This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Sidford packhorse bridge, Church Street

List Entry Summary

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.

Name: Sidford packhorse bridge, Church Street

List entry Number: 1020417


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: East Devon

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Sidmouth

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 02-Oct-1952

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Apr-2002

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 33040

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

Sidford packhorse bridge survives exceptionally well due largely to its incorporation into the later bridging system at Sidford where it provides the pedestrian walkway alongside the 20th century roadbridge. The packhorse bridge retains the characteristic humped shape of this type of bridge although, unusually for a packhorse bridge, it has two arches rather than one. The bridge provides evidence of the way in which some goods would have been transported by pack animal in the medieval period and its position immediately alongside the later vehicle roadbridge offers a visual testimony to the transport changes which have taken place over the centuries.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes Sidford packhorse bridge, a narrow double-arched bridge situated at the point where the Snod Brook joins the River Sid on the eastern side of the village of Sidford. It is Listed Grade II. In earlier times the bridge would have carried packhorse traffic over the river as part of the coastal routeway between Exeter and Lyme Regis; carted traffic would have crossed at the ford which has given Sidford its name. The fabric of the bridge is considered to be medieval although it has had some repair in the form of reinforced banking at the base of the arches in 1930; this was carried out at the same time as the widening of the adjacent roadbridge which lies immediately alongside the packhorse bridge on its southern side. The packhorse bridge is rubble built, largely of local stone but with triangular shaped coping stones of Dartmoor granite topping the parapet walls and ashlar blocks for the arches. It comprises two segmental arches, a higher and wider arch bridging the River Sid which has a span of about 6.3m and a height of about 3.2m above the river level, and a smaller arch across the Snod Brook which has a span of about 4.7m and a height of 2.55m. The two arches are connected by masonry across the 6m wide spit of land where the two waterways come together. Short additional causeways at either end of the bridge account for its maximum length being approximately 30m. The parapets have a maximum height of 1.45m, whilst the actual carriageway over the bridge is no more than about 1.25m wide within a maximum bridge width of about 2m. Located on the south side of the bridge, more or less centrally, is a brass plaque which asserts that the bridge dates from c.1100, and that it was preserved in its original shape and condition during the bridge widening works in 1930. The dating to c.1100 may be fanciful and too early for the packhorse bridge but it does confirm that it has been considered to be of great antiquity in past times. The modern tarmac surfacing of the carriageway across the packhorse bridge is excluded from the scheduling, although the bridge fabric below this is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: South Devon, (1952), 261

National Grid Reference: SY 13738 89971


© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. 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 - 1020417 .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 25-Sep-2018 at 04:09:45.

End of official listing