River Yeo Structures

Pill Bridge – Footbridge


Bridge Name:   Pill Bridge – Footbridge
No.:   20
Location:   ST499234 Approx 1.14 miles downstream from the A303
Build Date:   Built early C13 but replaced in C17 by present structure

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Connects Pill Bridge Lane with Pill Bridge Drove

Pack horse bridge across the river. Built early C13 but replaced in C17 by present structure – 3 span bridge with semi-circular arches and plain parapet. Still in good condition. Possible ford or original pack horse bridge foundations can be seen just to NE side of the present bridge. Appear as a slipway or roadway made of smoothed cobbles.Bridge of Lias with Hamstone copings. Five cutwaters on up and downstream sides. Carriageway of Lias cobbles, 1.3m wide. The side walls are bound with iron and lead. Inscription on one reads “Merry 1907”. Pill Bridge Lane is a green lane to E, marked by hedgeline to W. During a visit to the medieval Pill Bridge a collection of graffiti was noticed, carved into the upper surfaces of the parapet and incised in the lead forming the joints. Included are initials, dates and the outline of a gloved hand or gauntlet.1

Two miles below Ilcheset the River Yeo is crossed by a pack horse bridge known a Pill Bridge. This bridge has four lofty arches and is 4 feet wide between the parapets. The arches are semi circular in shape, and the piers are narrow. The track that leads over it is shown on Stukeley’s plan of Ilchester (1723) as the “Langport Way” and it is probable that the present bridge was constructed early in the 17th century. Thomas Gerard (1653) stated that the River (Parrett) passes under Pillbridge, whither are brought upp boates and crayes from Langport and Bridgwater”2

References:   1. Somerset HER Ref:53051
2. The Ancient Bridges of the South of England by E.Jervoise published in 1930