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Panters 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: Panters Bridge

List entry Number: 1020894

Location

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

County:

District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: St. Neot

County:

District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Warleggan

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 26-Nov-1928

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: 15562

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.

Panters Bridge survives very well, retaining its medieval structure extensively intact with only limited later alteration mostly attributable to necessary maintenance of its fabric. The bridge is unusual in retaining the visible remains of an earlier bridge abutment built into its fabric, giving clear evidence for the medieval development of this bridging point. The presence of Panters 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.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a later medieval bridge known as Panters Bridge, crossing the River Bedalder 2.5m west of St Neot in south east Cornwall. The present bridge largely dates to the early 15th century but its western abutment incorporates an abutment from an earlier phase. Panters Bridge is a Listed Building Grade II*. Panters Bridge spans the River Bedalder, north east-south west, by two arches as the river flows through the dissected terrain south of Bodmin Moor. It lies at a point where a small tributary stream joins the river from the west, immediately upstream from the bridge. The arches are slightly pointed, each about 4.25m across and with double arch rings of slate, the inner slightly recessed from the outer. The arches spring from a relatively low level above the riverbed on both the pier and abutments, with the abutment walls carrying the bridge across both riverbanks for several metres. The pier separating the arches is about 2.5m wide with pointed cutwaters, the cutwater faces continued into the parapet as triangular refuges alongside the road at the highest point of the bridge. Elsewhere, the sides of the bridge rise above the carriageway as parapets about 0.3m wide and from 0.45m-0.9m high, continuing also above the abutments and reducing in height: the north western parapet, 22.4m long, terminates on the abutments at each end while that on the south east, 44.5m long, extends beyond them to flank the approaches to the bridge. Most of the masonry facing the arches, pier and abutments is of slatestone rubble, together with a small proportion of granite slabs. Variations in the size and thickness of slate rubble and amount of granite content in the wall fabric reveal some patches and areas of later rebuild, for example along the outer face of the south east parapet over the south western abutment and part of the adjacent south western arch. The parapets have iron-cramped granite coping slabs, varying considerably in length and thickness; most have a slight chamfer along each upper edge but some are flat-topped or rounded in section. The lowermost metre of the south western abutment's southern face incorporates the south east side of an earlier bridge abutment, visible as a wall of coursed large granite blocks now bonded into the face of the 15th century abutment but projecting up to 0.4m from it. The wall ends abruptly as a rough edge facing the river, from which it slopes south west, visible for 5.5m before fading into the rising bank with its wall-courses dipping more steeply than the slope of the later bridge parapet and carriageway. The bridge's carriageway narrows to 2.6m wide alongside the refuges above the pier. From there its width increases slightly to 3m over the abutment faces, then it flares along both approaches to the bridge, reaching 8m wide by the south western end of the south east parapet. The north east abutment and approach curve eastward, the carriageway enlarging to 6.7m wide but reduced again to 5m wide by the low wall of a small enclosure, largely beyond this scheduling, opposite the end of the south east parapet. Although on a minor road in the modern highway network, Panters Bridge is situated on the medieval main route linking the important market towns of Liskeard and Bodmin. The present bridge has a form and construction typical of the early 15th century, bearing close similarities to other bridges of that date elsewhere in south west England, including parts of another bridge, Treverbyn Bridge, 4.5km to the east along the same route and documented as being rebuilt in 1412-13: as here, that bridge also retains parts of its stone-built predecessor. Panters Bridge appears in the name of a nearby tin working site, the `Pontwysebrygge work' documented in 1514, this earlier form of the name also preserved as `Pontwise Bridge' in a document of 1613 reciting the Bounds of St Neot Parish. It has also been considered that the name may originate in the `Pontiesu' place-name included in a charter of 1241, though if so that would relate to a predecessor of the present bridge. The road carried by Panters Bridge lost its importance in the early 19th century when it was replaced by a new, more direct, turnpike road 2.75km to the south, passing through the Glynn Valley, the A38 trunk road in the modern network. By the mid-20th century, the bridge had become totally unsuited for the growing quantity and size of traffic even on such minor roads. Consequently in 1968 it was replaced by a new bridge, beyond this scheduling, which crosses the river about 15m downstream, leaving the medieval bridge used only by pedestrian and light traffic. The modern sign, its granite plinth, all modern fencing and railing, and the telegraph pole and its guys and fittings 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.

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)
Austin, D, Gerrard, G A M, Greeves, T A P, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Tin And Agriculture Landscape Archaeology In St Neot Parish, , Vol. 28, (1989), 5-251
Austin, D, Gerrard, G A M, Greeves, T A P, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Tin And Agriculture Landscape Archaeology In St Neot Parish, , Vol. 28, (1989), 5-251
Austin, D, Gerrard, G A M, Greeves, T A P, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Tin And Agriculture Landscape Archaeology In St Neot Parish, , Vol. 28, (1989), 5-251
Other
CAU, Cornwall SMR entry PRN 17181 Panters Bridge, (2000)
List Entry for SX 16 NE St Neot 9/144 Panter's Bridge, (2001)
List Entry for SX 16 NE St Neot 9/144 Panter's Bridge, (2001)
Ministry of Works, AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 64 Panter's Bridge, 1928,
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map SX 16 NE 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 15896 68027

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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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 - 1020894 .pdf

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End of official listing