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HER Number:MDV16856
Name:Greystone Bridge, Bradstone


A notable 15th century road bridge over the River Tamar.


Grid Reference:SX 368 803
Map Sheet:SX38SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBradstone
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRADSTONE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX38SE/17
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ROAD BRIDGE (Built, XV - 1401 AD to 1500 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, Historic Image of Workers at Greystone Bridge, Bradstone (Ground Photograph). SDV361937.

Griffith, F. M., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV8774.

Greystone bridge is one of the very few medieval bridges still surviving in devon today, and one of three built to cross the tamar in the middle ages. Its excellent condition testifies to the quality of its original construction, the arches and underwork being of freestone, the walls of rubble and the coping of moorstone. The proposal to build the bridge is recorded in bishop lacy's register dated 27.12.1439, where an indulgence of forty days is granted to all penitents contributing toward its construction. The name of the bridge is not in fact a reference to its construction, even though it is made of grey stone. The cornish manor of greyston is recorded in documents more than a hundred years before the bridge was built, and it was from this that it took its name (griffith).

MHLG, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV131769.

Greystone bridge. A notable 15th century structure in rubble and ashlar, with cutwaters on both sides. Eight spans and segmental arches (mhlg).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV177625.

Greystone bridge. Eight spans, cutwaters. Partly paid for by thomas mede, abbot of tavistock in 1439 (pevsner).

ALEXANDER, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV219470.

The abbot of tavistock, thomas mede, gave generous contributions towards building costs in the early 15th century (alexander).

AM, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263453.

Formerly scheduled as cornwall 69. Descheduled july 2002 under sm91321 (am).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263454.

Mhlg/hhr:tavistock rd(1960)3.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263455.

Alexander, j. J. /tda/69(1937)265/tavistock in the 15th century.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263456.

Thomas, d. L. B. /archaeology of the devon landscape/(1980)133,138/the bridges of devon.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263457.

Griffith, f. /devon's past:an aerial view/(1988)86.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263458.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263459.

Henderson, c. + coates, h. J. /old cornish bridges/(1928 repr 1972).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263460.

Henderson, c. + jervoise, e. /old devon bridges/(1938).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263461.

Pevsner, n. + cherry, b. /the buildings of england(devon)/(1989)202.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263462.

Des=am7 for cornwall/69 in pf.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263464.

Gray, t.(ed)/travels in georgian devon: the illustrated journals of the rev j. Swete (1789-1800)vol 1/(1997).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263465.

Gover, j. E. B. + mawer, a. + stenton, f. M. /the place-names of devon/(1931).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263466.

Dyer, m. J. + manning, p. T. /objective 5b: lower tamar valley recreation and land management initiative: cultural heritage appraisal/(1998)4/(ea report 98.60).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263467.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1946).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263468.

Des=gerrard, s. /(12/9/2001)/pers comm(email in mpp file).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV263469.

Des=jewell,t. /dissertation for exeter university: bridging the tamar/(1996)29/in bradworthy pf.

Dyer, M. + Manning, P., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV27135.

First recorded as greyston brygge in 1438. Freestone arches and underwork: slatestone rubble walls + parapets with granite copings + some additional granite dressings.4 main arches with 4 flood arches with 4 main cutwaters + one small one on the e side all rising to form triangular refuges in the parapets. Described + illustrated by swete in 1793 'a noble bridge called greston' (dyer + manning).

Department of Environment, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV327231.

Greystone bridge. Road bridge over river tamar. Dated 1439. Snecked slate-stone and ashlar with freestone dressings to 4 of the 8 arches. Stone rubble parapets and moulded granite strings and copings. Approaches to the bridge were formerly considerably steeper and were altered for the stage coach between tavistock and launceston. See doe list for full details (doe).

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1949-1985, SX38SE9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV263463.

Greystone Bridge dates from 1473; probably built by one of the Abbots of Tavistock. It is 225 feet long, of five spans with semi circular arches in rubble and ashlar. Greystone Bridge is described as above, in a good state of preservation. (Site visit 1954)

Ordnance Survey, 2017, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359962.

Historic England, 2017, National Heritage List for England, 1104822 (National Heritage List for England). SDV359963.

Greystone Bridge. Road bridge over River Tamar. 1439 with later repairs. Thomas Mede, Abbot of Tavistock gave generous contributions towards building costs. (Alexander). 27 December, 1439 Bishop Lacy granted an indulgence of forty days to all penitents contributing towards erection of bridge. Roughly coursed snecked slatestone and ashlar with freestone dressings to four of the eight arches. Stone rubble parapets and moulded granite strings and copings. Five, almost semi-circular arches of 7 metres span springing from imposts 3 metres above the water level. Four of these arches have freestone dressings with arch rings. The fifth to the west has a possibly C18 dressed stone arch. Between the five arches, on both sides, are cutwaters which continue up to form refuges, corbelling out at the base of the parapet above the chamfered granite moulded string. This string is mitred at the corners where it changes level. To the west, a four-centred dressed stone arch over the flood plain. Two similar arches on the east with a small cutwater between, continued up to form a refuge. The arches over the flood plain have possibly been rebuilt. The moulded string above looses its mitred corners where it changes level. Henderson in 1928 only described two flood arches. The roadway, formerly paved, over the bridge is 3 metres wide. The parapets are splayed on the east and west. Approaches to the bridge were formerly considerably steeper and were altered for the stage coach between Tavistock and Launceston. Compare with Horse Bridge to south, 1437, probably the same architect. The estate of the Abbots of Tavistock, Endsleigh, extended down to the river between Greystone Bridge and Horse Bridge.

The asset was previously listed twice also at List entry 1219394. That entry was removed from the List on 17 August 2016.

This entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 17 August 2016.
[The following edits were made to the Description in the light of text in the delisted entry:-
“1439” changed to read “1439 with later repairs”.
“Snecked slatestone” changed to read “Roughly coursed snecked slatestone”.
“The roadway over the bridge” changed to read “The roadway, formerly paved, over the bridge”.
“Compare with Horse Bridge to south, 1437” change to read Compare with Horse Bridge to south, 1437, probably the same architect.”
The following corrections/additions/deletions to the Description were made:-
Numerals in the text for number of days and arches corrected to words, though not those for measurements or year.
Measurements in feet were converted to metres:-
“23feet” amended to read “7 metres”.
Two occurrences of “10feet” amended to read “3 metres”.
The following were added to the Selected Sources, from the delisted entry:-
“Balchin, WGV, The Cornish Landscape, (1983), 178
Henderson, C, Coates, H, Old Cornish Bridges and Streams, (1928), 49
Jope, E M, Studies in Building History Cornish Houses 1400-1700, (1961)”
The following text was removed as it is duplicated in the Selected Sources, and it was used to amend the sources:-
“Devon Sites and Monuments Register, Ref Alexander, J.J./TBA/69 (1937) 265
Tavistock in the Fifteenth Century Henderson, C and Coates, H. Old Cornish Bridges and Streams 1928. Reprint 1972. pp 49-50, figs 15, 16, 22, 23.”
This text was added to the Description:-
“The asset was previously listed twice also at List entry 1219394. That entry was removed from the List on 17 August 2016.”
“This entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 17 August 2016.”
The GIS triangle depiction was moved slightly from SX3684080343 to SX3683980344. Thus placing it on the parish boundary between Bradstone parish, West Devon and Lezant parish, Cornwall which passes through the building. The grid reference was removed from the Details text.]

Sources / Further Reading

SDV131769Migrated Record: MHLG.
SDV177625Migrated Record:
SDV219470Migrated Record: ALEXANDER.
SDV263453Migrated Record: AM.
SDV263454Migrated Record:
SDV263455Migrated Record:
SDV263456Migrated Record:
SDV263457Migrated Record:
SDV263458Migrated Record:
SDV263459Migrated Record:
SDV263460Migrated Record:
SDV263461Migrated Record:
SDV263462Migrated Record:
SDV263463Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1949-1985. SX38SE9. OSAD Card. Card Index + Digital.
SDV263464Migrated Record:
SDV263465Migrated Record:
SDV263466Migrated Record:
SDV263467Migrated Record:
SDV263468Migrated Record:
SDV263469Migrated Record:
SDV27135Migrated Record: Dyer, M. + Manning, P..
SDV327231Migrated Record: Department of Environment.
SDV359962Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2017. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #81909 ]
SDV359963National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2017. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1104822.
SDV361937Ground Photograph: Unknown. Historic Image of Workers at Greystone Bridge, Bradstone. Digital.
SDV8774Migrated Record: Griffith, F. M..

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Dec 6 2018 7:17AM