Hunter's Sty Bridge


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


Ordnance survey map of Hunter's Sty 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.

North Yorkshire
Scarborough (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NZ 66272 06165

Reasons for Designation

Medieval and early post-medieval single span bridges are structures designed to carry a road or track over a river by means of a single arch, typically 3m- 6m in span. They were constructed throughout the medieval period, most commonly using timber. Stone began to be used instead of timber in the 12th century and became increasingly common in the 14th and 15th centuries. Many medieval bridges were repaired, modified or extensively rebuilt in the post- medieval period. During the medieval period the construction and maintenance of bridges was frequently carried out by large estates and the Church, especially monastic institutions which developed long distance packhorse routes between their landholdings. Some stone built medieval bridges still survive. These can be classified into three main types based on the profile of the arch which is typically pointed, semi-circular or flattened. 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. Bridges were common and important features of medieval towns and the countryside and allowed easy access along a well developed road and trackway system. However, only around 16 largely unaltered medieval single span bridges have so far been recognised to survive in England. All these are considered to be of national importance. A larger number retain significant medieval or post-medieval remains, allowing the original form of the bridge to be determined. These examples are also nationally important.

Hunter's Sty Bridge is a good example of a ribbed medieval bridge, and despite 19th century restoration, will retain important evidence of the original medieval construction.


The monument includes a single arched bridge over the River Esk, just beyond the northern end of the village of Westerdale.

Hunter's Sty Bridge is thought to date from the late 13th century and to have been built to provide access to the Royal Forest of Pickering; `hunter's sty' meaning `hunter's steep path.' It was restored in 1874 by Octavius Duncombe, son of the first Baron Feversham.

The single arch is segmental with a span of nearly 6m and has a double arch ring, the outer ring extending outwards as a moulded drip course. The arch is supported by four ribs that spring from ribbed abutments. The deck, which is nearly 3m wide, is slabbed, the stones being supported directly on the arch ribs below. The outer faces of the abutments have the appearance of being encased in later stonework, finished as rock faced ashlar, possibly dating to the 1874 restoration. The parapets over the arch, and the capping of the parapets above the abutments are also built in ashlar, but of a smoother, pockmarked finish. On the outer faces of the parapets, above the crown of the arch, there are two carved panels. The one facing upstream, eastwards, carries the crest of the Duncombe family, the downstream panel having a raised inscription: "This ancient Bridge was restored by Colonel the Honorable O.Duncombe A.D.1874."

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.


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

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Jervoise, E, Ancient Bridges of Northern England, (1931)
R H Fox, Packhorse Bridges of England, 1974, Unpublished manuscript


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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