Browse crosses

Location Built into the centre of the North West parapet of the bridge over the river Walkham, which runs through the centre of the village. 

O/S Grid Ref: SX/51331/69933       Longitude/Latitude (Degrees+/-):  -4.09810/50.51026

Map location: Click here to view map.

Purpose:  Ancient boundary marker.

Size:  Roadside, the stone measures 2 feet (0.60 metres) tall by 1 foot 4 inches (0.40 metres) wide. On the riverside face, it measures 3 feet (0.90 metres) tall by 1 foot 4 inches (0.40 metres) wide. The incised cross is on the roadside only and this measures 1 foot 11 inches (0.60 metres) tall and 1 foot (0.30 metres) across the arms.

horrabridge_bridge1.jpg (156454 bytes)Information:  The River Walkham flows through the centre of Horrabridge and passes beneath the ancient packhorse bridge, before merging with the River Tavy about 3 miles to the west of the village.  In the village, the bridge stands at the northern end of Station Road, right next to its junction with both Commercial Road and Whitchurch Road.  It is a narrow bridge with two ‘V’ shaped pedestrian refuges built into the parapet, to allow pedestrians to stand aside for cars to pass. Only one vehicle horrabridge2.jpg (154144 bytes) at a time can cross the bridge and it can get quite busy with cars waiting to cross from three different directions. It is thought that the bridge was built in the 14th century, which would make it one of the oldest in Devon that is still open to traffic.

The site of this cross, built into the north west (downstream) parapet of the bridge over the centre of the river, is on the exact boundary of three ancient parishes: Buckland Monachorum, Whitchurch and Sandford Spiney.  According to the Western Antiquary, December 1882, the stone once had the letters 'B' and 'W' incised into opposing faces, marking the boundary of two of these parishes.  However, all trace of these letters has now disappeared, to be replaced by an incised cross on the roadside face which, in horrabridge_bridge2.jpg (147980 bytes) itself, has now become very faint.  The depth of the stone goes right the way through the wall and looking from the road it appears to extend down to well below the level of the current road surface.

horrabridge_county_stone.jpg (100032 bytes)Horrabridge is a busy and vibrant village. Upstream from the bridge, there is a salmon leap. This has given its name to the nearby Public House, the ‘Leaping Salmon’ and also to a private house, which goes by the name of ‘Salmon Leap’. Downstream, there is a pool in the river, below a weir, where the children often swim and play during the hot summer months.  Beyond each end of the bridge, County Boundary Stones are still in position.  The one in Station Road is placed against the wall of the London Inn and is partly hidden behind the street lamppost.  Unfortunately, this stone has now been painted over, in the same colours as the adjacent wall of the inn.  The second stone is in Commercial Road and stands beside a telegraph pole, opposite the junction with Bedford Road.  These stones would have been erected when the Turnpike Trusts came into being, during the 18th Century.  The main function of the Trusts was to maintain and improve the road structure, for which they were able to charge a toll to all traffic passing through.  However, the cost of building and maintaining the bridges over major rivers remained the responsibility of the County Council.  The County were also responsible for maintaining a stretch of the road for about 100 yards beyond each end of the bridge.  County Bridge Stones, which are inscribed with a large 'C', were erected to mark the boundary between the responsibilities of the County and the Turnpike Trusts.

Our thanks to Adrian for informing us about the Western Antiquary reference.