Ancient Monuments

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Landacre Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Withypool and Hawkridge, Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.1122 / 51°6'43"N

Longitude: -3.6922 / 3°41'31"W

OS Eastings: 281644.779743

OS Northings: 136127.629261

OS Grid: SS816361

Mapcode National: GBR L7.B8GC

Mapcode Global: VH5KD.Y9GR

Entry Name: Landacre Bridge

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1981

Last Amended: 11 August 2003

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021125

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35712

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Withypool and Hawkridge

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Details

The monument includes a medieval multi-span bridge which carries Landacre
Lane over the River Barle on Withypool Common. The bridge is aligned north
east to south west across the river and is constructed throughout from
random rubble stone. It has five pointed arches, each with two courses of
rubble voussoirs, and separated by angled cutwaters. The arches spring
from the middle of the cutwaters which have hipped tops and square piers
in the downstream abutments. The parapet walls are 0.6m high with
saddleback coping of up-ended slate and they extend for 22.7m on either
side of the single carriageway which is 2.7m wide. The ends of the parapet
walls are set with large single blocks and are splayed outwards, extending
beyond the span of the bridge for 4.9m on the north west side and for 1.5m
on the south east side. An Ordnance Survey bench mark on a stone slab is
embedded in the inner face of the north parapet wall. The bridge is known
locally as `Lannacre Bridge' and is believed to be late medieval. There is
a record of it having been in existence by 1610. The bridge is a Listed
Building Grade II*.

All wooden railings and sign posts are excluded from the scheduling, as is
the carriageway surfacing, although the ground beneath all of these
features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Despite some modern consolidation, Landacre Bridge is a good example of a
medieval multi-span bridge and retains its original form and stonework.
Limited activity immediately surrounding the bridge indicates that
archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use
are likely to survive intact. It has been in use in since at least 1610
and continues to form an historically interesting and well known focal
point on the open moorland of Exmoor.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Jervoise, E, The Ancient Bridges of the South of England, (1930), 112

Source: Historic England

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