River Parrett Structures

Petherton Bridge


Bridge Name:   Petherton Bridge
No.:   19
Location:   ST 4508 1670
Build Date:    
The bridge over the River Parrett, possibly the Roman one carrying the Fosse Way, was referred to as the “Old bridge” in c1206, and gave its name to the hamlet there (PRN 53435). The “fair stone bridge” there in the early C17 bore the effigies of two people, variously described as the founder and his wife or two children drowned there. The strategic importance of the bridge was evident in the Civil War when it was broken down by the Parliamentarian forces in 1645. Repairs were ordered in 1648 and some were done in 1650. In the early 1970s the C15 structure of three spans with pointed arches was replaced to take a dual carriageway but the effigies and a direction stone have been retained.

Was a Scheduled Monument (Somerset 146) but now descheduled following demolition.

The carved figures survive at ST 45008 16700 on the north west wall of the bridge. They are in poor condition with the stone surface spalling. They are in Hamstone and were relocated c2003 within a concrete housing during bridge works.

During demolition an inscribed stone was recovered by the Ministry of Works Inspector. The original location is not known but photos appear to show it in waterlogged conditions. This may be the orginal site or it may have fallen during demolition.

The stone lay unrecognised for a long time in the courtyard of Taunton Castle but has now been removed to the museum store. It is hamstone, deeply inscribed with neat letters: E H � E D E � X – X V I I. Both ends of the inscription are missing and the last I is represented only by a fragment of serif. It is not clear what the letters or numbers represent, the latter do not correspond to any obvious distances along the road.1

Uppon complaint made unto this Court by one Joshua Godfrey of Montague freemason that there is muche money due to him for worke about fower Bridges of this County in the westerne division viz. Ivelchester Bridge, Mudford Bridge, Petherton Bridge, and Load Bridge ; And for that Mr. Smith Treasurer of the Bridges in the said westerne division is att present unfurnished with money to pay and dischardge the same ; It is therefore ordered that Mr. Tucker of Shepton Treasurer of the Bridges within the easterne division of this County doe forthwith pay unto the said Mr. Smith Treasurer for the westerne Division as aforesaid the some of fortie pounds which the said Mr. Smith is to yssue out to the said Godfrey towards his satisfaction for the said moneyes due to him.2

References:   1. Somerset HER Ref.53434
2. Quarter Session Records Held at Wells 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th January 1649