MSO8541 - Medieval packhorse bridge near Vicarage Bridge, Winsford (Building)


A two arched packhorse bridge over the River Exe is probably medieval in origin. It was restored in 1952 following flood damage.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Packhorse bridge at Winsford, 17th Century with two segmental arches and a roadway width of 3 feet 6 inches. [1] The packhorse bridge is at SS 9057 3516. [2,12] Packhorse bridge close to Vicarage Bridge (MSO8542) at Winsford. It has two semicircular arches with a total span of about 30 feet.The width between the parapets is 3 feet 6 inches. This may be the bridge referred to as having been recently "re-edificed" in the Quarter Sessions of 1628. [3] (SS 9057 3516) Winsford Packhorse Bridge. Scheduled. [4,5] Packhorse Bridge (over river Exe). Listed Grade 2*. Picturesque narrow stone bridge with footway about 3 feet 6 inches wide with cobbles and stone parapets. It was restored following 1952 flood damage. Two semicircular head arches. Ancient Monument. [6] The narrow bridge across the Exe at SS 9057 3516, some 40 metres west of the main bridge (Vicarage Bridge), is as described. Nonetheless, even allowing for some alteration in 1952, it is rather ornamental in appearance being built of coursed till-like stones. Also it is rather narrow for a packhorse bridge, and its parapets at 0.9 metres is rather high. More probably a footbridge than a packhorse bridge. [7,13-18] Medieval in origin, restored 1952. Flat bedded slate. Parapet ramped up to centre, pebble path between. Scheduled Ancient Monument (Somerset County No 38). (Photograph in NMR). [8] Wrongly plotted by HBMC. Lies just upstream from the Vicarage Bridge (MSO8542). [9] Stone built with two semi-circular arches and a small low pointed cutwater on the upstream side. The bridge 14.5 metres long and 1metre wide between parapets. The north end foundations have been rather exposed and a little undermined by obvious recent flooding. [10] Scheduling affirmed with new national number on 11 August 2003 (was Somerset 38). [11] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 9. [19] The bridge suffered damage in December 2012 due to the floods and emergency repairs were undertaken in January 2013. [20] The building was visited in March 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 6. [21] The site was surveyed in March 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 9. [22] The packhorse bridge crossing the River Exe, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, is medieval in origin and has a two-arch span with random-rubble voussoirs and small cut water on upstream side. It is mainly built of flat-bedded slate, vertically aligned as coping and was restored in 1952. [23] The packhorse bridge by the Old Vicarage was badly damaged by the Lynmouth Flood on 15th August 1952. [24] The Winsford Archive includes an image of the bridge taken in 1920. [25] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [26] The bridge is mentioned in a publication on the industrial archaeology of Somerset. [27] Winsford was designated as a conservation area in 2023. The new appraisal was produced as part of the adoption of the conservation area. [28]

Sources/Archives (28)

  • <1> Monograph: Thompson, W.H.. 1934. Somerset Regional Survey. P. 57.
  • <2> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 23 August 1965.
  • <3> Monograph: Jervoise, E.. 1930. The Ancient Bridges of the South of England. Architectural Press. P. 110.
  • <4> Index: Department of the Environment (IAM). 1978. List of Ancient Monuments of England and Wales 1978. P. 124.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Department of Environment. Record Form. Undated.
  • <6> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . MHLG (Prov HHR) Dulverton RD Somer (September 1955) 22.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comments. CF Wardale, F2, 8 July 1986.
  • <8> Index: 2/1/1986. Thirty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of West Somerset (Somerset)/Exmoor National Park. 81.
  • <9> Unpublished document: HBMC (English Heritage). 9/3/1977. HBMC (English Heritage) to Somerset County Council.
  • <10> Report: Various. Various. Field Monument Warden Report. Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission.
  • <11> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 20/8/2003. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <12> Photograph: Pitcher, S.. 1965. 17TH CENTURY PACKHORSE BRIDGE AT WINSFORD FROM EAST. OS65/F187/1. B/W. MICROFILM.
  • <13> Photograph: RCHME. 1999. Detail Of Stonework On East Side. 99/E/10. B/W. Negative.
  • <14> Photograph: RCHME. 1986. 17th Cent. ?Packhorse/Footbridge. 99/E/11. B/W. Negative.
  • <15> Photograph: RCHME. 1986. 17th Cent.?Packhorse/Footbridge (Two Segmental Arches) From Se See Also Ao65/187/1. 99/E/9. B/W. Negative.
  • <16> Photograph: RCHME. 1986. 17th Cent.?Packhorse/Footbridge (Two Segmental Arches) From N.. 99/E/7. B/W. Negative.
  • <17> Photograph: RCHME. 1986. 17th Cent.?Packhorse/Footbridge (Two Segmental Arches) From Sw. 99/E/8. B/W.
  • <18> Photograph: RCHME. 1986. 17th Cent. ?Packhorse/Footbridge From East. 99/E/6. B/W. Negative.
  • <19> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park. Exmoor National Park Authority.
  • <20> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. C Dove, 31 January 2013.
  • <21> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <22> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <23> Report: Fisher, J.. 2005. Winsford: Village Character Appraisal.
  • <24> Leaflet: Various. 2004. A Winsford Anthology. 23.
  • <25> Archive: Winsford History Society. Various. Winsford Archive.
  • <26> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36656, Extant 12 April 2022.
  • <27> Monograph: Daniel, P. (Ed.). 2019. A guide to the industrial archaeology of Somerset. Association for Industrial Archaeology. 2nd Edition. p 76, W43.2.
  • <28> Report: Thurlow, T.. 2023. Winsford Conservation Area Appraisal. Exmoor National Park Authority.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (5A): 1076/14/152
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10784
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11998
  • Local Heritage List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 NW4
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36656
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): 38
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34635
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31285



Grid reference Centred SS 2906 1352 (7m by 10m)
Map sheet SS21SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

Oct 19 2023 3:42PM


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