Landacre Bridge


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


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

West Somerset (District Authority)
Withypool and Hawkridge
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SS 81645 36128

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.

Despite some modern consolidation, Landacre Bridge is a good example of a medieval multi-span bridge and retains its original form and stonework. Limited activity immediately surrounding the bridge indicates that archaeological deposits relating to the monument's construction and use are likely to survive intact. It has been in use in since at least 1610 and continues to form an historically interesting and well known focal point on the open moorland of Exmoor.


The monument includes a medieval multi-span bridge which carries Landacre Lane over the River Barle on Withypool Common. The bridge is aligned north east to south west across the river and is constructed throughout from random rubble stone. It has five pointed arches, each with two courses of rubble voussoirs, and separated by angled cutwaters. The arches spring from the middle of the cutwaters which have hipped tops and square piers in the downstream abutments. The parapet walls are 0.6m high with saddleback coping of up-ended slate and they extend for 22.7m on either side of the single carriageway which is 2.7m wide. The ends of the parapet walls are set with large single blocks and are splayed outwards, extending beyond the span of the bridge for 4.9m on the north west side and for 1.5m on the south east side. An Ordnance Survey bench mark on a stone slab is embedded in the inner face of the north parapet wall. The bridge is known locally as `Lannacre Bridge' and is believed to be late medieval. There is a record of it having been in existence by 1610. The bridge is a Listed Building Grade II*.

All wooden railings and sign posts are excluded from the scheduling, as is the carriageway surfacing, although the ground beneath all of these features 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), 112


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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