Ancient Monuments

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Hunter's Sty Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Westerdale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4466 / 54°26'47"N

Longitude: -0.9795 / 0°58'46"W

OS Eastings: 466271.642483

OS Northings: 506165.076692

OS Grid: NZ662061

Mapcode National: GBR PKL0.QS

Mapcode Global: WHF8T.XHQJ

Entry Name: Hunter's Sty Bridge

Scheduled Date: 21 July 1934

Last Amended: 15 July 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021021

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34724

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 over the River Esk, just
beyond the northern end of the village of Westerdale.

Hunter's Sty Bridge is thought to date from the late 13th century and to
have been built to provide access to the Royal Forest of Pickering;
`hunter's sty' meaning `hunter's steep path.' It was restored in 1874 by
Octavius Duncombe, son of the first Baron Feversham.

The single arch is segmental with a span of nearly 6m and has a double
arch ring, the outer ring extending outwards as a moulded drip course. The
arch is supported by four ribs that spring from ribbed abutments. The
deck, which is nearly 3m wide, is slabbed, the stones being supported
directly on the arch ribs below. The outer faces of the abutments have the
appearance of being encased in later stonework, finished as rock faced
ashlar, possibly dating to the 1874 restoration. The parapets over the
arch, and the capping of the parapets above the abutments are also built
in ashlar, but of a smoother, pockmarked finish. On the outer faces of the
parapets, above the crown of the arch, there are two carved panels. The
one facing upstream, eastwards, carries the crest of the Duncombe family,
the downstream panel having a raised inscription: "This ancient Bridge was
restored by Colonel the Honorable O.Duncombe A.D.1874."

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.

Hunter's Sty Bridge is a good example of a ribbed medieval bridge, and
despite 19th century restoration, will retain important evidence of the
original medieval construction.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Jervoise, E, Ancient Bridges of Northern England, (1931)
R H Fox, Packhorse Bridges of England, 1974, Unpublished manuscript

Source: Historic England

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