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HER Number:MDV95989
Name:Bridge Chambers


Offices built in 1872-3, erected as an investment property for the Barnstaple Bridge Trust, and designed in late medieval style with fronts of good architectural quality on all four sides. Originally used as the County Court, and for meetings and auction sales. Designed by R. D. Gould.


Grid Reference:SS 558 330
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old Listed Building Ref: 485828

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COUNTY COURT (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))
  • OFFICE (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1855-1895, First Edition 1:500 Town Map (Cartographic). SDV338879.

'Bridge Chambers' shown.

Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

English Heritage, 2013, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV350785.

Offices; one end was originally a hall for use as the County Court, and for meetings and auction sales. 1872-3. By RD Gould. Yellow brick with details in dressed limestone. Slated roofs with crested red ridge-tiles, except over the hall which now has plain ridge-tiles. 4 chimneys on ridge of west range, 3 on east range, one on south range and 2 on north range. Most have clusters of circular shafts on a base of yellow brick, the shafts being of a dark brown local stone with a limestone moulding halfway up and at the top. The 2 southern stacks on the east range have rebuilt shafts of cream-coloured brick, and there is a similar stack, probably a much later addition, on the south roof slope of the north range. Rectangular plan built round 2 internal courtyards, the latter divided by a cross range linking the east and west sides of the building; the former hall (now sub-divided) occupies the first floor of the north range. 2 storeys. Designed in late medieval style with fronts of good architectural quality on all 4 sides. The best front (facing west towards the river) is 15-window range with a gabled cross-wing at each end. Off-centre to right is a large canted bay window rising above the general roof line and with a hipped roof. Off-centre to left is a window set in a shallow projection with a dormer gable on top. Windows are mostly plain with moulded stone lintels, but those in the canted bay have pointed arches and Gothic head tracery. Windows between canted bay and right cross-wing are of 2 lights with column in centre having a foliated capital. Projecting window to left is of 3 similar lights, the 2nd-storey window having before it a stone balcony with open, trefoil-headed panels. Cross-wing to left has in ground storey 2 pairs of windows with pointed arches and decorated iron grilles. Second storey has 2 large mullioned-and-transomed windows with pointed arches and Gothic head tracery, some of it containing coloured glass. Side wall, facing north, has 4 similar windows in upper storey and 4 large segmental-headed windows in ground storey. On centre of roof ridge is an octagonal fleche with Gothic windows, gargoyle and a weather vane. The best feature of the rest of the building is a single-storeyed structure with a curved front, set into the south-east corner facing the Square. It has a range of 5 pointed arches springing from square columns with foliated stone capitals, the feet of the arches decorated with a dragon and other creatures. Above it, set back, is a square turret with a steeply-pitched roof. Pointed-arched doorway facing Strand has a foliated star-panelled grille with BRIDGE CHAMBERS. Interior: very plain, including the staircases. The exception is the former hall which has an arch-braced roof with patterned ceiling, the trusses springing from gigantic carved stone corbels. Hooded stone chimneypiece in early medieval style. Subsidiary features: garden on river frontage has an iron railing with spearhead standards and uprights. Fixed to the wall adjoining the bridge is a bronze plaque recording the widening of the bridge in 1834 by James Green, civil engineer, using iron from the Neath Abbey Iron Company. Historical note: the building was erected as an investment property for the Barnstaple Bridge Trust, who were generally concerned to improve the appearance of the town, and in this case, no doubt, to produce a design sympathetic to the medieval bridge. It is believed that the Trust retains Gould's original drawings. Very prominent in views of Barnstaple from across the river. (Cruse JB: The Long Bridge of Barnstaple: 1982-: 15-16).

Friends of Archaeology ND, Unknown, Historic Barnstaple (Leaflet). SDV356772.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV338879Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1855-1895. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. Map (Digital).
SDV350785National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2013. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #109901 ]
SDV356772Leaflet: Friends of Archaeology ND. Unknown. Historic Barnstaple. Leaflet + Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 19 2014 2:17PM