Beggar's Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021022

Date first listed: 30-Mar-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Jul-2003


Ordnance survey map of Beggar's Bridge
© 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 - 1021022 .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 16-Dec-2018 at 22:34:01.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Egton

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Glaisdale


National Grid Reference: NZ 78440 05475


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

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.

Beggar's Bridge is a very fine example of an early post-medieval single span bridge that has survived effectively unaltered.


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


The monument includes a single arched packhorse bridge across the River Esk, 150m south east of Glaisdale railway station, aproximately 300m north east of Carr End. The bridge is Listed Grade II*.

Beggar's Bridge was built in 1619 by Tom Ferris, a wealthy merchant who became Sheriff of Hull in 1614 and Mayor in 1620. Legend has it that he was originally the son of a poor Egton farmer and loved Agnes Richardson, daughter of a squire across the River Esk in Glaisdale. Ferris was rejected as a suitor and denounced as a beggar by the squire. He thus resolved to go to sea to seek his fortune, but was prevented from saying good-bye to Agnes by floods making the river impassable. After making his fortune in the Caribbean, Ferris returned to marry Agnes and built a bridge to help future lovers. Beggar's Bridge may incorporate stonework from a 14th century bridge that had collapsed by 1577.

The bridge is built with roughly coursed sandstone and has a single arch that is segmental, spanning just over 15m. Below the arch on both abutments, there are paired corbels which probably supported the temporary timber work used during the construction of the bridge. The deck is flagged and is nearly 2m wide between parapets which are 0.75m high. These parapets have two courses and lean slightly outwards. They may be a later addition to the bridge as the stone is herring-bone dressed rather than pecked like most of the rest of the stonework. At the centre of the downstream, southern parapet is a 1619 date stone which also carries the heavily weathered initials of Thomas Ferris. The approach ramps are cobbled and do not have parapets, the side walls forming low kerbs. The eastern ramp approaches from the north and curves around to meet the bridge, the western ramp runs straight but splays slightly outwards. The base of the eastern abutment, facing the river, is stepped with the lowest step protected against river scour by a modern concrete apron.

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: 34725

Legacy System: RSM


R H Fox, Packhorse Bridges of England, 1974, Unpublished manuscript

End of official listing