Multi-span bridge known as Yeolm Bridge


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1003268.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 29-Nov-2021 at 05:10:27.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Stephens By Launceston Rural
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:

Reasons for Designation

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 20th century reinforcement work, the multi-span bridge known as Yeolm Bridge retains most of its original features. It is reputedly the oldest bridge in Cornwall, and the only one with ribbed vaulted arches in the county. There are early documentary references which add to the interest of the bridge, recording the constant repair and re-development of the bridge as an important element of the communication and transportation network in this part of Cornwall.


The monument includes a multi-span bridge which crosses the River Ottery to the south of the village of Yeolmbridge. The bridge survives as a two-span 14th century structure with 19th to 20th century flood arches added to the southern end. The two early pointed arches have chamfered ribbed vaulting to each arch. The parapets are of rubble construction and two cutwaters on the western side continue up to form refuges. The carriageway was widened during the 19th century. Two flood arches on the southern side of the bridge were rebuilt during the 19th and 20th centuries.

'Yambrigge' is first recorded in 1308, although the present bridge may have been built by the Abbots of Tavistock who owned the nearby manor. The bridge was mentioned by Leland in 1535 - 43 as 'Yalme Bridge' and was described by Henderson as the 'oldest and most perfectly finished in Cornwall' and who gave its date as c.1350.

The bridge is Listed Grade I (68058).

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-437002


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
CO 67
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].