| JOURNAL |
| North Craven |
The centre of this bridge is the boundary between Wigglesworth Manor and the Manor of Long Preston, although the latter housed the Parish Church for both. I believe this bridge to have been built by Cistercian stone masons who made their marks. From Wigglesworth towards Long Preston on the left you will find :-
From Long Preston back to Wigglesworth are the following :-
the reversed MB sign looks more recent than the benchmark and marks the centre of the bridge. I have counted the symbols as follows :-
It has been said that these marks were a means of identification for payment, but how does that explain double marks on the same small stone? Another interpretation of the marks is that they have known religious significance and I think it more likely for them to be talismans of good fortune.
Further Notes on Cow Bridge
Trigonometric points are the main points of surveying triangles - and are 4ft high concrete tetrahedrons on main hilltops. Benchmarks are the subsidiary points in establishing heights. They were established from 1783 onwards and incorporated in the first Ordnance Survey maps about 1858.
Much has been written about masons’ marks and many of the symbols on Cow Bridge are to be found in published works (in the Yorkshire Archaeological Society for example). They were used from ancient up to modern times, as on many walls and bridges in the 18th and 19th centuries. As Diana Kaneps says, there remain unanswered questions about the position and meaning of these marks and why so many different sorts, so further investigation of the building of Cow Bridge might be revealing.
- Davis, R.H.C., 1954. A catalogue of masons’ marks as an aid to architectural history. J. Brit. Arch. Assoc.. 3rd series, 17, 43.
- Rylands, W.H., 1893. Masons’ marks. Trans. Hist. Soc. of Lancs. and Cheshire. New Series 7 and 8, 121-200.