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Respryn Bridge
  Respryn Bridge

North Cornwall
NGR: SX 09936 63491
Respryn bridge over the River Fowey
Respryn Bridge is a five arched mediæval bridge spanning the River Fowey in the parish of Lanhydrock.

The place-name indicates a ford here before the bridge was built, carrying an ancient trackway between Bodmin and Looe: traces of which have been identified as a hollow way running north-westwards through Cutmadoc and Colgear Plantation in Lanhydrock Park. The first part of the name Respryn contains the Cornish place-name element rid meaning ‘ford’.

Documentary evidence indicates a chapel of St Martin on the St Winnow side of the river in the 12th century. This predated the bridge and served the fording point.

By 1300, however, there was a bridge here. The Cornish historian Henderson notes that in that year a jury found that the fishing and other rights in the river Fowey ‘from St Saviour’s Port [Polruan] at the haven mouth to the Bridge of Reprenne so long as two oxen yoked together could advance there’ belonged to the Lords of Restormel Castle.

The bridge is of granite and stone rubble construction. The central pointed arch dates to the fifteenth century and probably represents part of the original construction which replaced the earlier thirteenth century bridge. The other arches are round and the two on the west are relatively modern. There are low parapets with granite coping and triangular stone cutwaters with refuges.

The bridge played an important part in the Civil War, lying as it did between the two major estates of Lanhydrock and Boconnoc, one parliamentarian hands and the other royalist. King Charles rode over the bridge in 1644, on his way from Boconnoc to Lanhydrock, and after the war, the avenue of trees leading up to Lanhydrock House from Respryn Bridge was planted by Lord Robartes to celebrate his party's victory.

With the advent of the railway in the nineteenth century, a small private halt was built for the Lanhydrock estate which was probably situated south-east of the bridge along a small access road. Although there is no trace of this today, the later scenic carriage drive that was built to take passengers to the new station at Bodmin Parkway can still be followed to some extent where it runs through the woods north of the railway line before cutting south across the river to the station. Originally the drive continued east to meet the main Bodmin road but was re-routed when the Bodmin branch line was introduced. The carriageway is currently situated within National Trust land. The eighteenth century hamlet of Respryn which was situated at the crossroads to the north-west of Respryn Bridge was demolished when the carriageway was introduced.

Thomas, N, 1994. An Archaeological Assessment of the National Trust Estate at Lanydrock, Cornwall. Historic Environment Service, Cornwall County Council.
How to get there

Respryn bridge can be reached by taking the road east from the crossroads immediately west of Lanhydrock House on the B3268,  towards Cutmadoc.

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Nearby sites

Berry Tower
Helman Tor
Roche Rock Chapel
Trippet Stones
supported by HLF and compiled by the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council  
last updated: 14/09/2007