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Authority English Heritage
Other Ref SM Cat. No. 344
Date assigned Monday, May 23, 1994
Date last amended


REASONS FOR DESIGNATION Clapper bridges are structures designed to carry trackways across rivers or streams by means of one or more large flat slabs of rock either resting directly on the river banks or supported on drystone piers. They were being constructed and used from the late medieval period, around 1400, to the 19th century and were used both by pedestrians and pack-horse traffic. The clapper bridge across Bar Brook is a well-preserved example located on an ancient route across open moorland. Its association with a probable wayside cross adds to its importance. Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to the 15th centuries AD. In addition to reassuring the traveller and serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain, and were found on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements and on routes having a more specifically religious function, such as pilgrim routes and those used in funeral processions. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, most being found in Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small group occurs on the North York Moors but relatively few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland locations. Outside Cornwall, almost all wayside crosses take the form of a Latin cross in which the cross head itself is shaped with the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall, wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration, with the commonest type including a round or `wheel' head on the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were incised or carved in relief. With this type, the spaces between the cross arms were sometimes pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the Latin cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate base at all. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earthfast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection. DETAILS The monument is situated on Big Moor in the East Moors of the Peak District and includes a freestanding waymarker and the adjacent clapper bridge over Bar Brook. The waymarker comprises a rough-hewn gritstone shaft of rectangular section wedged into the ground by packing stones. At the base it measures 45cm north-south by 24cm east-west but tapers to 30cm by 15cm at the top. It stands 145cm high and is undecorated. Clearly its main purpose was to mark the location of the bridge for travellers crossing the moor. Probably it originated as a wayside cross because, although there is no cross head, it is broadly similar in dimensions and appearance to other wayside crosses on the East Moors and is intervisible with a known wayside cross, known as Lady's Cross, which lies c.400m upslope to the north west. The lack of a cross head may be due to damage or may be a feature of the monument's simplicity. It stands on the east bank of the brook 1m south of the clapper bridge which is an antecedent of present day Barbrook Bridge. The clapper bridge consists of two massive gritstone slabs of which the larger lies to the west, where it straddles the main flow of the brook, and the smaller to the east where it spans a narrower tributary. The former measures 55cm by 240cm and the latter 75cm by 155cm. Both are supported by drystone culverts, approximately 2m wide, built into the banks of the stream. A sunken track extends between the bridge and Lady's Cross and represents a medieval or post-medieval trail across the moor.

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Sources (1)

  • Scheduling record: English Heritage. 1994. Scheduling Notification: Waymarker and clapper bridge 130m south of Barbrook Bridge. List entry no. 1010183. SM Cat. No. 344.



Grid reference Centred SK 2758 7811 (20m by 10m)
Map sheet SK27NE

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Record last edited

Oct 21 2013 2:55PM

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