Hornshay Bridge

Bridge Name:   Hornshay Bridge
No.:   43
Location:   50.99418,-3.22340  Carries Nynehead Road
Build Date:   Current Bridge: 1912
Engineer:   Designed by Edward Stead, when he was Assistant County Surveyor
Among disbursements for 1668, mention is made of repairs to County Bridges, Hornshay2

The parish of Nynehead was for many years responsible for the repair of the bridge; the churchwarden’s accounts of this exist from C16. The maintenance was taken over by the new Milverton Highways Board in the 1860s. In 1876 a notice was erected at the approaches stating ‘This bridge is only of sufficient strength to bear the weight of ordinary traffic. Persons causing steam locomotives and traction engines to pass over it will be held responsible for any damage done thereby’

The present bridge was built in 1912. When the old bridge was demolished it was found to be supported by oak piles. Reinforced concrete arch bridge built in 1912 and designed by Edward Stead, when he was Assistant County Surveyor. Copings, stringcourses and quoins are of ashlar masonry with the remainder of the masonry rock faced. The end of the concrete deck is exposed in elevation. The bridge is 26 feet in span.1

In 1594 an old stone bridge that carried the West Buckland to Nynehead road over the Tone was known as Langhams or Longham Bridge, and later as Hornes Hay Bridge. An ancient legal responsibility made Nynehead parish liable to repair the northern half of the bridge, Wellington parish two-thirds of the southern half of the bridge, and West Buckland parish the remainder. The liabilities were in force until the 1860s, when responsibility passed to the Milverton Highway Board and then to the County of Somerset. It was rebuilt in 1912 as a reinforced concrete arch bridge, and was one of the earliest of over 60 concrete bridges that were constructed in Somerset between 1909 and 1930 to the design of Edward Stead, who retired as County Surveyor in 1946..3

References:   1. Somerset HER 19901
2. An Early Portion of the Church Warden’s accounts of All Saints, Nynehead (1668- 1684).BY W. DE C. PRIDEAUX, L.D.S. ENG., F.R.S.M.                                                                    3. Bridges Along the Tone – S.C.C Highways
4. Somerset Records Office – C/CA/31/8/1 Plan of Hornshay Bridge Rebuilding, Wellington Rural and Urban District Councils. 12 Sep 1912