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Treverbyn Bridge

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Treverbyn Bridge

List entry Number: 1020893


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


District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: St. Cleer


District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: St. Neot

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 10-Mar-1926

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Dec-2002

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 15561

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.

Treverbyn Bridge survives very well, retaining its medieval structure substantially intact with only limited post-medieval modification. The date for most of its structure is well-documented by the extant early 15th century Indulgence from which it was funded, but the bridge is also highly unusual in retaining substantial remains of the earlier bridge structure to which that Indulgence refers, demonstrating developing methods of bridge construction and architectural style during the later medieval period. The presence of Treverbyn Bridge on what is now a minor road, and largely by-passed by a modern bridge, illustrates the historical importance of this route and the evolution of the highway network since the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a later medieval bridge known as Treverbyn Bridge, crossing the River Fowey 2.1km east of St Neot in south east Cornwall. The greater part of its build is of early 15th century date but the western part of the bridge incorporates substantial remains from an earlier phase. Treverbyn Bridge is a Listed Building Grade II*. Treverbyn Bridge spans the river east-west by three arches at a relatively wide point in its otherwise narrow steep-sided valley south of Bodmin Moor. Beneath the bridge, the river flows in two unequal channels. The main, eastern, channel is spanned by two broad slightly pointed arches, each about 4.25m across, separated by a pier about 2.5m wide with pointed cutwaters. This pier marks the highest point of the bridge's carriageway, its cutwater faces continued into the parapet as triangular refuges alongside the road. A slate string course marks the parapet base on the cutwaters' outer faces. The central arch ring is flush with the sides of the bridge above; the eastern is slightly recessed, more so and assymetrically on the upstream side where a second arch ring carries the parapet. This recessing and the second upstream arch-ring result from an 18th century widening of the bridge approach. The eastern abutment projects slightly from the riverbank, with widely splayed sides rising to the level from which the arch-ring springs. The masonry facing these eastern two arches, pier and the eastern abutment is mostly of local slatestone rubble, with only a very sparse scatter of granite blocks. By contrast, the bridge's western arch over the smaller river channel is much narrower; about 3m across, capped by flat granite slabs resting on small rubble supports built out at each side. Beneath these slabs, a deeply recessed arch-ring under the upstream, northern, side is considered a later strengthening addition. The 18th century widening of the bridge approaches is reflected by a granite slab carrying the parapet out across the angle between the downstream face of the arch and the face of the bridge's western abutment. The pier separating this arch from the eastern two is about 3.5m wide upstream, 4.5m wide downstream, with dissimilar pointed cutwaters to each side: the upstream cutwater occupies the full pier width, but the downstream one only fronts the western 2m of the pier. Neither cutwater on this pier carries up into refuges in the parapet, their upper ends truncated by uneven and roughly-faced rubble surfaces sloping steeply outwards from the top of the parapet. The western abutment is faced by a flat wall along the riverside, splayed back along the riverbank on the south side of the bridge but rising on the north to the height of the parapet base and projecting incongruously beyond the bridge face as a wall stub. The fabric of the bridge's western abutment, arch and pier combines slatestone rubble with frequent granite blocks and rounded slabs. Dressed granite slabs also face the apex of the pier's upstream cutwater, whose base is founded on three courses of large dressed granite slabs. The bridge's carriageway narrows from 3.65m wide at its parapets' eastern end to 2.6m wide alongside the refuges above the eastern pier. From there it barely widens until it crosses the western arch where the 18th century widening allows the south parapet to curve out above the western abutment. The parapets are generally 0.5m to 0.7m high and about 0.3m wide; that on the north is 25.3m long while the southern is 28m long. They are mostly of local slatestone, again with a higher granite content over the western pier, arch and abutment where the parapet is partly rebuilt but will have reused the dismantled rubble of its predecessor. The parapets are capped by iron-cramped granite coping slabs displaying a diversity of lengths and forms, with most dressed to a shallow chamfer along each upper edge. Set upright in the carriageway against the southern parapet's western curve are four slabs: the three smallest lack obvious evidence for former use but the largest slab, 1.02m by 0.56m and cracked in two, has a 0.04m diameter hole near its centre from which two worn grooves extend about 0.12m across one surface. Although on a minor road in the modern highway network, Treverbyn Bridge is situated on the medieval main route linking the important market towns of Liskeard and Bodmin. The route had been bridged over the River Fowey prior to the 15th century but this early Treverbyn Bridge was described as `threatening total ruin' in 1412-1413 when the Bishop of Exeter granted an Indulgence for its repair, providing a pardon of 40 days penance for their sins to all who contributed to the bridge's repair: a frequent method of gaining funding for bridge repairs at that period. The works resulting from that Indulgence are identified as the two broader eastern arches and pier, their form and construction typical of surviving early 15th century bridges elsewhere in south west England, while the markedly different form, construction and fabric of the western arch, pier and abutment denote their origin as a remnant of the earlier bridge. The slight carriageway widening evident at both ends of the bridge is attributable to a reported 18th century episode of bridge-widening here. The road carried by Treverbyn Bridge lost its importance in the early 19th century when it was replaced by a new, more direct, turnpike road 2.5km to the south, passing through the Glynn Valley, the A38 trunk road in the modern network. By the early 20th century, the bridge was again in poor repair and unsuited for the growing quantity and size of traffic even on such minor roads. Consequently in 1929 it was replaced by a new bridge, beyond this scheduling, which crosses the river about 10m downstream, leaving the medieval bridge used only by pedestrian and light traffic. The modern sign, its granite plinth and all barbed-wire fencing are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Henderson, C, Coates, H, Old Cornish Bridges and Streams, (1928)
Henderson, C, Coates, H, Old Cornish Bridges and Streams, (1928)
Henderson, C G, 'Annual Report Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Soc' in Cornish Rivers And Bridges, (1925)
Henderson, C G, 'Annual Report Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Soc' in Cornish Rivers And Bridges, (1925)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry PRN 17282 Treverbyn Bridge, (2000)
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry PRN 17282 Treverbyn Bridge, (2000)
Ministry of Works, AM7 & other scheduling documentation for CO 28 Treverbyn Bridge, 1926,
SX26NW 10/122 21/8/1964, List entry for St Neot Treverbyn Old Bridge, (1964)
SX26NW 10/122 21/8/64, List Entry for St Neot Treverbyn Old Bridge, (1964)
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map SX 26 NW Source Date: 1983 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 26 NW Source Date: 1983 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SX 20642 67449


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This copy shows the entry on 16-Jan-2018 at 07:32:19.

End of official listing