought to be 17th or 18th century
additions to the bridge. Marking the base of each parapet is a
roll-moulded band. The deck of the bridge is tarmaced, with the parapets
protected by modern kerbing.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling: these are the
telephone cables running along the outside faces of the bridge, the modern
surfacing and kerbing, as well as the modern fences and gate that lie
within the 2m margin around the structure of the bridge. The ground
beneath all these features is, however, 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.

Baysdale Abbey Bridge, 460m east of Baysdale Farm is a rare surviving
medieval bridge. The later modifications add to its interest and its
association with Baysdale Priory also adds to its significance.

Source: Historic England

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