Haselbury Bridge


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Haselbury Bridge
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Somerset (District Authority)
Haselbury Plucknett
South Somerset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 45851 10969

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.

Haselbury Bridge survives particularly well in what is considered to be its original form and retains its medieval masonry and features. Apart from minor refurbishment there have been no known structural changes. The bridge was constructed in a style which is rarely known in the west of England and has been described by an historian and expert as the most perfect medieval bridge in the region. It is believed to have been in continual use since its original construction and it stands on a former important routeway of the medieval period linking Exeter and Salisbury.


The monument includes the medieval Haselbury Bridge over the River Parrett about 2.5km north east of Crewkerne. The stone-built bridge is believed to date from the 14th century. It is built from local Ham stone ashlar and has two pointed arches each with a 3m span and both formed with two chamfered ribs. The arches are divided on both faces of the bridge by projecting cutwater piers which are triangular in form and plain-topped. The bridge is 4.1m wide including the parapet walls which are plain-topped and stepped in height to accommodate the hill slope, and between 0.65m to 0.85m in height above the road surface. The parapet wall is splayed from the south west corner to allow for the road junction and extends southwards at the same height of 0.65m for approximately 3m and so forming a revetment. The arches, cutwaters, and parapet walls, all appear to be of one build from the same ashlar masonry. The bridge stands on the route of the former Salisbury to Exeter road which had been established by 1675. It once marked the boundary between the Chard and the Yeovil Turnpike Trusts which were both formed in 1753 and more recently it marks the Haselbury Plucknett and Merriott parish boundary. The bridge is Listed Grade II*. The modern road surfacing is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground and bridge fabric beneath it is included.

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


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Jervoise, E, The Ancient Bridges of the South of England, (1930), 98
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, (1958), 171


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

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